TUE AM News: February home sales continue record trends in state housing market; Pharmaceutical manufacturer to expand Verona facility, create 50 jobs

— Strong February housing sales pushed what are typically the three slowest months of the year into record territory, according to the Wisconsin Realtors Association.

In its most recent analysis, WRA found February sales jumped 5.5 percent compared to February 2020 — the last month before the recession began. 

WRA Board Chair Mary Duff said this is the second year in a row of record winter sales in Wisconsin. Closed sales for the period between December 2020 and February 2021 rose to

16,350 homes sold statewide, which is 15 percent higher than the previous winter sales record

established last year. 

And every region of the state experienced record sales this winter. The northern region of the state saw the strongest growth — an increase of 31.8 percent over the previous winter months. 

Duff said this shows buyers remain highly motivated because winter is the least convenient time to move in Wisconsin. 

“This is the strongest seller’s market on record, and it pushed prices up sharply in February,”

said WRA President and CEO Michael Theo.  

Read the full story at WisBusiness.com: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2021/february-home-sales-continue-record-trends-in-state-housing-market/ 

— A growing economy will continue to stimulate the demand for single-family housing this year, said Marquette University economist David Clark.

“The Wisconsin labor market continues to improve, and a recent re-benchmarking of the data

shows that the state has added back about two thirds of the jobs lost in the first two months of

the recession,” said Clark, who is also a consultant to the WRA.

“As the vaccination rate expands, economic restrictions should diminish, allowing for a more complete economic recovery,” said Clark. 

— Just in time for National Ag Day, the Sand County Foundation announced it will work with four Wisconsin farms to demonstrate the benefits of rotational grazing on cover crops.

The national nonprofit, which supports voluntary conservation with agricultural land, will work with farmers in Spring Green, Baraboo, Lodi and Loganville to demonstrate the conservation and economic benefits of rotational grazing livestock on cover crops. Each farm is within the lower Wisconsin River basin. 

“I have already seen the benefits of introducing cattle to row crop rotations, but I am looking forward to having actual soil health data,” said Ron Schoepp, owner and operator of Schoepp Farms in Lodi. Schoepp is also a member of the farmer-led watershed protection group Sauk Soil & Water Improvement Group.

The feedback from experienced grazers in environmentally sensitive regions will help reduce the trial and error of grazing cover crops for farmers elsewhere, explained Heidi Peterson, the Sand County Foundation’s vice president of agricultural research and conservation. 

“The introduction of livestock is one of the five principles of soil health,” Peterson said. “We will demonstrate that grazing cover crops positively impacts soil health, nutrient runoff reduction, and feed cost efficiency.”

— MilliporeSigma, a leading life science company, is expanding its facility in Verona — a $65 million project expected to create approximately 50 new jobs.

WEDC is supporting the project by authorizing up to $200,000 in state income tax credits over the next three years. The actual amount of tax credits MilliporeSigma will receive is contingent upon the number of jobs created.

MilliporeSigma plans to increase its pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity through a two-story building expansion of its Verona facility. This expansion will accommodate projected growth and provide an audit-ready facility that meets customer and internal quality requirements. MilliporeSigma has four locations in Wisconsin focused on both biochemical production and manufacturing of complex active pharmaceutical ingredients and key intermediates.

In addition to the roughly 50 new jobs expected to be created by MilliporeSigma, an economic modeling study estimates the project could indirectly generate 43 additional jobs in the region. Those new jobs are expected to generate $182,448 in state income tax revenue annually.

— The Department of Administration is seeking to lease two adjacent office suites in Milwaukee County under the same lease for use by two state agencies.

The Department of Health Services, requiring 46,600-square-feet, will house its Milwaukee Enrollment Services program in the suite. The Department of Children and Families will house its Milwaukee Early Care Administration in the facility and needs 2,400-square-feet. In addition to the primary programs, the departments will house other programs at the leased space as part of both agencies.

Parking requirements include approximately 250 parking stalls for staff and visitors at or within five blocks of the facility, three onsite 24/7 secured stalls for fleet vehicles, and code-compliant ADA parking, including one van-accessible stall, near the entrance to the facility. 

The lease will have a five-year initial lease term, with an early lease termination provision, and two five-year renewal options. Proposals are due by 2 p.m. April 26. 

See more details: https://www.wisbusiness.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/210322-RFP.pdf 

— Green Bay-based RGL Logistics expanded its total warehouse space with the purchase of the 450,000-square-foot former Fleet Farm warehouse and distribution center in Appleton.

RGL Logistics now has a combined 4 million-square-feet of warehouse space, according to a release from the company. CEO Joe Lemerond said the purchase will allow RGL to provide Wisconsin companies a streamlined and efficient supply chain solution.

“The explosive growth in the e-commerce sector is expected to continue and this property provides a centrally-located hub for our customers,” Lemerond said in a release. “With warehousing and distribution services throughout northeast Wisconsin, along with excellent highway access, we are able to offer our customers a distinct advantage.”

— The Transportation Development Association highlighted Ellen Voie of Women in Trucking Association in its latest “On The Go” podcast.

“Whether it’s driving, being a diesel mechanic, being a safety director, or even working in marketing or HR…there is a place here for any woman that wants to work in the industry,” said Voie, who is president, CEO and founder of Women in Trucking.

The Plover-based association helps companies attract female technicians, drivers and other employees to their companies. When contacted by companies, Women in Trucking helps put female workers into leadership positions. According to Voie, these companies realize that diversity in their workforce increases their net profits.

— Citing health and safety concerns, the Town of Forest Board has unanimously requested that Leeward Renewable Energy stop a 42-turbine wind project in western Wisconsin.

The town board voted unanimously on Jan. 12 for Leeward to abandon the project. Additionally, the township asked for the Leeward Board of Directors to formally vote to end the project. The town wrote CEO Jason Allen and the Leeward board on Jan. 18 with a response request of Feb. 28. They have not responded. 

The letter argues that a wind farm project had been declared a public health hazard by the Brown County Board. The letter claimed that local dairy farmers had to sell their animals after experiencing a 50 percent drop in production after wind turbines had been installed. Homeowners also said they experienced sleeplessness, because of the inaudible noise produced by the turbines.

“As we close out a challenging year and look forward to brighter days ahead, we seek the gift of peace from Leeward Renewable Energy to the Town of Forest Wisconsin,” the letter says.

See the letter: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2021/the-creative-company-town-of-forest-urges-leeward-to-stop-highland-wind-farm-project/ 

— For more developments in green energy, environmental issues and related policy proposals, visit WisBiz Green in the right-hand column at WisBusiness.com.

To get a weekly feed of WisBiz Green highlights, sign up here: https://forms.gle/D9UncD3ee3j6nWZ2A

— The Badger Fund of Funds’ Milwaukee-based venture fund Gateway Capital Fund has held a first close after reaching its initial fundraising goal of $6 million. 

The Gateway Capital Fund,  launched in October, has now met its minimum capital raise to begin investing. However, the fund has chosen to continue to raise funds with the intention of meeting the ultimate goal of $10 million in capital. The Badger Fund of Funds will continue to provide a $40,000 match for every $60,000 raised by the Gateway Capital Fund.

The Gateway Capital Fund is one of five Wisconsin-based venture capital funds with the Badger Fund of Funds as its lead investor. It’s uniquely focused on investing in Milwaukee-area startup companies that are not yet generating revenue.

Managed by Dana Guthrie, the Gateway Capital Fund was expected to need at least one year to raise its goal of $10 million of capital. Guthrie has raised the first $6 million of capital in just four months. The Greater Milwaukee Foundation and West Bend Mutual Insurance Company are the fund’s lead investors in Milwaukee.


# Dentists, With Proper Training, Can Now Administer COVID-19 Vaccines And Flu Shots In Wisconsin 


# Report: $15 Minimum Wage Would Help 30 Percent Of Wisconsin Workers 


# Badgers football tickets on sale as Wisconsin preps for fans at Camp Randall Stadium 




– Virtual farm tour begins this week https://www.weau.com/2021/03/22/virtual-farm-tour-begins-this-week/

– Four Farms to Demonstrate Benefits of Rotational Grazing on Cover Crops https://www.midwestfarmreport.com/2021/03/22/four-farms-to-demonstrate-benefits-of-rotational-grazing-on-cover-crops/


– Superior touts success of Small Business Development Center https://www.superiortelegram.com/business/small-business/6941632-Superior-touts-success-of-Small-Business-Development-Center


– Groups push climate change study of upper Mississippi River https://lacrossetribune.com/news/state-and-regional/mn/groups-push-climate-change-study-of-upper-mississippi-river/article_ca1086cd-195c-5ea7-ac74-e7bff0c67c95.html


– State and federal tax filing deadline extended to May 17 https://madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/state-and-federal-tax-filing-deadline-extended-to-may-17/article_959d60d8-d27d-5796-a618-25c9154ea004.html


– The Future of American High-Tech Manufacturing: Gummy Bears? https://www.bloomberg.com/news/newsletters/2021-03-22/foxconn-wisconsin-is-future-of-u-s-manufacturing-in-gummy-bears


– Meriter nurses ratify contract with pandemic-related changes https://lacrossetribune.com/news/state-and-regional/wi/meriter-nurses-ratify-contract-with-pandemic-related-changes/article_5042dfb6-62d1-5a79-9490-f1227b523237.html

– Vaccination sites increasing in Wisconsin, but shortage remains in short term: Gov. Evers https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2021/03/22/vaccinations-sites-increasing-in-wisconsin-but.html?cx_testId=40&cx_testVariant=cx_33&cx_artPos=0#cxrecs_s


– Brown County Moves To Address Public Defender Shortage https://www.wpr.org/brown-county-moves-address-public-defender-shortage


– Third Space Brewing is expanding distribution to the entire state https://www.jsonline.com/story/entertainment/2021/03/22/milwaukee-brewery-third-space-brewing-expands-distribution-statewide/4797836001/


– Watch now: Car repair, coffee and ‘comfort spending’ — $1,400 relief payments a boon for Madisonians https://madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/watch-now-car-repair-coffee-and-comfort-spending-1-400-relief-payments-a-boon-for/article_33af46cf-75e9-5f7e-9c06-d13cf9463970.html


– For sale: 8 Green Bay area commercial properties on the market https://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/picture-gallery/money/2021/03/22/sale-8-green-bay-area-commercial-properties-market/4708765001/

– Former alderman Zielinski sells controversial Bay View mansion for $1.6 million https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2021/03/22/former-alderman-zielinski-sell-bay-view-mansion.html?cx_testId=40&cx_testVariant=cx_33&cx_artPos=1#cxrecs_s


– Chippewa tribes blast wolf hunt, say it was about killing https://www.channel3000.com/chippewa-tribes-blast-wolf-hunt-say-it-was-about-killing/


– Wisconsin, nation see sharp increase in gun sales during tumultuous 2020 https://madison.com/wsj/news/local/crime-and-courts/wisconsin-nation-see-sharp-increase-in-gun-sales-during-tumultuous-2020/article_20864cdb-23c6-5b27-a112-88db9aedca2d.html


– Lone Rock tortilla makers win $5,000 on ‘Project Pitch It’ https://wkow.com/2021/03/21/lone-rock-tortilla-makers-win-5000-on-project-pitch-it/

– Stone Creek Coffee is permanently closing its oldest cafe, in Whitefish Bay https://www.jsonline.com/story/entertainment/dining/carol-deptolla/2021/03/20/stone-creek-coffee-closing-its-oldest-cafe-whitefish-bay/4782064001/


– Zilli Hospitality Group adds Mitchell Park Domes facility to venue portfolio https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2021/03/22/zilli-hospitality-group-adds-greenhouse-no-7-to.html

– Get out or stay in: Plenty of options for families during Spring Break https://madison.com/wsj/lifestyles/parenting/get-out-or-stay-in-plenty-of-options-for-families-during-spring-break/article_292a92d5-3ca3-597a-8e5c-af1e1b02b957.html


<i>See these and other press releases: 

https://www.wisbusiness.com/press-releases/ </i>

– Badger Fund of Funds: Gateway capital fund reaches initial fundraising milestone of $6 million

– Transportation Development Association: Women in trucking the focus of the latest TDA On The Go podcast

– Wisconsin Open Season Sportsman’s Expo: Outdoor heritage education center interactive trailers on display

– We Energies: First peregrine falcon eggs of the season laid at We Energies nest boxes