Anticipating economic rebound, CDA looks for ways to quickly tell brokers what is available in community
Taking its cue from economic forecasters, the Village of Saukville Community Development Authority is positioning for a surge in the local business climate.
The CDA usually gets a preview of local development before it begins, but officials note things have been a little slow lately.
To alter that dynamic, CDA members and Village President Barb Dickmann have been keying on ways to promote the village with developers.
Marilyn Haroldson, the village’s director of economic development and planning, has been working with Ozaukee Economic Development to create a digital profile of development opportunities in the community.
The document, which would be stored on a thumb drive that can be distributed to brokers and developers, would offer up-to-date information about available building sites in the community, along with zoning maps and links to existing businesses.
The CDA got a printed preview of what kind of information will be available on the drives during a meeting last week.
When asked the timeline for the finished product, Haroldson said, “we are talking about a matter of a week or two.”
She said there has been considerable behind-the-scene interest in development options in the village.
“I can’t mention names, but we do have people looking at us. Saukville is seen as an up-and-coming community,” Haroldson said.
CDA member Richard Belling, a retired banker, said smaller communities like Saukville are still feeling the economic effects of the national recession.
“In this kind of slow economic recovery, it just takes a while for things to get rolling again. I don’t think it will be that much longer,” Belling said.
The CDA also reviewed the terms of its economic development incentive program, which has been in place since 2010.
Among those incentives is the offer of village-owned land in the industrial park at $15,000 an acre, when two or more acres are purchased. Officials note the price is a 50% discount from the market value of the land.
A broker incentive grant (BIG) program is also still in place, offering cash incentives on the sale of selected property. Out of a list of eight properties included in the program, three remain with incentives ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.
Other cash incentives are available for brokers who help fill vacant retail or commercial buildings, as well as redevelopment projects with values over $1 million.
“I think we should leave the incentive program the way it is,” Dickmann said following the review.
Village Administrator Dawn Wagner said when the village has any sway in promoting sites for future development, it should keep the focus on the business park and the tax-incremental financing district established to create it.
“It is vital that we develop these sites first to pay off the increment,” Wagner said.
Only after the cost of infrastructure improvements in the district is paid off are the taxes collected from those businesses added to the general property tax base, benefiting the village, county, school district and state.
CDA members asked what efforts are being made to fill the vacated Piggly Wiggly store, which has relocated into the former Pick ‘n Save building across the street.
Officials were told that the former tenant, Fox Bros., still has two years remaining on its lease of the now-empty grocery store.
“It might be cheaper for them (to keep paying that rent) than to have a competitor move in,” Haroldson said.