After a canceled attempt to develop a headquarters and slaughterhouse building in Milwaukee, Strauss Brands Inc. announced it will remain in Franklin, where the company is drawing up plans for a new building.
The confirmation this week ends a saga that generated political turmoil in Milwaukee City Hall and consternation among local economic development officials. Strauss last year opened talks to move its operations and 150 jobs from Franklin to Milwaukee’s Century City Business Park. The company canceled that $60 million project after anti-slaughterhouse organizers protested at Milwaukee City Hall and mobilized in the surrounding neighborhood, leading local Ald. Khalif Rainey to switch from supporter to opponent.
Throughout that whole experience, Strauss held onto 30 acres it bought in Franklin last year with the intent of expanding closer to its current headquarters. It reportedly looked around the Milwaukee-area real estate market after the Milwaukee project was canceled to consider alternatives.
The company is again working with Franklin officials, and CEO Randy Strauss issued a printed statement confirming it would remain in that community.
“After careful consideration, Strauss Brands has decided to stay in Franklin, our home for more than 50 years,” Strauss said. “We appreciate the ongoing support and patience of Mayor (Steve) Olson, his team and the city of Franklin.”
Enlarge A rendering of the Strauss plant planned last year in Milwaukee
Strauss’ statement also thanks Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and development commissioner Rocky Marcoux, who continued to support and pursue Strauss’ expansion despite opponents on the Common Council. The Milwaukee development deal included a $4.5 million grant and 20 acres for $1.
Strauss would’ve been the largest jobs win thus far for Milwaukee’s Century City Business Park, a key effort by Barrett’s administration to generate employment in the central city. The company anticipated hiring up to 100 more people in spring 2021 after it opened, and growing to 500 workers within 10 years.
“We wish Century City nothing but success in bringing other companies to what we are sure will be a thriving area of the city in the near future,” Strauss said.
The company will instead expand in the Loomis Business Park near Ryan and West Loomis roads. Bear Development of Kenosha is leading that project, and sold the 30 acres to Strauss Brands last year. Bear Development, in a statement issued Wednesday, said it intends to complete infrastructure for the business park this summer, allowing businesses there to start construction in spring.