197 Johnson Controls employees to be laid off
August 28, 2015 05:04 PM
Glendale-based Johnson Controls Inc. will lay off 197 employees by Oct. 14, according to a WARN notice filed with staff officials.

The layoffs, which are expected to begin on Sept. 30, are a result of the global diversified industrial company’s decision to indefinitely suspend work on Project Unity. No details on Project Unity were disclosed, but the notice said the work is performed at a facility located at 801 S. 60th St. in West Allis.

According to the notice, Johnson Controls is attempting to place affected employees into other parts of the business, but it is currently unknown which employees will get other jobs and which will be terminated.

Johnson Controls representatives could not be reached for comment.

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Nationstar to provide up to $30 million to help distressed Milwaukee homeowners
August 28, 2015 12:11 PM
Dallas-based mortgage servicing firm Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc. will provide up to $30 million in mortgage modifications to help financially-strapped Milwaukee residents keep their homes, under a partnership agreement announced today by city officials.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Common Council President Michael Murphy announced the agreement today and said Nationstar and the city would work together on a five-part plan.

Under that plan, Nationstar will provide up to $30 million in mortgage modifications for Nationstar customers in Milwaukee over three years. That is a 57 percent increase in mortgage modifications that were projected for  Nationstar's Milwaukee portfolio.

Nationstar will also provide a $500,000 cash commitment over three years, which the city will use to support critical home repairs through the Strong Homes Loan program.
Nationstar will do three face-to-face foreclosure prevention events with Milwaukee borrowers per year for the next three years.

Nationstar will donate foreclosed properties that it manages in Milwaukee, when possible. The donations will include a cash stipend of up to $10,000 per property.

Nationstar CEO Jay Bray will include city officials in meetings and discussions with federal government-backed lenders such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac going forward, to outline and advocate for foreclosure solutions in Milwaukee.

In an attempt to address the foreclosure crisis in the city, Barrett and Murphy began discussions with mortgage servicers, including Nationstar, in January of this year. The city officials said they were concerned that another wave of foreclosures could hit the city and were seeking way to mitigate the number of foreclosures to help preserve homeownership and the city’s tax base.

Nationstar is owned by an investment group co-founded by Wes Edens, one of the primary owners of the Milwaukee Bucks. Nationstar and Edens have been criticized by community group Common Ground, which said that Nationstar manages some of the city’s worst kept foreclosed homes.

Common Ground protested plans to provide public money to pay for half of the cost of a new arena in downtown Milwaukee while a company owned by Edens owned abandoned and deteriorating foreclosed homes in the city.

The announcement of Nationstar's partnership with the city comes shortly before aldermen are about to review the city’s funding portion of the arena deal. Under that package, approved by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker, past and current owners of the Bucks will pay for half of the cost of the $500 million arena and the other half will come from a combination of state, city, county and Wisconsin Center District funds. The city’s share, which is subject to Common Council approval, is $47 million, including $35 million for a parking structure.

The city’s funds for the arena will be provided in the form of tax incremental financing. The Common Council’s Steering and Rules Committee will hold a public hearing on the deal during its meeting on Monday, Aug. 31.

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Hydro-Thermal opens second manufacturing facility
August 28, 2015 11:41 AM
Waukesha-based Hydro-Thermal Corp. recently opened a second facility down the street from its main 36,000-square-foot facility at 400 Pilot Court.

The new building, located at 407 Pilot Court, contains a 12,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and 15 offices, according to president Jim Zaiser. In total, the new facility is approximately 16,000 square feet.

Hydro-Thermal’s second location will be used for assembling its Silverline smart cooking system. Officially launched earlier this year, the product is revolutionizing the food and beverage industry’s antiquated standard kettle cooking process, Zaiser said.

“It’s taken off, so we needed more manufacturing space,” he said.

The new building also boasts collaborative workspaces for developing new technologies and improving processes. The objective is to allow employees to move away from their regular duties and customer obligations in order to better generate new ideas.

Hydro-Thermal has 95 employees, and Zaiser said about 15 are expected to work in the new facility, which was formerly a drywall company. Hydro-Thermal spent $30,000 in upgrades and is now renting the space.

Marketing communications specialist Christine Edgerton said the manufacturer also did an expansion a few years ago, increasing its main building by about 10,000 square feet.

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Reed Street Yards development site sold to C.D. Smith Construction
August 28, 2015 11:33 AM
C.D. Smith Construction Inc. has purchased a 1.6-acre lot in Reed Street Yards where it will build the first property in what will become a global water technology business park.

The Fond du Lac-based construction company purchased the land from Wisconsin Limited Liability Company, an affiliate of General Capital Group LLP, for $1.4 million, according to state real estate records.

Rexnord Corp announced in June that it plans to move Zurn to the Reed Street Yards, a 17-acre property in the Walker’s Point neighborhood.

The relocation of Zurn, a manufacturer of engineered water solutions, will result in 120 full-time employees by March 2021.

The plan is for Zurn to be located in a three-story, 52,000-square-foot building that is expected to be completed in 2016. Thirty-five full-time employees would initially work in the building.

C.D. Smith Construction Inc. is expected to begin construction next month.

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Therapy Plus acquired by national physical therapy firm
August 28, 2015 12:00 PM
Milwaukee-based Therapy Plus has been acquired by Exton, Pa.-based Physiotherapy Corp.

Therapy Plus is a physical and occupational therapy provider with seven locations in southeastern Wisconsin. Physiotherapy Corp. is an outpatient physical and occupational rehabilitation and prosthetic and orthotic services provider with 552 locations across 28 states.

“Therapy Plus is an excellent fit for joining the Physio family of
clinics,” said Mike Piekutoski, vice president of business development for Physiotherapy. “Their talented clinicians and commitment to their patients is what attracted us to this opportunity.”

Therapy Plus patients will now work with Physiotherapy Associates’ clinicians on injury prevention programs, rehabilitation therapies and performance enhancement services.

“We are excited to join the Physio family of clinics,” said Robert Frediani, president of Therapy Plus. “They bring resources of national experts to our local level.”

Physiotherapy Corp. is financing the acquisition through a recent debt restructuring that provided it with $175 million in senior secured credit facilities.

"The addition of these facilities advances our strategic plan to grow Physio through acquisitions, de novos and joint ventures, positioning us to become the nation's largest provider of physical and occupational therapy, orthotic and prosthetic providers,” Piekutoski said.

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Waukesha’s Museum Apartments progressing
August 28, 2015 12:21 PM
Plans to convert the former Waukesha County courthouse, jail and connector building into high-end apartments continue to progress as the city’s Plan Commission had its first look at the proposal this week.

Historic Prairieville Limited Partners, led by Alan Huelsman, who owns Berg Management Co., has agreed to buy the three buildings, all at 101 W. Main St., which includes the struggling Waukesha County Museum.

The museum operates at the former Waukesha County Courthouse, former jail and a connector building.

Huelsman wants to raze the 1938 connector building and restore the 1885 jail to incorporate it into the residential space. Preliminary plans show 42 apartment units on four floors ranging from 665-square-feet to 1,175-square-feet.

Huelsman would not disclose costs.

The 1893 courthouse would also be restored. The three-story building would be used as a museum and banquet hall.
“High end apartments are in demand in this city,” Huelsman said. “We would like to take advantage of that and get people with spending money into our downtown.”  
Berg Management constructed the 22-unit Prairieville Apartments at 260 South St. in downtown Waukesha earlier this year. Huelsman said two-thirds of the rentals were full the first month.

The museum apartment plans will go before the city’s Landmarks Commission Oct. 7 for approval before heading back to the Plan Commission for the final go ahead this fall.

“This is a very significant project for the city,” said Maria Pandazi, Waukesha city planner. “The historic courthouse and jail are arguably the most significant historic buildings in the city. We want to make sure all of the details are covered.”

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White Lodging Services and Jackson Street Holdings to manage SpringHill Suites
August 28, 2015 11:21 AM
White Lodging Services Corp. will partner will Jackson Street Holdings, LLC to manage the new SpringHill Suites hotel in downtown Milwaukee.

The 155-suite SpringHill Suites, located at the corner of 4th and Wells streets, is scheduled to open spring 2016.

It will have 2,000 square feet of meeting space and a restaurant, according to the firm's website. In December, Jackson Street Holdings purchased the six-story, 92,255-square-foot office building and a two-story parking structure, both built in 1927, from Zilber Ltd. for $4.5 million, according to state records. The building is located across the street from the Wisconsin Center and is connected to the facility via skywalk.

The hotel will operate as a Marriott franchise, owned by JSWD Commerce, LLC, an affiliate of Jackson Street Holdings.

The Merrillville, Ind.-based White Lodging announced the agreement with Jackson Street Holdings on its website.

White Lodging also manages the Marriott Downtown hotel at 323 E. Wisconsin Ave., which opened in 2013.

Bryan Hayes, chief operating officer of White Lodging’s select service hotels, said the company looks forward to the partnership and welcoming guests and locals to the new property.

“Milwaukee is a city with a strong attachment to its history, and we believe the SpringHill Suites Milwaukee Downtown will honor its historical setting in the Commerce building,” Hayes said.

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Weekend preview
August 28, 2015 10:15 AM
Too busy working to plan your weekend?

From Fromm’s PetFest to Sprecher Brewing’s 30th anniversary, the Weekend Preview has all the details about this weekend’s activities. OnMilwaukee is a media partner of BizTimes Media.

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Morning Headlines: American Family doubles support at UW-Madison
August 28, 2015 10:25 AM
American Family Insurance is doubling the amount of money it spends on advertising and donations at UW-Madison, pledging $4 million annually to the university for the next 10 years.

Read more in today’s Wisconsin Morning Headlines.

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Nonprofit Weekly: ‘Ramp Up MKE’ to make Milwaukee landmarks more accessible
August 28, 2015 12:05 PM
A cross-sector effort is pushing to make key landmarks in Milwaukee more accessible for individuals with disabilities.

Read more in today’s Nonprofit Weekly.

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Apartment tower project planned for Goll Mansion site
August 27, 2015 02:36 PM
A Madison-based developer is interested in purchasing the Goll Mansion and moving the 117-year-old East Side landmark closer to Prospect Avenue in order to construct a 17-story apartment building on the site overlooking Lake Michigan.

Brothers Chris and Jeff Houden, of Palisade Property, are working with Milwaukee architectural firm Kahler Slater on the project.  Chris and Jeff Houden could not be reached for comment.

Alderman Robert Bauman, whose district includes the Goll Mansion site at 1550 N. Prospect Ave., said he was approached by Kahler Slater CEO George Meyer about the feasibility of the project. Meyer could not be reached for comment.

Bauman said if this project moves forward it will face substantial opposition from the residents living next to the mansion at 1522 Prospect Ave. and others.

He said the plans would have to go before the city’s Plan Commission, Common Council and the Historic Preservation Commission.

“Right now it’s just talk, no closing,” Bauman said. “We’re talking next summer at least. It’s a year away from closing.”

Jeff Fleming, spokesman for the city’s Department of City Development, said there have been ongoing discussions with the people involved in the Goll Mansion project but there is nothing to share at this point.

Bill Nasgovitz, president of The Heartland Fund, purchased the 9,000-square-foot mansion in 2012 from Associated Bank for $835,000. When contacted Thursday morning, he said he was still the owner of the property and any conversations of a sale were premature.

“We’ll see what happens,” Nasgovitz said. “It may happen, it may not.”  

The property was previously owned by New Land Enterprises LLP, which received Common Council approval in 2008 to build a 26-story, 35-unit condo tower that would have been attached to the Goll Mansion.

Bauman said the Common Council approval from 2008 would have to be revisited because what the Madison developers are proposing is very different.

The 2008 project was controversial and opposed by some historic preservationists who said it would damage the historic integrity of the property and by some nearby condo residents who complained that the New Land tower would block their views.

When the downtown Milwaukee condo market collapsed during the Great Recession, New Land did not move forward with its plans for a condo tower and the property was seized by Associated Bank.

The residential real estate market is better now than when New Land’s plans to develop the Goll property died; however, as of today, Bauman said he does not have much faith this project will move forward.

“There will be substantial opposition,” he said. “I don’t know if a 17-story building is too large or too small. Plus, moving a building is pretty substantial.”

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ASYST Technologies named Kenosha County business of the year
August 27, 2015 12:16 PM
Kenosha-based ASYST Technologies LLC was selected as the 2015 Business of the Year for the 2015 Kenosha County Business Excellence Awards, the Kenosha Area Business Alliance (KABA) and the Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce announced.

KABA and the chamber will recognize seven Kenosha County companies and one individual at the awards program, to be held on Thursday, Nov. 5, at the Student Center University Ballroom at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

ASYST Technologies is a plastic-injection molding company which engineers, manufactures and distributes headlight adjusters and lighting components for companies in the automotive industry. Since 2012, ASYST’s revenue has increased by 70 percent and their employee count has more than doubled.

Other Kenosha County Business Excellence Award winners include Pleasant Prairie-based Specialized Accounting Services LLC, which is the 2015 Small Business of the Year. Jamie Hogan founded Specialized Accounting Services (SAS) in 2008 with just a few employees. Today, the company employs almost 50 people. SAS specializes in accounting, tax and payroll services.

Kurt Penn, founder and CEO of Pleasant Prairie-based Good Foods Group, LLC, was chosen as the 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2007, Penn founded Good Foods Group in Chicago with just a handful of employees. In early 2013, Good Foods relocated its headquarters and expanded its manufacturing operations into a 57,000-square-foot building in Pleasant Prairie’s LakeView Corporate Park. Since 2012, Good Food’s revenue has increased by 175 percent and employee count has increased 157 percent. Good Foods recently completed a 50,000 square foot expansion.

Recipients of the Kenosha County Fast Five recognition in 2015 are: Pleasant Prairie-based Hanna Cylinders, LLC; Kenosha-based Kenall Manufacturing; Kenosha Kingfish Baseball Club; Kenosha-based Mobile One/McTernan Wireless and Pleasant Prairie-based Quest Products, Inc.

The Fast Five award spotlights up-and-coming companies that have made a significant, recent economic impact in Kenosha County.

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Children's Hospital to open office in Mequon
August 27, 2015 11:53 AM
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin will open a large medical office building in Mequon next year offering primary and specialty care services.

The 40,000-square-foot building will be located on the south side of Mequon Road, just west of Port Washington Road.  Currently, the closest Children’s Hospital clinic to Mequon is the Fox Point Specialty Clinic, 7950 N Port Washington Road.

Over the last two years, Children’s Hospital has opened primary clinics in Fox Point, the Northside YMCA and COA Goldin Center and the Delafield Clinic.
“This location rounds out our commitment to provide access to all families in the Milwaukee Metro area,” said Gerry Steele, Children’s Hospital spokesperson.

Children’s is hoping to open the Mequon clinic in late 2016.

Minneapolis-based Ryan Cos. will develop the project.

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Spectrum Resources moves from New Berlin to Muskego
August 27, 2015 10:40 AM
Spectrum Resources Inc., a supplier of print and marketing communication services, has moved from its 16,200-square-foot New Berlin headquarters to a 29,000-square-foot headquarters in Muskego. The new corporate address is W160 S6369 Commerce Drive.

The headquarters is located in a 60,000-square-foot multi-tenant industrial building on Moorland Commerce Center West, located southwest of College Avenue and Moorland Road.

The investment in the new building was $4.2 million, according to Mike Eastley, vice president of sales and marketing.

“Our business growth over the past few years has been astounding, especially as our clients seek more warehousing, fulfillment and distribution services,” said Larry Surges, founder and chief executive officer. “We have definitely become a managed services firm, who can be a single source provider of everything related to our clients’ marketing and branding needs.”

In business since 1998, Spectrum has averaged a 15 percent growth rate year over year.

“By evolving along with the needs of our clients, Spectrum has introduced hundreds of new products and services over the years. We have had to expand our facilities several times to keep up with our pace of growth,” Surges said. “Also, since we hired Mike Eastley as vice president of sales and marketing, we have been able to better focus and refine our product offerings while adding ancillary services our clients have been requesting.”

For the past several years, Spectrum said it has been honing its print offerings to include every category of print its clients need: from web and sheet fed to grand format print and packaging. Most recently the company has sharpened its focus on products and services that complement the core offerings of promotional and ad specialty items, warehousing and fulfillment, and custom ordering portals.

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St. Ann Center to open second campus on Tuesday
August 27, 2015 11:42 AM
St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care is scheduled to open a second campus on Tuesday. Located in a new 80,000-square-foot, two-story building at 2450 W. North Ave. in Milwaukee, it will be called the Bucyrus Campus.

St. Ann Center currently operates a 60,000-square-foot campus, known as the Stein Campus, at 2801 E. Morgan Ave. The campus sits on a 7.5-acre lot at 24th and 25th avenues that was previously vacant, according to spokeswoman Cathy Feldkamp.

“Basically it’s an answer to a call,” said Diane Beckley, chief operating officer of the Bucyrus Campus. “There’s so much interest in the intergenerational model. We want to bring it to other communities, serve the underserved, and be where there’s a need.”

The mission of St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care is to provide community-based health and educational services for children and frail adults and to serve as a resource and support for caregivers.

Feldkamp said the overall cost of the Bucyrus Campus, including the purchase of the land and construction of the building, is approximately $20 million.

St. Ann raised $17.5 million to complete the first phase of the project, which consists of child care and some adult units. The organization is fundraising about $5 million for the remainder of the project, which will complete the second level of the building. That part of the building will be dedicated to Alzheimer’s and dementia care, as well as overnight respite care.
Child care services will begin on Tuesday, with 20 to 25 children expected to attend. Fifty to 60 adults are anticipated when the adult services starts Oct. 1.

When the facility is complete, it is expected to serve 220 children and 100 adults. The first campus, the Stein Campus, serves around 120 children and 100 adults.

About 50 employees were hired for the new campus, and Feldkamp said another 200-plus jobs could be filled as the center grows. More than 600 people came to a job fair St. Ann Center held in June.

“That shows the need in the area for this type of employment and the excitement for something new coming in,” Feldkamp said.

A grand opening celebration for the new campus is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
St. Ann Center broke ground on the Bucyrus Campus on Nov. 18, 2014.

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