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$6 Million Incentive Package for Natural Foods Distributor

Sturtevant's newest commercial resident is expected to break ground next spring and open for business in 2014.

It's official. in Sturtevant starting next spring at Highways 11 and H.

Members of the village Community Development Authority and the Village Board unanimously approved a developerment agreement with UNFI Monday night during a special board meeting.

"Jobs are the name of the game and we looked at what we had to do to attract this quality company," said Village President Steve Jansen. "This entire team has really done a heck of a job."

Attorney John Bjelajac is UNFI's local legal counsel. He said the company is thrilled to come to Sturtevant.

"They were so impressed with Sturtevant and the team here that the village quickly rose to the top of possibilities," he said. "UNFI is happy to be here."

The development agreement spells out $6 million in incentives directly from the village plus an additional $3.5 million from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. Some of what goes into the village's incentive package includes:

  • $4.5 million for land acquisition that the village then will sell to UNFI for $1
  • $630,000 for construction of necessary infrastructure like storm water management, highway improvements and a swale to protect a residential neighbor; and
  • $482,000 for all related permit fees.

These three points come to about $5.6 million, leaving approximately $400,000 left over, which the village has agreed to pay back to UNFI for costs the company incurs filling the new positions.

In exchange, UNFI agrees to give primary employment consideration to Racine County residents with a guarantee of 220 jobs to start and a total development value of no less than $32 million plus an additional $9.2 million for equipment and personal property.

Sturtevant is funding the incentive package with its tax incremental financing district, which includes the Renaissance Business Park. Created in 1994, the TID is a growth tool available to municipalities that takes property taxes generated by the tenants there and uses that money to pay back the loan that financed the creation of the district.

The village's TID was scheduled to close in 2015, well ahead of it's 2023 close date. The UNFI agreement pushes that date out to 2016 now.

"We had to be very creative so there wasn't any negative effect on our taxpayers," Trustee Chris Larsen said. "But I think it's a testament to Sturtevant's commitment to responsible growth that we have an economic engine able to make this project happen."

Building and timeline

The new UNFI building will measure some 425,000 square feet, Jansen said, but that is only the first phase.

"We're expecting - and the company has indicated this as well - that the operation will grow, bringing more jobs and more value," he said.

Jennie Trick, deputy director of Racine County Economic Development Corporation, said because UNFI plans to build a LEED gold-certified building, it shows the company's commitment to energy savings and to investing long-term in a Sturtevant location.

"Committing to this building process is certainly a commitment to sustainability and energy savings," she said. "It's also an economic issue, too, because of long-term savings but also because the investment in this building process is financially significant."

From a press release from RCEDC:

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for this distribution facility. LEED is a third-party certification program which promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

“UNFI is excited to partner with the Village of Sturtevant to construct our new facility in Wisconsin. We feel Wisconsin is the optimal location to expand our facility network and reduce our operating costs, while continuing our commitment to decreasing our carbon footprint,” commented Steve Spinner, President and Chief Executive Officer in the release.

UNFi will break ground next spring with an expected year-long construction. The building should open in Sprin 2014.

Larsen said UNFI is exactly the corporate citizen the village needs.

"This company has a reputation for being one of the best companies on a number of fronts," he said. "We couldn't ask for a better corporate citizen to move to Sturtevant."

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