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DeForest Business Park

May 14, 2024
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Image of American Packaging facility in DeForest, WI

DeForest uses Certified Site to generate growth

Designation helps industrial park draw significant development

When the DeForest Business Park attained Certified Site status in 2012, some of the properties adjacent to the designated site had already been developed—making the site doubly attractive to potential developers.

“Having a cluster of businesses in the northern part of the DeForest Business Park gave us a nice little one-two punch,” said Alex Allon, the village’s community development director. “The certification helped businesses tremendously with their site selection process.”

The certification provides due-diligence studies and removes many of the ambiguities, pitfalls, and delays that can confront developers during the siting and planning process. For site selectors and developers, Certified Site designation serves as a pre-qualification, indicating that a property’s title is clear, that it possesses sufficient utilities and other infrastructure for industrial use, and that it is properly zoned and has adequate transportation access for such uses, among other criteria.

For DeForest, the designation was key to the successful marketing of a 57-acre parcel within the park on U.S. Highway 51.

Site draws major development

Rochester, New York-based American Packaging Corp. decided in 2016 to locate a $50 million satellite facility on the site, recognizing the importance of the certification. The company also received $750,000 in performance-based tax credits through WEDC as well as local tax increment financing incentives.

The 170,000-square-foot plant on 26.3 acres created more than 60 jobs when it opened in 2017. The firm also has a roto gravure plant in Columbus.

“We continue to see a promising future for rotogravure printing. We chose DeForest as home to our first satellite facility based on location, talented labor pool, and the historical success we’ve enjoyed in Wisconsin,” American Packaging President and CEO Peter Schottland said in announcing the plant.

In 2019, the firm undertook a $50 million expansion at the site that added 126,000 square feet to its footprint. The expansion allowed for the addition of cutting-edge automation and two new rotogravure printing presses.

“Having all of the data and assessments completed makes everyone’s lives easier and gives businesses that level of certainty when they choose a site.”

Alex Allon

Community Development Director, Village of DeForest

Image of Alex Allon

Alex Allon, Community Development Director, Village of DeForest

Momentum builds at the park

Allon said other firms have followed suit, snapping up other Certified Sites. A developer constructed a 180,000-square-foot warehouse east of American Packaging, with Merck Animal Products and Big Joe Forklifts coming on board as tenants. Currently, Lake City Glass is proposing to build a headquarters there as well.

“Certified Site designation provides businesses with a streamlined process for site selection, ensuring they have access to shovel-ready properties that meet their needs,” said Everett Butzine, vice president of economic development for the Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP). “This reduces the time and costs associated with development, enabling businesses to start operations quickly and efficiently.”

Allon said the certification was critical to marketing the parcel and creating jobs. “Having that designation and the additional marketing that WEDC puts out there really helps,” he said. “Having all of the data and assessments completed makes everyone’s lives easier and gives businesses that level of certainty when they choose a site.”

AT A GLANCE

Development site:
DeForest Business Park

Idea:
Obtain Certified Site status to ease the path for development and enhance appeal for site selectors

State support:
Certified In Wisconsin Program, Business Development Tax Credits

Outcome:
Major new developments boosting employment and the village’s tax base

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