Group: Janesville project among largest

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Jim Leute
Wednesday, January 8, 2014

JANESVILLE—A project in Janesville has been named one of the largest development agreements reached between a state economic development agency and Wisconsin companies in 2013.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. said the $59.4 million expansion at Seneca Foods was the fifth largest of last year.

Seneca last year reached an agreement with the city of Janesville on an 80,000-square-foot expansion of its facility on Conde Street that would include a new production line to package vegetables in pouches rather than cans.

At the time, the company committed to a $7 million plant expansion and an initial commitment of about $10 million for one of the new production lines.

The city agreed to pay $3.3 million for an anaerobic pretreatment lagoon and offer $303,000 in tax incremental financing improvements in exchange for a company guarantee that Seneca create 25 new jobs for the new production line, or 78 jobs if all five lines were built.

The state kicked in with a $1.5 million loan and up to $1.58 million in tax credits with the understanding the project will reach its potential at five production lines and represent a capital investment from Seneca approaching $60 million.

James Otterstein, Rock County's economic development manager, said construction is moving along.

“The building is enclosed, and they're starting to move in and set up the packaging equipment, which is coming from Germany,” Otterstein said, adding he believes Seneca hopes to begin production on its new line this summer.

The state organization's list represents only projects in which it had a direct involvement that resulted in a development agreement.

Taken together, the organization said the top 10 projects represent a total capital investment of more than $750 million and are expected to result in about 4,400 jobs created or retained.

Topping the list is Amazon.com's $141 million distribution center now under construction in Kenosha. The project is eligible for up to $7 million in tax credits and is expected to generate 1,100 jobs.

“The top 10 projects are significant, but they represent just a handful of the more than 500 businesses and communities that WEDC assisted in 2013,” Reed Hall, chief executive officer of the organization, said in a news release.

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