West Allis - It's only February and already West Allis has eclipsed development from all of last year with the announcement of a $38 million corporate headquarters and health care facility.
The 200,000-square-foot development on the former Pressed Steel Tank manufacturing site within the Six Points Farmers Market Redevelopment Neighborhood will include a new 26,000-square-foot headquarters building and will add more than 300 jobs to the area.
And this project is just the tip of the iceberg, said John Stibal, director of development.
Stibal estimated that, if all continues to go well, the city will experience $100 million in development this year. Part of that will be an apartment building to be announced soon also for the Six Point area, said Patrick Schloss, community development manager.
By comparison, new construction in West Allis last year totaled $32 million.
If the economy is indeed coming out of the recession, Stibal said, "I think West Allis will be leading the charge."
The health care campus development, by Tarantino and Company LLC, will be good in many ways, officials said.
"The investment will support needed construction jobs, foster new family supporting jobs and generate nearly $1 million in new property taxes." said Alderman Thomas Lajsic, Safety and Development Committee chairman, in the news release announcing the project.
The average annual pay for those jobs is estimated at $40,000, Lajsic said.
The project also will be good for businesses around it, said Patrick Schloss, community development manager.
Adding 300 workers to the area will likely mean they will patronize area auto service businesses, restaurants and stores, all of which are within walking distance, Schloss said.
In fact, the city would like to attract more small businesses to the area, he said.
The Tarantino development is proposed for a 7.5 acre site along 66th Street, Greenfield Avenue and National Avenue. A tenant has not officially been named by the developer.
Pressed Steel - which made compressed gas tanks, scuba tanks and other products - had occupied the site since 1902.
The company closed in 2006 and the plant was razed in 2007. The city immediately got to work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin Department of Commerce to clean up the site and prepare it for a redevelopment of this type.
The vision for the site has changed remarkably over the years.
Back when the plant was still standing, city planners were talking about a grocery store there, Schloss said. After it was razed, loft apartments and flats with dense quality housing was the vision, he said.
Revitalizing Six Points
The Six Points Farmers Market Redevelopment Neighborhood is basically where Greenfield and National avenues converge and extend west to about 66th Street. City planners now refer to that neighborhood as Six-Point Crossing.
West Allis has already put a lot of work into the redevelopment area. It renovated the farmers market with landscaping and lighting and installed decorative street lighting. And it attracted developers to build apartments and luxury condominiums.
The Berkshire West Allis-Senior Living senior apartments with a restaurant, stores and offices also is part of redevelopment efforts and the historic Paradise Theater building is being rehabilitated by the Epikos Church.
Even with the major Tarantino development on top of all that, the city isn't done with Six Points, Schloss said. A foundry to the south has potential for redevelopment, he said, and an existing corporation in the area might grow.
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