J.W. Speaker to add 132 jobs in planned expansion

Germantown considering almost $2.7 million in TIF funds for project

Germantown-based J.W. Speaker Corp. is planning a multi-phase expansion of its corporate campus that would add around 150,000 square feet of space and 132 new jobs.

Source: Germantown plan commission documents

The project could be supported by almost $2.7 million in tax incremental financing to cover the extension of sewer and water to new facilities along with other site improvements.

The village plan commission will review plans for the TIF district during its meeting on Wednesday. The village’s community development department is also holding an informational meeting on the project tonight.

Mark Maley, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., confirmed the agency has also had discussions with the company about possible incentives, but said he couldn’t comment further because it was a pending economic development opportunity.

J.W. Speaker, which manufactures and assembles high-performance vehicle headlights, has been working with the village throughout the year on its expansion plans. In July the company sought rezoning approval for land immediately west of its current facility along Freistadt Road. It sought additional rezoning for land further west along Goldendale Road in October.

The rezoning requests were approved but after some residents expressed concerns about the area going from agricultural to industrial the company proposed using a planned development district to “tailor-make” a zoning district that allows for a low-density, rural campus while also addressing the concerns of neighbors.

George Lehnerer, J.W. Speaker chief financial officer, said in July the company was becoming constrained in its current 162,000-square-foot facility and was exploring different options.

The projects being proposed now would have an assessed value of almost $26.8 million, according to village documents. In an email, Lehnerer said the village estimate the value as 60 percent of actual costs. That means the project could cost $44 million, plus another $20 million to $30 million the company plans to spend on equipment and tooling to support the expansion.

J.W. Speaker’s expansion plans for the 144-acre project area include the addition of a 35,000-square-foot surface mount technology building for circuit board assembly and a 40,000-square-foot product design center. The facilities represent the first phase of the project and would be built in 2018 and 2019, according to village documents.

A 4,000-square-foot conference and retreat center would be built in 2019 or 2020 as the second phase. The third phase calls for a 70,000- to 90,000-square-foot expansion of the existing manufacturing facility.

An additional manufacturing facility is planned for future expansion. In its request for a planned development district, the company says it wouldn’t add the facility until sometime after 2020 and would lease the land for cash crops until it was ready to expand. Documents supporting the TIF district have the final $11.4 million expansion happening in 2027 but also note the timeline is to be determined.

Lehnerer said the facility would not be built for another five to 10 years and the building’s size or type is not known at this point.

Germantown-based J.W. Speaker Corp. is planning a multi-phase expansion of its corporate campus that would add around 150,000 square feet of space and 132 new jobs.

Source: Germantown plan commission documents

The project could be supported by almost $2.7 million in tax incremental financing to cover the extension of sewer and water to new facilities along with other site improvements.

The village plan commission will review plans for the TIF district during its meeting on Wednesday. The village’s community development department is also holding an informational meeting on the project tonight.

Mark Maley, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., confirmed the agency has also had discussions with the company about possible incentives, but said he couldn’t comment further because it was a pending economic development opportunity.

J.W. Speaker, which manufactures and assembles high-performance vehicle headlights, has been working with the village throughout the year on its expansion plans. In July the company sought rezoning approval for land immediately west of its current facility along Freistadt Road. It sought additional rezoning for land further west along Goldendale Road in October.

The rezoning requests were approved but after some residents expressed concerns about the area going from agricultural to industrial the company proposed using a planned development district to “tailor-make” a zoning district that allows for a low-density, rural campus while also addressing the concerns of neighbors.

George Lehnerer, J.W. Speaker chief financial officer, said in July the company was becoming constrained in its current 162,000-square-foot facility and was exploring different options.

The projects being proposed now would have an assessed value of almost $26.8 million, according to village documents. In an email, Lehnerer said the village estimate the value as 60 percent of actual costs. That means the project could cost $44 million, plus another $20 million to $30 million the company plans to spend on equipment and tooling to support the expansion.

J.W. Speaker’s expansion plans for the 144-acre project area include the addition of a 35,000-square-foot surface mount technology building for circuit board assembly and a 40,000-square-foot product design center. The facilities represent the first phase of the project and would be built in 2018 and 2019, according to village documents.

A 4,000-square-foot conference and retreat center would be built in 2019 or 2020 as the second phase. The third phase calls for a 70,000- to 90,000-square-foot expansion of the existing manufacturing facility.

An additional manufacturing facility is planned for future expansion. In its request for a planned development district, the company says it wouldn’t add the facility until sometime after 2020 and would lease the land for cash crops until it was ready to expand. Documents supporting the TIF district have the final $11.4 million expansion happening in 2027 but also note the timeline is to be determined.

Lehnerer said the facility would not be built for another five to 10 years and the building’s size or type is not known at this point.

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