Multi-tenant Building Planned in City’s Industrial Park

A Green Bay–based company is planning to add a 50,000-square-foot building and space for about five tenants to the Industrial Park. 

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council voted unanimously Feb. 7 to approve a memorandum of understanding (MOU), effective through the end of this year, between the city and Howard Immel, Inc. The company would design and construct the building, and in return, the city would provide the vacant, city-owned former Zak property along South Neenah Avenue and some level of financial incentives for construction.

The structure would be known as the Sawyer Business Center and could be flexible for use by different tenants based on their individual needs. The building could also be expanded to 100,000 square feet.

This map shows the site where the Sturgeon Bay Common Council agreed Feb. 7 to enter into a memorandum of understanding with Howard Immel, Inc. to pursue plans to construct an industrial building for existing businesses to expand and new businesses to locate in the city’s Industrial Park. Submitted.

Community development director Marty Olejniczak said the project at that site would be a good candidate for the creation of a new tax increment district (TID), which would help cover the costs of infrastructure to expand industrial development and any needed financial incentives.

“That’s how we got most of the development in the Industrial Park that we have now, is through tax increment financing, which paid for streets and electrical lines and sewer and water and stuff,” he said.

Olejniczak said TID # 1, which was used to develop the current Industrial Park, will be closing this year and free up capacity to create additional TIDs, although the MOU doesn’t bind the city to any level of financial incentives or a specific development agreement.

“If there’s a plan that’s fully ready to go and there’s a developer for it – Immel is hoping to find a developer – then we would come back with a formal development agreement,” he said. “At that point, you [council members] can decide if this is a good deal for the city or not.”

Carol Karls, director of preconstruction and client service for Howard Immel, Inc., speaks Jan. 31 before Sturgeon Bay’s Finance/Purchasing and Building Committee about entering into a memorandum of understanding with the city for the company to pursue plans to construct an industrial building in the city’s Industrial Park. Photo by Kevin Boneske.

Carol Karls, director of preconstruction and client services for Immel, told the Finance/Purchasing and Building Committee on Jan. 31 that the project concept calls for constructing a “fairly typical pre-engineered building.”

“It’s just a matter of building it up to a certain point to allow the flexibility of whether it’s going to be manufacturing space, and what their needs are, versus how much office [space] somebody might need, or warehouse space or whatever their needs are,” she said.

Karls said Immel will get to a point where it will turn the project over to a developer the company would select.

“Ultimately, Immel will not own the building,” she said. “It will be a developer who typically owns industrial properties that will be the owner of it.”

Door County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC) executive director Michelle Lawrie said the project would provide space for developing companies to leave DCEDC’s business incubator.

“[The business incubator is] supposed to incubate companies to come in at below market rates, stay for up to five years and then grow out of it – that’s the whole point, so we can get new companies to come in and start their space,” she said. “What has ended up happening is that there hasn’t been any space for them to grow and move into. This is going to help some of these businesses that need to grow and have more space to actually do that.”

The MOU calls for Immel to work with DCEDC and city staff to identify potential anchor tenants for the facility.

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