Haribo of America hired Gilbane Building Co. to start work before the end of this year on the company’s $300 million gummi bear plant in Pleasant Prairie, its first facility in the United States.
The project is one the largest economic development deals pending in southeast Wisconsin, with 385 full-time jobs expected to be created. It has seen multiple delays since it was first announced three years ago. Much of that was for Haribo, a global maker of Gold Bear candies based in Germany, to retool its usual construction and factory designs for the U.S. market and its regulations.
After gaining final approvals for those plans in May, Haribo was charting a construction start before mid-November. The company in late September cited “unprecedented occurrences of 2020” for the further delays in a letter to the village of Pleasant Prairie.
That letter anticipated applying for building permits in November of this year for the first phase of construction.
In a press release issued Monday, Haribo said work would begin “as soon as possible” this year and announced the hiring of Gilbane as the project’s lead builder. Gilbane is the lead on several of the region’s major construction projects, including the pending $300 million expansion of the Wisconsin Center convention hall, Foxconn Technology Group’s Mount Pleasant campus and Michels Corp.’s $100 million R1ver mixed-use development in Milwaukee.
The first phase of Haribo’s project will include a 487,400-square-foot candy production building. Instead of its international practice of storing raw materials in silos next to the facility, Haribo is building an 87,866-square-foot warehouse. That warehouse would link to the production facility through a 475-foot-long, 28-foot-wide connector with conveyors for the materials.
When announced in 2017, Haribo’s project was eligible for up to $22.5 million in state of Wisconsin tax credits. The company as of this year has been approved for $2.1 million in tax credits based on $35.7 million in capital spending thus far.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Monday issued a press release welcoming the impending start of construction and quoting Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.
“The company is a perfect fit with our food production tradition, and joins an enviable roster of iconic consumer brands that call Wisconsin home,” Hughes said.