Gehl Foods’ expansion named a top project


Jan. 2, 2018

 A construction worker walks across the top of the Gehl Foods building Aug. 15 in Germantown.
Daily News

The expansion of the Gehl Foods facility in Germantown was named by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation as one of the state’s top economic development projects in 2017. The project is ranked 13th out of 59 projects.

Gov. Scott Walker called 2017 a record year for the WEDC with 59 companies from Wisconsin and around the world agreeing to locate to or expand in Wisconsin. The projects are expected to create or retain nearly 30,000 jobs and result in more than $11.6 billion in capital investment in the state.

Topping the list of projects is Foxconn’s Technology Group’s historic investment in Racine County — a project expected to create up to 13,000 jobs and generate up to $10 billion in capital investment.

WEDC has agreed to provide Foxconn with up to $2.85 billion in tax credits for what is the largest economic development project in Wisconsin history and one of the largest ever in the nation.

The state’s second-largest project of 2017 is Kwik Trip Inc.’s $309 million expansion in La Crosse to meet the company’s capacity needs. It’s hoped the project will create more than 300 jobs.

The Gehl Foods expansion, estimated to cost $46.6 million, is expected to create 50 jobs while retaining 387. Gehl will receive $535,000 in tax credits. The company will add up to 10 new silos at its facility. The silos are to be 14 feet in diameter and more than 42 feet tall, will be made of stainless-carbon steel and painted white. Initially, five are to be built. The other five will be built later.

“The silos are required to support increased production,” Stacy Cooke, Gehl Foods project engineer, wrote in a letter to the village.

A facility driveway along Main Street is also part of the project and will provide better access for the fire department and potentially adding up to seven parking spaces along the street. The Germantown Village Board has already approved rezoning two company-owned residential lots along Main Street adjacent to their production facility from B-3 General Business to M-1 Limited Industrial to allow the expansion. Cooke said earlier the plan calls for a 6,180 square-foot expansion in the southwest corner of the facility for the new silos and construction of a fire rated 21-foot wall to enclose the 42-foot high silos.

“The silos will support increased production which will bring in as many as 30 new jobs to the Main Street facility over the next three to five years,” Cooke said.

Village President Dean Wolter said the company’s business is growing.

“Based on the projections on their current increase in business, they’re going to need the additional space for product,” Wolter said earlier. “They’re really expanding out to what is almost a 24-7, 365 days of the year operation over the last several years.”

Walker said 2017 was historic for Wisconsin because global companies such as Foxconn, Haribo and Nestle decided to locate in Wisconsin after looking at many other options elsewhere.

Haribo’s planned $220 million manufacturing facility in Kenosha County is ranked third and is expected to create 385 jobs and will be the German candy-maker’s first facility in North America.

The WEDC list is based on all corporate expansion and attraction projects in which contracts between WEDC and the company were executed in 2017. All WEDC tax credits are performance- based and the amount of credits a company receives is contingent upon the actual number of jobs created.

The remaining other projects in the top 13 include:

No. 4 — The Epicentre Technologies Corp. expansion in Madison has an estimated cost of $148.4 million, is expected to create 20 jobs, retain 114 jobs and receive $750,000 in tax credits.

No. 5 — The Saputo Cheese USA expansion in Almena in Barron County has estimated cost of $89.5 million, is expected to create 92 jobs, retain 105 jobs and receive $3 million in tax credits.

No. 6 — The Generac Power Systems Inc. project will be statewide with an estimated cost of $86.8 million, is expected to create 400 jobs, retain 1,999 jobs and receive $10 million in tax credits.

No. 7 — The Brakebush Brothers Inc. expansion in Westfield has an estimated cost of $86 million, is expected to create 219 jobs, retain 885 jobs and receive $6.5 million in tax credits.

No. 8 — The Great Lakes Cheese Company expansion in Wausau will cost $84.8 million, is expected to create 125 jobs and will receive $2 million in tax credits.

No. 9 — The Mills Fleet Farm Group expansion in Chippewa Falls is expected to cost $71.7 million, create 284 jobs and receive a $1.5 million loan.

No. 10 — The MilliporeSigma (Merck KGaA) expansion project in Sheboygan Falls is expected to cost $64.1 million, create 175 jobs, retain 1,177 jobs and receive $1.25 million in tax credits.

No. 11 — The Masters Gallery Foods Inc. expansion in Oostburg is estimated to cost $61.1 million, create 150 jobs, retain 529 jobs and receive $2.55 million in tax credits.

12 — The U.S. Venture Inc. expansion in Appleton was to cost $58.5 million, will create 214 jobs, retain 489 jobs and receive $20 million in tax credits.