City agrees to back business expansions
Loans, grant to help bring 50 jobs to area

By DAVE RANK - Daily News

June 24, 2014

WEST BEND - Investing more than $570,000 in two low-interest loans and an economic development grant, West Bend will help three businesses complete plans to expand in the city, bringing more than 50 jobs.

The Common Council approved the loans and grant Monday night without opposition to assist Regal Ware Worldwide, GrandCare Systems LLC and MD Design & Automation Inc. MD Design is moving from Menomonee Falls into a facility now under construction in the River Road Industrial Park.

In addition, Regal Ware and MD Design are receiving matching lowinterest loans of $400,000 and $150,000 from Economic Development Washington County, Executive Director Christian Tscheschlok said.

Terms of the loan proposals remain in negotiation and are expected to be finalized by the end of July.

The two loans, totaling $800,000 from the city and county, will be used by Regal Ware as it invests $5.1 million to add a robotics finishing system in its production plant at 1100 Schmidt Road, City Administrator T.J. Justice said.

Regal Ware will add 27 employees to its workforce of 186 in West Bend over the next two years, Justice said.

“The low-interest loans that we have been offered will allow us to invest in new, highly technical equipment which will allow us to improve our efficiencies, expand our production capacity and improve competitiveness with foreign producers,” Regal Ware’s Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Tracy Pearson said.

West Bend and the EDWC also approved a pair of $150,000 loans to help MD Design to complete its planned move into the city.

“Once we decided that we couldn’t expand any further at our current (Menomonee Falls) site, West Bend stood out as a central location for our workforce and close proximity to many of our customers,” MD Design President Mike Daul said.

A tool and die company, MD Design is investing $1.3 million to construct a 15,000-square-foot office-manufacturing-warehouse facility in the River Road Industrial Park, Justice said. The company will relocate its 13 employees and plans to add two more.
“While there remains work to be done in bringing these deals to fruition, EDWC is pleased to be able to partner with the city of West Bend to secure projects of this caliber,” Tscheschlok said. “These projects demonstrate that Washington County can get deals done to accelerate business growth while providing pace-setting leadership in Wisconsin for collaboration between the county and local communities.”

GrandCare will receive a $20,500 grant from the city to help it move into a 6,404square-foot unit in the Kreilkamp Building, formerly the Ziegler Building, 215 N. Main St. in downtown West Bend, which will allow the firm to double its workforce to 28.

Tim Kreilkamp, who co-owns the building with a brother and sister, also announced that four other organizations have signed leases for space there: Client First Investment Management Inc., United Way of Washington County, Volunteer Center of Washington County and the Downtown West Bend Association.

The DWBA had been in the building since 2012 on a month-by-month basis. Client First, United Way and the Volunteer Center are moving into the Kreilkamp Building from other downtown West Bend sites.

The five tenants will occupy about 20,000 square feet in the building, Kreilkamp said, which has another 30,000 square feet available.

“West Bend has made the right investments to prepare for the activity that we are currently experiencing,” Mayor Kraig Sadownikow said. “We have sites available that are certified by the state as shovel-ready, meaning that development may occur rapidly on these sites as the key approvals, documentations and assessments most commonly required for industrial uses are already in place.”

All Common Council votes authorizing the financial deals were unanimous, although Alderman Ed Duquaine recused himself from the discussions and votes involving MD Design because his masonry company is a contractor for that construction project.

Sadownikow also recused himself from the discussions on MD Design for the same reason and from the discussions on the GrandCare deal, because he has had done business with the Kreilkamp family, he said.

With the sale of 5 acres to MD Design, the 64-acre River Road Industrial Park is essentially filled, Justice said.

West Bend mulls legal action

The West Bend Common Council went behind closed doors Monday night to discuss possible legal options to deal with a troublesome property on the north side of the city.

A year ago, city officials were on the verge of demolishing the deteriorating industrial building at 2100 Northwestern Ave. until owner John Bagley convinced them he would be able to renovate the property to bring it up to modern building codes.

“It’s been a significant investment of time and resources for the city,” Sadownikow said of City Hall’s relationship with the property. “I’m looking forward to seeing how the staff recommends we move forward.”

In September, Justice said the city was under pressure from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency to do something about the property, which is on the Milwaukee River and has contaminated soils.