WEDC investment to help fund adaptive reuse of former 52,000-square-foot Kenosha News building

MADISON, WI. MARCH 25, 2020 – The City of Kenosha is receiving a $250,000 state grant to help Herzing University relocate its campus to an existing building in downtown Kenosha and repurpose it to ensure they can meet the growing needs of students and employers. The grant agreement was approved by the city at a Common Council meeting on March 16.

The Community Development Investment Grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will support the relocation of Herzing University to downtown Kenosha, aligning with longstanding plans from the City of Kenosha and the Kenosha Area Business Alliance (KABA) to revitalize the area.

The project cost is estimated at approximately $6.1 million, which includes the costs of acquisition, renovation, construction and relocation.

“A vibrant downtown is vital to a community’s overall economic success, and this relocation will play a key role in bringing more visitors to downtown Kenosha,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC. “Herzing’s choice to remain in Wisconsin means they will continue to attract students, faculty and staff from both in and out of state.”

“Herzing University will be a welcome addition to Kenosha’s downtown area,” said Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian. “Having hundreds of students coming downtown on a regular basis, frequenting restaurants and shops, will be a boon for local businesses—and the students will benefit from having a campus close to a walkable and vibrant retail and entertainment district.”

Herzing University has operated its Kenosha campus since 2009, offering a personalized approach to education with accelerated formats and flexible schedules. The building the school intends to occupy housed the Kenosha News for more than 50 years before the publishing company relocated. The addition of Herzing students and staff to the downtown area will be a huge plus.

The university currently employs 75 staff and faculty and has hundreds of students enrolled in on-campus programs. The vast majority of Herzing University students attend classes several days per week, which will result in significantly more people visiting the downtown area each weekday once the new campus opens in September. This traffic will directly benefit the local economy, and the city has received tremendous support for the project from various shops and restaurants in the area.

“We’re grateful and proud that the City of Kenosha and WEDC recognize our commitment to this community,” said Dr. Jeff Hill, regional president at Herzing University. “Our new campus, with modern classrooms and state-of-the-industry labs, will allow us to continue our focus of connecting individuals with rewarding careers by preparing them to meet workforce demands of local employers for many years to come.”

Herzing will become a key anchor institution in downtown Kenosha, along with Froedtert South—which is located a few blocks from the Kenosha News Building—fulfilling the vision of the economic development strategy for “eds and meds.” This will further strengthen the talent pipeline for Herzing’s degree programs, which include nursing and business, to area employers, including Froedtert South, Uline and Aurora Health Care.

“It was a pleasure to work with Downtown Kenosha Inc., the city and WEDC to help Herzing University meet its goals to expand and ultimately relocate locally. Adding an academic institution to our downtown will quickly become a valuable feature of our city’s culture,” said KABA Vice President Heather Wessling Grosz. “Kenosha is a college town, and having Herzing downtown adds a unique setting for students who come here to learn, hang out and shop—and hopefully, one day they will see the value in living and working here long-term.”

“Herzing has long provided valuable worker training opportunities for the people of our community,” said state Rep. Tod Ohnstad. “The effort to bring the campus downtown is an excellent example of the many great things happening as part of the revitalization of downtown Kenosha. This grant from the state is an important investment for this project.”

WEDC’s Community Development Investment Grant Program supports community development and redevelopment efforts, primarily in downtown areas. The matching grants are awarded based on the ability of applicants to demonstrate the economic impact of the proposed project, including public and private partnership development, financial need and use of sustainable downtown development practices.
Since the program’s inception in 2013, WEDC has awarded more than $30 million in Community Development Investment Grants to more than 100 communities for projects expected to generate more than $500 million in capital investments statewide.