Tecumseh building to get permanent tenant
Grafton plant has been largely vacant since 2009

By Melanie Boyung - News Graphic Staff

July 3, 2017

 The building that once housed small-engine manufacturer Tecumseh will soon be used as a warehouse for household and personal care items. At its peak, Tecumseh employed hundreds. The building will see about five employees a day, for now.
Photo by Mark Justesen

GRAFTON — The Tecumseh building in Grafton has a stable tenant coming in for the first time in nearly 10 years.

The village of Grafton Plan Commission last week approved the conditional use permit for Guy & O’Neill to take up residence in the former Tecumseh building at 900 North Ave. Tecumseh closed and vacated the building in 2009.

Guy & O’Neill, a Fredonia manufacturing company, will use 167,000 square feet of the building for warehousing. The building is about 342,000 square feet overall; Guy & O’Neill is leasing the northern section from Phoenix Investors, a Milwaukee firm that acquired the building about a year and a half ago.

Guy & O’Neill is a private label manufacturing company; they make products in household, beauty, personal care and adult care lines. According to documents the company submitted to the village, the space will be used as a warehouse, with one or two deliveries and one to five employees per shift.

While the documents Guy & O’Neill originally submitted called for one shift per day to begin, operating from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., village of Grafton Director of Planning Jessica Wolff said the company requested those hours be extended to 9 p.m.

“The Plan Commission negotiated final hours of 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.,” she said.

Wolff said the permit was approved only for that range of hours. The submission from Guy and O’Neill indicated that in the future, they may expand to three shifts per day, as well as occasional weekend hours.

The permit approved last week does not allow for work at the warehouse overnight or on weekends. In her staff report to the commission, Wolff indicated that staff did not consider weekend hours appropriate for the location; the surrounding area is largely residential.

“If at some point in the future (they want to expand hours) … they would need to come back to the Plan Commission,” to obtain an amendment to the conditional use permit, Wolff said.

Guy & O’Neill is the second tenant for the Tecumseh property this year, though the first of permanence. The Saukville Walmart had a permit approved in May to use the south section of the building, though Wolff said that company has already vacated the property. Walmart’s use was only for storing excess displays and merchandise during renovations to the Saukville store.

According to Wolff’s report, Guy & O’Neill intends to occupy the north end of the building by Aug. 1. The manufacturer using the space is not expected to cause any disturbance to the area. While there was some objection to the Walmart use during that permit’s public hearing, Wolff said there was not for the new permit last week. Village documents show that deliveries to the warehouse, one or two per workday, though potentially more during the initial move into the building, must follow a particular route through the neighborhood.

Email: mboyung@conleynet.com