Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Strauss Brands move to Milwaukee’s Century City advances

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A plan by specialty meatpacker Strauss Brands LLC to relocate from Franklin to Milwaukee’s north side, boosting a city-developed business park, has been endorsed by a Common Council committee.

Strauss Brands plans to develop a $60 million production facility at Century City Business Park, south of West Capitol Drive, between the railroad tracks and West Hopkins Street.

The business would initially bring 250 jobs to Century City, located in one of Milwaukee’s poorest neighborho­ods. That job count could eventually double.

Strauss plans to break ground in November and begin operations in summer 2021.

The company would receive up to $4.5 million in city financing through annual payments generated by the new building’s property tax revenue, under a plan unanimousl­y recommende­d for approval Tuesday by the Zoning, Neighborho­ods and Developmen­t Committee.

The committee also endorsed selling the 20-acre developmen­t site, including a possible additional 5 acres, for $1.

The full council reviews those proposals at its Oct. 15 meeting.

The annual payments would occur over 20 years, and would be tied to how many jobs Strauss creates.

Strauss would receive payments totaling $2 million if it has at least 250 full-time employees by the end of its first year of operations. Around 150 of those jobs would be current employees transferri­ng from Franklin, said Chief Financial Officer Jerry Bussen.

That amount increases up to $3 million with 400 jobs by year five, and $4.5 million with 500 jobs by year 10.

The Strauss facility would initially be assessed at $10.15 million. A possible 100,000-square-foot expansion would add $6 million in value.

Strauss Brands’ products include lamb and veal. It has seen strong growth in the grass-fed beef sector, which it entered in 2012.

The company, which has outgrown its longtime 41,000-square-foot building at 9775 S. 60th St., had initially planned to develop a new facility in Franklin, at West Loomis and West Ryan roads.

But Strauss executives instead chose Century City in part because of its location within an Opportunit­y Zone , which provides generous federal tax breaks for investment­s within lowerincom­e neighborho­ods.

Other factors include the city financing package, and a location closer to a larger labor pool than the Franklin site.

The production jobs pay an average hourly wage of $14 to $17, Bussen told committee members.

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