76-acre parcel certified as ‘development-ready’ by Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) announced today that it has designated a portion of the Black River Falls Industrial Park as a Certified In Wisconsin® development-ready site.
The 76-acre site at the park, located near I-94 in Jackson County, is the state’s 17th Certified Site. A Certified In Wisconsin designation gives site selectors and business owners confidence that building plans will not be held up by costly delays in permitting and approvals.
“I congratulate the City of Black River Falls and the Industrial Park Commission for achieving Certified In Wisconsin designation,” said WEDC Secretary and CEO Mark R. Hogan, who announced the certification Thursday in Black River Falls. “One of the keys to attracting new businesses is the ready availability of developable properties. This certification provides assurances to companies and site selectors that the property is ‘development-ready.’”
“On behalf of the City of Black River Falls, our city council and citizens, I want to thank our Industrial Park Commission for their foresight to make Black River Falls a competitive player in the search for new business and industry for years to come,” said Mayor Jay Eddy. “Well done!”
The certified site is located about 2.5 miles northeast of downtown Black River Falls and consists of four individual plots, two of which make up more than 90 percent of the total property. The site is conveniently located 1.3 miles northeast of I-94 and is about an hour away from both Eau Claire and La Crosse, which both offer access to regional airports and University of Wisconsin campuses.
The site has direct access to the Union Pacific Railroad and is only six miles from the Black River Falls Area Airport, which offers a 4,860-foot-long blacktop runway capable of handling corporate jets. Black River Falls is also home to a Western Technical College campus offering local training and educational opportunities.
The site is currently zoned for industrial uses, including manufacturing and assembly operations; general fabricating and processing; and research laboratories and facilities.
“In today’s market, we can’t just wait for a company to approach us. We need to be proactive in preparing sites for development,” said City Administrator Brad Chown. “When a developer becomes interested in a community, they want to move quickly, and having a Certified In Wisconsin® development-ready site in the industrial park puts Black River Falls in a great position to meet those needs.”
“The Certified In Wisconsin designation is an incredible asset to the Black River Falls community,” said state Rep. Treig Pronschinske, who represents the city. “What a fantastic economic development opportunity for Black River Falls and the surrounding community to be able to offer property that can be quickly vetted by potential businesses. Congratulations to all those who helped make this possible.”
Regional economic development leaders say the certification is expected to be a key factor in attracting new businesses to the industrial park, which is already home to more than 15 businesses that serve local, regional, national and international consumers.
“The Black River Falls Industrial Park is a great location for new businesses,” said Chris Hardie, executive director of the Black River Area Chamber of Commerce. “Becoming a Certified Site enhances the opportunity for business recruitment and expansion. We’re pleased to a part of the program.”
“Recognition as a WEDC Certified Site is quite an achievement, and it increases the visibility of this property with regional and national site selectors,” said Lisa Herr, executive director of the 7 Rivers Alliance, a regional economic development organization. “The 7 Rivers Alliance looks forward to working with leaders to promote this site and continue the positive business growth that is underway in Black River Falls.”
The Certified In Wisconsin Program, which was launched in 2012, provides potential tenants with all the information needed to make quick decisions about whether that site is right for their needs, such as utility and transportation infrastructure, environmental assessments, quality of available labor force and more. WEDC is utilizing Deloitte Consulting to help evaluate sites that are determined to be ready for development and to meet certification requirements. WEDC markets each Certified Site through its Locate In Wisconsin website, LocateInWisconsin.com.
The Cedar Corp. was selected to perform the work in support of Black River Falls application for the program, marking the company’s third Certified Site project.
“The state’s Certified Sites program enables communities like Black River Falls to perform many — if not all — the initial studies and site preparation work ahead of time, removing many development unknowns and shaving months off the development schedule,” said Seth Hudson, senior manager of economic and community development services for Cedar Corp.
WEDC administers the Certified In Wisconsin Program to enhance Wisconsin’s appeal to companies looking to expand operations here. Working with WEDC, communities can obtain site certification for properties at a much lower cost than they would pay to pursue the designation on their own through an independent consultant.
So far, there are 17 development projects completed or underway on 10 of the certified sites. Those projects, when complete, are expected to create more than 1,600 jobs and generate more than $315 million in capital investment.
In addition to Black River Falls, other Certified Sites are located in Beaver Dam, Beloit, Chippewa Falls, DeForest, Fitchburg, Green Bay, Howard, Janesville, Menomonie, Prescott, Stevens Point, Verona, West Bend, Westport, Whitewater and Wisconsin Rapids.
For more information about the Black River Falls Certified Site, visit www.blackriverfalls.us/industrial-park or inwisconsin.com/brf-certified-site.
About the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) leads economic development efforts for the state by advancing and maximizing opportunities in Wisconsin for businesses, communities and people to thrive in a globally competitive environment. Working with more than 600 regional and local partners, WEDC develops and delivers solutions representative of a highly responsive and coordinated economic development network. Visit www.inwisconsin.com or follow WEDC on Twitter @_InWisconsin to learn more.