Franklin-based Strauss Brands LLC announced Wednesday that it plans to build a new 175,000-square-foot headquarters and meat processing operation at the Century City business park on Milwaukee’s northwest side.
The facility will initially have 250 employees.
An announcement about the facility was originally planned for Tuesday, but was pushed back a day. Officials did not disclose the reason that the announcement was delayed. The preliminary announcement said the facility could eventually have 500 employees, but future employment projections were not included in the announcement today.
Strauss Brands provides meat, including beef, veal and lamb to its customers across the nation. The company says its products are “premium quality, sustainably and humanely raised meats.” The company says its fastest growing segments include grass-fed beef, and organic beef as well as other specialty meats.
“Since 1937, we have proudly operated both in and around Milwaukee. Today, with the support of (Milwaukee) Mayor (Tom) Barrett and Milwaukee economic development officials, we are excited to announce our return to the city of Milwaukee, home of our operational roots,” said Randy Strauss, third generation co-owner and chief executive officer of Strauss Brands.
Strauss said it will commence construction on the Century City project later this year with occupancy expected in 2021. The company will employ 250 workers at the facility, including headquarters staff and production personnel.
The company said the facility will be designed to accommodate growth scenarios that “could bring significant additional jobs and investment to the Century City operation,” a news release states.
“Strauss Brands is a very positive addition to the mix of businesses located at Century City,” Barrett said. “Century City is part of Milwaukee’s continuing reinvention. We are building a manufacturing future here with good companies, modern facilities, and jobs for great Milwaukee workers.”
The city will sell 20 acres along Hopkins Street south of Capitol Drive to Strauss for $1, to provide the site for the facility. In addition, the city plans to create a developer-financed tax incremental district valued at up to $4.5 million to subsidize the project. Strauss has agreed to meet the city’s Residents Preference Program and Small Business Enterprise requirements in the construction of the new facility.
The addition of Strauss Brands is a major step forward for the city’s efforts to develop the 80-acre Century City business park, which have taken several years to get going.
Century City was once home to A.O. Smith’s large manufacturing campus, where thousands of employees helped produce millions of automobile frames. In 1997, the company sold its automotive products business to Tower International, which then shut down the Milwaukee complex in 2006. The site was acquired by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee in 2009. Since that time, the Redevelopment Authority has worked to prepare the site for development.
Currently, two other companies are operating in the business park. Milwaukee-based Good City Brewing recently moved office and warehouse operations there after buying the 53,000-square-foot Century City One industrial building at North Capital Drive and North Hopkins Street. The company occupies the southern portion of the building and has made the rest of the space available to other tenants.
Spanish train maker Talgo Inc. also has operations in the business park in a facility located at the northwest corner of North 27th Street and West Townsend Street. Talgo left Milwaukee after then-Gov. Scott Walker canceled plans for a high-speed rail system in the state, for which the company had been making trains. But the company later returned to the city to perform work on a $73 million contract to overhaul rail vehicles for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. It then received another $139 million worth of work from the Southern California Regional Rail Authority, which it will also perform at Century City.
“Century City has always offered strong advantages for businesses, and Strauss Brands recognizes that,” said Alderman Khalif Rainey, whose district includes Century City. “There is buildable land, and a good transportation network with rail and highways. The best part of Century City, though, is people – welcoming neighbors, capable workers, and a supportive group of fellow business operators.”
The Milwaukee 7 economic development organization assisted Strauss in its evaluation of Century City, according to the news release from the company.