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Uline to move another 475 jobs to Kenosha County
July 11, 2014 01:34 PM
Pleasant Praire-based Uline, which recently announced plans to double the size of its corporate headquarters campus and add 500 jobs there, this week announced that it will also move its Midwest distribution center operations from Waukegan, Ill. to Kenosha. That move will bring an additional 475 jobs to Kenosha County.

The company, a distributor of industrial moving and packaging products, currently has about 1,100 employees in Pleasant Prairie. Once the headquarters expansion project and the Midwest distribution center relocation project are complete the company will have about 2,075 employees in Kenosha County.

Uline’s Midwest distribution center operations will move to a new facility that will be built on a 200-acre site at Highway 142 and I-94, across the the freeway from where a 1.1 million-square-foot distribution center and a 500,000-square-foot distribution center are being built for Amazon.com. Total Amazon employment in Kenosha could reach 1,575 at the two facilities.

Uline plans to build a 60,000-square-foot office building and a 1 million-square-foot distribution center for its Midwest distribution operations (serving Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Iowa) at the Kenosha site at I-94 and Highway 142. Construction is exected to begin in the spring of 2015. The office building will house the company’s largest call center.

The company has a contract to purchase the site, which was recently annexed from the Town of Paris into the City of Kenosha.

Uline moved its corporate headquarters in 2010, relocating from Waukegan, to a new 200,000-square-foot office building and a 1 million-square-foot distribution center in Pleasant Prairie. That distribution center serves as the company’s national distribution center. The company recently announced plans to build a second 200,000-square-foot office building and a second 1 million-square-foot distribution center at its corporate headquarters campus.

The company’s planned facility at I-94 and Highway 142 in Kenosha will mean the end of its operations in Waukegan. All of the employees there will have the option to relocate to the new facility and some of them already live in Wisconsin, Uline spokesman Bill Broydrick said.

The company is moving the operations to Kenosha because the Waukegan facility is too small for its current and future needs, Broydrick said.

“Uline has deep roots in the State of Illinois,” said Executive Vice President Phil Hunt. “In fact, the company was founded in Illinois 34 years ago. The (Uihlein) family did not want to move out of Illinois. However, we could not find a large enough site that was shovel-ready. All of the sites we looked at had serious challenges that could not be resolved quickly enough to meet our timeline. The State of Wisconsin, Kenosha County, the Kenosha Area Business Alliance (KABA), the City of Kenosha and the Town of Paris were all instrumental in working together to resolve any issues to make this site shovel-ready for Uline. We appreciate all of their hard work.”

Uline never sought, nor was granted, any public funds for the project, Hunt said.

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South side medical office building sold for $5.95 million
July 11, 2014 11:50 AM
An affiliate of The Atkins Companies, a West Orange, N.J.-based real estate development, investment and management firm, recently purchased a 26,521-square-foot medical office building at 3305 S. 20th St. in Milwaukee for $5.95 million, according to state records.

The building, constructed in 2000, sits on a 2.6-acre site. The property has an assessed value of $4.1 million, according to city records. It is located on the city's south side near the Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - St. Francis hospital.

"It's a good location," said David Zimmerman, chief financial officer of The Atkins Companies.

The building is fully occupied. Tenants include Lakeshore Medical Clinic and Wisconsin Surgery Center.

The Atkins Companies plans no major changes to the building and has added it as an investment property to its medical office building portfolio, Zimmerman said. The company now owns six medical office buildings, most located in the northeastern U.S.

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DOT plans full I-94 closure
July 11, 2014 11:55 AM
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation will fully close I-94 between WIS 100 and the Zoo Interchange from 11 p.m. on Friday, July 18 to 5:30 a.m. on Monday, July 21.

The major closure will allow crews to install new bridge spans across I-94, to be used by Union Pacific Railroad lines. The west span of WIS 100 will also be demolished as part of ongoing reconstruction of the WIS 100 interchange. And a large diameter storm sewer pipe will be installed across the freeway.

Drivers are advised to expect traffic backups approaching the closed segment, and use alternate routes including Greenfield Avenue and Bluemound Road.

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Bartolotta opens barbeque restaurant in Greendale
July 11, 2014 11:58 AM
Prolific restaurateur Joe Bartolotta officially opened his latest venue, Miss Beverly’s Deluxe Barbeque, today in downtown Greendale.

The restaurant is located in the village at 5601 Broad St., adjacent to Bartolotta’s Joey Gerard’s supper club.

The fast-casual spot features a wide variety of Southern inspired options, including three types of ribs (baby back, St. Louis spare and beef) alongside broasted fried chicken, smoked BBQ chicken, hot links, brisket and pulled pork. Sides include coleslaw, corn bread, tater tots, BBQ beans, baked mac and cheese, corn pudding, sweet potatoes, potato salad or a side salad.

For a full review of the restaurant, visit OnMilwaukee.com, a media partner of BizTimes.

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Jackson company acquires rights to sell women’s health product
July 11, 2014 12:07 PM
Jackson, Wis.-based Lake Consumer Products, a subsidiary of Wisconsin Pharmacal Company LLC, has acquired the exclusive North American rights to sell and distribute a clinically tested, over-the-counter product that addresses many of the key symptoms associated with Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS).

Lake Consumer Products acquired the license from Back Bay Scientific, a Cambridge, Mass.-based research-oriented company that develops and commercializes functional food products addressing mass-appeal health needs.

Lake Consumer Products plans to launch the product, previously known as PMS Escape, under the trade name vH essentials PMS Relief Formula.

“Lake Consumer Products is excited about bringing this proven technology to market,” said Jody Currie, director of innovation and business development at Wisconsin Pharmacal Company. “We believe this formula has the potential to positively impact the health and well-being of millions of women.”

The PMS Relief Formula that will be marketed under the vH essentials brand consists of complex carbohydrates that work naturally with the body to increase, indirectly, the synthesis and activity of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Reduced levels of brain serotonin have been linked with PMS-associated mood disturbances such as anxiety, anger, poor impulse control, an inability to concentrate and appetite changes.

In two clinical trials, the product improved typical PMS symptoms such as anger, tension and confusion for about three hours after consumption of the product. In addition, self-reported cravings for sweet and starchy foods were also significantly diminished.

The product’s developer, Dr. Judith Wurtman, has directed a program in women’s health at the MIT Clinical Research Center, founded a weight management center at a Harvard University Hospital and has published several books on nutrition and weight loss.

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Radio interview: BizTimes Mid-Year Economic Forecast
July 11, 2014 12:09 PM
Executive editor Steve Jagler shares highlights from the BizTimes Mid-Year Economic Forecast with radio host Mitch Teich on WUWM’s Lake Effect this week.

To listen to the interview and learn more about the forecasts for stronger economic growth, click here.

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Milwaukee Biz Blog: Time to rethink the Wisconsin Technical College System
July 11, 2014 12:12 PM
Recently, I had the honor of being named chair of a Joint Council Legislative Study Committee that will examine Wisconsin Technical College System funding and governance responsibilities.

Before we have even convened for the first meeting, concerns have been raised with exploring the current technical college system and its funding sources. There are a few reasons why this topic should be explored.

Read more in a Milwaukee Biz Blog by State Rep. John Nygren.

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Weekend preview
July 11, 2014 12:13 PM
Too busy working to plan your weekend? We've got you covered with the OnMilwaukee.com Weekend Preview.

Click here for 10+ ideas of what to do on this action packed weekend. OnMilwaukee.com is a media partner of BizTimes Media.

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Morning Headlines: Promega expands with new $30 million assembly plant
July 11, 2014 12:14 PM
Promega Corp., a major Madison-area biotechnology company, is about to grow again.

Just nine months after opening its $120 million, Zen-like Feynman Center manufacturing facility at 2780 Woods Hollow Road — with its wooden beams and “living wall” of indoor, blooming plants — Promega broke ground Thursday on another manufacturing building at 5455 Nobel Drive, a short jog south in the Fitchburg Technology Campus.

Read more in today’s Morning Headlines.

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Nonprofit Weekly: New injury prevention program targeting YMCA youth
July 11, 2014 12:14 PM
The Kohl’s Cares Grow Safe & Healthy Program is partnering with 14 YMCA locations in eastern Wisconsin to teach families and children how to avoid common childhood injuries.

Read more in today’s Nonprofit Weekly.

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Briggs & Stratton to create 370 jobs in Wauwatosa
July 10, 2014 10:20 AM
Wauwatosa-based Briggs & Stratton Corp. plans to close its McDonough, Ga. manufacturing plant and consolidate production in Wauwatosa and New York. The move will create 220 new full-time jobs and about 150 temporary seasonal jobs in Wauwatosa.

The Wauwatosa facility will now make pressure washers, snow throwers and lawn tractors. Zero-turn lawnmower production will move to New York, though no additional jobs will be created there.

The shift, which eliminates about 475 positions in Georgia, will begin in the first quarter of 2015 and be completed time for the 2016 lawn and garden season. The company will also make fewer lower-end consumer products in its Snapper lawn and garden line, instead focusing on premium residential Snapper and Simplicity products and Snapper Pro and Ferris commercial products. Along with the consolidation of manufacturing operations, it will reduce costs.

"While we have seen improved sales of our lawn and garden equipment during our fiscal 2014, in an effort to improve the operating performance of our products business, we believe it is necessary to simplify our Snapper product line, reduce our offerings of certain low volume and lower-priced Snapper lawn and garden products and reduce the related manufacturing capacity and expenses," said Todd Teske, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Briggs & Stratton.  "We will continue executing our strategy to focus on those premium products that generate higher margins and returns for our shareholders.”

Briggs’ fiscal year ended June 29. The company expects 2014 consolidated net sales of $1.9 billion, flat from 2013. The restructuring is expected to cost about $30 to $37 million, and result in $15 to $20 million in annual cost savings.

Briggs has about 6,000 employees worldwide, 1,200 of whom are in Wisconsin. It uses a seasonally flexible workforce to manufacture standby generators at its Wauwatosa facility.

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NML wants to buy O'Donnell Park parking structure for $12.7 million
July 10, 2014 10:57 AM
Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. wants to buy the O'Donnell Park parking structure, located near the lakefront in downtown Milwaukee, for $12.7 million, according to a report from Milwaukee County Economic Development Director Teig Whaley-Smith to the Milwaukee County Board.

The O’Donnell Park parking structure is owned by Milwaukee County. It is located across the street from the Northwestern Mutual corporate headquarters campus, where the the company is preparing to build a new 32-story, $450 million office tower. The company plans to add 1,900 jobs in the new building, over a period of several years, and wants to buy the O’Donnell Park parking structure to provide additional parking spaces for its employees. The structure has 1,332 parking spaces.

Northwestern Mutual has offered to buy the parking structure for the appraised value of $14 million, minus $1.3 million for known repairs needed for the structure’s roof, according to Whaley-Smith’s.

The O’Donnell Park structure was built in 1993. The county still owes about $7.1 million on the facility, according to Whaley-Smith’s report. Interest costs and costs related to retiring the debt are estimated at $600,000. Therefore, the county would net about $5 million if it sold the structure to Northwestern Mutual, the report states.

Another benefit of selling the property is it would then be put on the property tax rolls, Whaley-Smith’s report says.

The parking structure provides a revenue source for the county, but there are also significant costs for debt service and to maintain the structure. In 2012 the structure generated more than $2 million in revenue. Minus expenses and debt service the structure provided a net gain of $988,067 to the county. However, that does not reflect needed capital repairs, Whaley-Smith’s report states.

“The financial benefits of continuing to own, manage and maintain the garage are more complex to calculate, since they require projecting the timing and extent of future revenues and expenses,” the report states. “The County Comptroller estimated those flows of funds over the next 40 years and calculates that the net present value of continued county ownership is roughly negative $1.6 million in today’s dollars, compared to a positive $5 million that the county could realize from selling the garage.”

Northwestern Mutual plans to make $6 million in improvements to the O’Donnell Park facility, Whaley-Smith’s report states.

“Northwestern Mutual is proposing to immediately address the structural, deferred maintenance and other issues identified by both the county’s and Northwestern Mutual’s engineering reports (on the structure), and install enhanced lighting for aesthetic and safety purposes,” the report states. “Long term, Northwestern Mutual is proposing to study other ways to improve the facility including activating green spaces, modernizing parking equipment, and adding zipcars and bike share options. These upgrades will be at no additional cost to the county but will greatly benefit all of the people who visit the lakefront.”

If it buys the structure, Northwestern Mutual would operate the parking garage and maintain the structure and plaza, according to the report.

In 2010 a concrete panel fell off the O’Donnell Park parking structure, killing a 15-year-old boy and injuring a woman and her son.

Today, the county faces a “significant liability of $1.3 million to fix existing issues with the property,” Whaley-Smith’s report states.
The structure is expected to have a “remaining useful life” through 2035. The cost to rebuild the structure is estimated at $58 million, the report states.

If the county moves to sell the O’Donnell Park parking structure to Northwestern Mutual it will face opposition from parks advocacy group Preserve Our Parks. That is the same group that has opposed the county’s plans to sell the Downtown Transit Center to developer Rick Barrett, who wants to build a 44-story luxury apartment tower there called The Couture. Preserve Our Parks opposes the sale of O’Donnell Park and the Downtown Transit Center because the group says much of those properties were originally in Lake Michigan and that under the state’s public trust doctrine the properties must remain in public ownership and cannot be used for private development.

“We see no reason (Northwestern Mutual) can’t reach an agreement with the county to lease spaces (at O’Donnell Park),” said John Lunz, president of Preserve Our Parks. “We’ve met with (Northwestern Mutual). They claim they are going to keep everything as it is. Who knows? It’s subject to change, of course.”
Northwestern Mutual has indicated that it has “other options” to add parking if it cannot purchase the O’Donnell Park site, Lunz said.

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Harley recalls 66,000 bikes
July 10, 2014 10:56 AM
Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson Motor Co. has issued a recall for 66,421 motorcycles because of a problem with the front brake line.

The company issued a defect notice to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last month for its Anti-Lock Braking System-equipped 2014 Touring and CVO Touring motorcycles shipped in the U.S. that were manufactured between July 1, 2013 and May 7, 2014.

The positioning of the front brake line on the defective bikes may cause it to get pinched between the fuel tank and the frame, which could cause front brake fluid pressure to increase while riding and potentially causing the front wheel to lock.

Authorized Harley dealers will inspect any models that have the potential problem and replace damaged brake lines if needed. They will also install cable straps to retain the brake line if necessary.

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Roundy’s closes Rainbow stores sale
July 10, 2014 11:01 AM
Milwaukee-based Roundy’s Inc. has closed on its sale of 18 Rainbow grocery stores in the Minneapolis/St. Paul market.

The stores were sold to a group of Twin Cities retailers, including Eden Prairie, Minn.-based SUPERVALU Inc., for about $65 million in cash, plus proceeds of existing inventory. The group will assume lease obligations and certain “multi-employer pension liabilities” for the stores.

The Rainbow stores will transition to new ownership over the next two weeks.

The sale leaves Roundy’s with nine remaining Rainbow stores, which it plans to sell or close and then exit the Minneapolis/St. Paul market. Roundy’s will use the proceeds to pay down debt.

The company decided to exit the market because of increased competition and the economic downturn, plus an emphasis on growing its Mariano’s stores in Illinois and Pick n’ Save and Metro Market stores in Wisconsin.

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Tauscher and investors buy Isthmus
July 10, 2014 12:28 PM
The Red Card meal-plan organization and former University of Wisconsin Badger and Green Bay Packer offensive tackle Mark Tauscher really are teaming up to buy Isthmus Publishing Co., publisher of popular alternative weekly magazine Isthmus and a news website in Madison.

The investment group also includes Jeff Haupt and Craig Bartlett. They bought it from longtime Isthmus publisher Vince O’Hern. O'Hern and his wife and associate publisher Linda Baldwin will retire from the company.

Haupt has long been associated with The Onion, the nationally known satire newspaper that started in Madison, and Bartlett also has an Onion background, as well as sales and marketing for the Madison Mallards baseball team and Adams Outdoor Advertising.

“In recent years, I've been just as disgusted with the political climate: Citizens United, gerrymandering and other horrible ideas covered up with a lot of money and great marketing. Don Draper would be an even wealthier man in this environment,” Haupt wrote in announcing the transaction online this morning. “I don't have the money to fight this evil marketing machine, but I think I did one better: I am ensuring that a local, independent news organization stays that way. Isthmus has never answered to out-of-town interests, a corporate overlord that pulls the strings (sorry Mitch Henck) or the personal interests of a wealthy few. And with this transition, a great newsman, and founder of Isthmus, has guaranteed it never will.”

Haupt said Tauscher will contribute sports coverage to the Isthmus mix that features political news and information about Madison’s nightlife and culture.

“I used to be a news junkie. My morning ritual consisted of reading a few local and national publications, but that slowly changed as the ‘news companies became more corporate, and journalists and investigative journalism were cut and replaced with someone listening to the local police blotter and reporting it. There's more to the news than someone getting an eighth OWI,” Haupt said. “We hope our commitment to independent journalism and investigative reporting, and our love of all things Madison, will be clear as Isthmus begins this new chapter. Craig, Mark, and I are excited to join a dedicated professional staff, and we look forward to serving the community.”

The Isthmus won several awards for editorial excellence from the Milwaukee Press Club this year.

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