Meat supplier Strauss Brands LLC will bring 250 jobs and its headquarters to Milwaukee’s Century City Business Park, according to a Wednesday evening announcement from Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s office.
The company, currently based in Franklin, is to break ground later this year on a 175,000-square-foot headquarters and meat processing building. It will buy 20 acres from the city of Milwaukee west of Hopkins Street near Capitol Drive, and could receive $4.5 million in city financing.
“Century City is part of Milwaukee’s continuing reinvention,” Barrett said in the press release. “We are building a manufacturing future here with good companies, modern facilities, and jobs for great Milwaukee workers.”
The new facility is to open in 2021.
The announcement marks a reversal for that area of the city, which has lost jobs in the past two years to new developments in the suburbs that often were financed with public money. Century City in early 2018 was considered by Amazon.com for a large distribution center that is being built instead in Oak Creek. Leonardo DRS Inc. will move from its long-time home north of Century City to a new building in Menomonee Falls.
Barrett has responded to those moves with calls for companies to move jobs to the central city. In March, he set a goal of creating 3,000 central city jobs within three years.
Barrett on Tuesday was to hold a press conference to announce the Strauss Brands project, saying it could create up to 500 jobs long-term. That announcement was delayed. The Tuesday announcement did not name Strauss Brands as the business that would occupy the facility.
Barrett will seek Common Council approval for up to $4.5 million in city financing to support the project. That funding would be paid to Strauss over several years through a tax incremental financing district in the form of a refund on the property taxes on its headquarters. Strauss Brands would commit to hiring city residents and small businesses when building the facility.
Ald. Khalif Rainey, whose district includes Century City, said the city-owned business park “always offered strong advantages for businesses.”
“The best part of Century City, though, is people – welcoming neighbors, capable workers, and a supportive group of fellow business operators,” Rainey said.
The Century City Business Park at North 35th Street and West Capitol Drive formerly was a manufacturing plant for Tower Automotive. After the company shut down, the city spent more than $35 million acquiring the land, clearing it of buildings and extensive contamination, and building new infrastructure for the Century City Business Park.