Wisconsin Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch discusses the benefits of site certification at a groundbreaking ceremony at the North Mendota Energy Technology Park, a new Certified In Wisconsin site in Westport, Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s (WEDC’s) Certified In Wisconsin® Program establishes consistent standards for the certification of industrial sites, providing confidence to companies looking to avoid costly construction delays.
“For businesses, time is money. And if they know that they can get things moving, they’re going to get up and running faster. This certification expedites the process,” said Judd Blau, village president of DeForest, Wis., home to the DeForest Business Park, a Certified In Wisconsin site.
As development-ready properties, Wisconsin’s Certified Sites allow for faster project turnaround times with key reviews and assessments in place. WEDC works with Deloitte Consulting to validate and document critical site attributes, from price and availability to utilities, access and environmental standing — all necessary data for investors to make informed decisions.
Tennessee-based location specialist J. Michael Mullis praised the program and called Wisconsin’s efforts “one of the best state-level programs in the U.S.” Mullis worked with Wisconsin officials to secure a site for United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) in 2014, and said a large part of his decision was the state’s business friendly climate and ability to respond quickly to the company’s needs.
Wisconsin currently has 15 Certified Sites. Since 2012, eight development projects have taken place on six Certified In Wisconsin sites, with a total capital investment estimated at $240 million.
One of the projects includes UNFI’s $38 million distribution center in the Eagle Ridge Business Park in Prescott, Wis., facilitated by Mullis. UNFI conducted a multistate search before ultimately selecting to build its second facility in Wisconsin.
“The fact that the Prescott site had been through the program was one reason that our project team selected the location,” said Mullis.
As the program continues to attract businesses to the state, each year more certified sites are added each year, and in 2015 two new sites in Hobart and Westport, Wis., joined the list.
“This certification sends a clear signal to site selectors and companies looking to build new facilities that the site is shovel-ready,” said Wisconsin Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, when announcing Westport’s addition to the program.
Encouraging Business Investment
The Certified In Wisconsin Program is one of many solutions Wisconsin has introduced to maximize its business climate. Like the businesses that operate in the state, Wisconsin’s leaders understand the importance of prudent budgeting. Wisconsin also recognizes the importance of manufacturing production to the state’s economy, offering a Manufacturing and Agriculture Credit that virtually eliminates the tax on income from manufacturing and agricultural activities in the state. In addition, WEDC’s Business Development Tax Credit provides refundable tax credits to companies that expand in or relocate to Wisconsin.
More information about Wisconsin’s business development resources can be found at InWisconsin.com.