Certified and Shovel-Ready

The Certified in Wisconsin program pre-certifies industrial sites as development ready. WEDC introduced the Certified In Wisconsin program in 2013 to help spur development of commercial properties in communities throughout the state. By certifying that these sites meet common basic development requirements, WEDC provides comfort to potential buyers looking to build quickly, thereby increasing the state’s competitiveness when it comes to attracting new projects.

Today, there are 13 Certified Sites in Wisconsin—one of which is already under development. The beauty of the program is that once a site is certified, all of the information a developer needs to make a quick decision, including utility and transportation infrastructure, environmental assessments and quality of labor, is provided. WEDC is working with Deloitte Consulting to evaluate sites to determine if they are ready for development and meet certification requirements.

The first 13 Certified In Wisconsin sites are located in Beaver Dam, Beloit (two sites), Chippewa Falls, DeForest,  Howard, Fitchburg, Janesville, Menomonie, Prescott, Stevens Point, Verona and, the newest Certified Site, Wisconsin Rapids.

Construction has now begun on a $19 million, 157,000-square-foot cold storage facility in Stevens Point—the very first Certified Site in Wisconsin. WEDC expects to have about 30 development-ready sites by the end of 2014.

These sites bring additional attention to the cities where property is available. Overall response to the program has been extremely positive since its inception earlier this year. Here are some of the things being said by leaders in Wisconsin:

  • “The certified site designation, coupled with our business-focused attitude, positions us as a desirable choice for business growth and development,” said Wisconsin Rapids Mayor Zachary Vruwink. “We’re proud Wisconsin Rapids will now be listed alongside sites across Wisconsin as an attractive location for prospective businesses.”
  • “Not only does a program like this build a positive business climate in Wisconsin, but also in Beaver Dam. It awards Beaver Dam a competitive edge in development of business growth and expansion, and will significantly foster economic growth for the community,” said Tom Kennedy, mayor of Beaver Dam, which had its 151 Industrial Park designated as a Certified In Wisconsin site.
  • “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, DeForest village president.
  • “This is a big step for the state to help the Village of Howard move forward with its economic development strategy,” said Paul Everett, Village of Howard administrator.

The Certified In Wisconsin program is a partnership between WEDC and communities with certified sites. WEDC pays for a portion of the certification cost and provides a site summary for each community. WEDC markets the certified sites through the LocateInWisconsin.com website, national site selection publication advertising (through the “In Wisconsin” brand campaign) and direct marketing to site selectors and consultants.

The next Certified In Wisconsin submission time period will begin in March 2014. At that time, community representatives and private property owners who wish to administer a site submission will be asked to submit a request to receive a link to the online Request for Information (RFI). The RFI requires communities to verify that the site being submitted meets specific thresholds. For program-related questions or other inquiries, contact Graham Callis at 608.210.6837. For more details about the Certified in Wisconsin program visit www.InWisconsin.com/certified.

(January 2014)