Move to add 90 jobs
In a summer marked by horrible economic news for Janesville, a new manufacturer is coming to town with plans for a $20 million investment and 90 family-supporting jobs.
LiquiPur Holdings plans to pull out of a Chicago suburb and begin bottling operations Jan. 1 in 62,500 square feet of space in the 250,000-square-foot building owned by Helgesen Holdings on Venture Drive on the city's south side.
LiquiPur, owned by Fontana businessman Bernhard Kaufmann, also plans to break ground for a 105,000-square-foot manufacturing facility across Venture Drive to the north.
LiquiPur will employ 40 people in a hot-fill beverage production facility in the existing Helgesen building. An additional 50 will work in a state-of-the-art aseptic food and beverage operation to be housed in the planned new building.
LiquiPur specializes in liquid beverages that are nutritional, organic and based on leading-edge technology for recipes and packaging that is environmentally sensitive.
The company plans to make products for domestic and international companies. It said it will use new technology in pouch production that will reduce plastic bottle packaging and help the environment.
LiquiPur also plans to use aseptic technology to make milk-based products, fruit juices, sauces and gravies. Aseptic processing is used to sterilize and package a product in a way that maintains sterility and increases shelf life.
"We can't focus on what's closing," City Manager Steve Sheiffer said in reference to the announced closing of the General Motors assembly plant, the plants of its local suppliers and the move of Gilman Engineering from Janesville to Michigan.
"We have to focus on what's opening in Janesville," he said. "There will be economic growth and new jobs. There are other things in the works, and this is just the start."
LiquiPur has indicated that most of its 90 jobs in Janesville will be filled locally. The jobs will pay $11 to $13 an hour plus benefits, said Doug Venable, city economic development manager.
The company plans an equipment investment of $7.5 million for the space it will lease from Helgesen.
A newly formed real estate development company named SYNC will build the second facility on a 10.4-acre site north of the Helgesen property. The company plans to spend $4 million to construct the building and $9 million to equip it.
Because the LiquiPur project is in one of the city's tax increment finance districts, the city council is expected to approve two resolutions associated with the project Monday.
-- The first resolution authorizes a $200,000, 10-year loan to help LiquiPur offset building improvements and employee training. The loan, with an interest rate of 4 percent, will be forgiven for each year that LiquiPur maintains an employee base of 90.
-- The second resolution allows for the sale of the 10.4-acre parcel to SYNC for $1. Between 2010 and 2018, SYNC guarantees property tax payments of $662,500, which would allow the city to recover its cost in acquiring the site.
Venable said the company has been looking at Janesville since April or May. The company started its search in the Midwest and ultimately settled on Janesville because of its proximity to dairy farms, fruit orchards and excellent water supplies.
Venable said the city's water quality will complement artesian water used in LiquiPur's bottling process.
"This is a huge announcement, especially with all of the bad news we've had," city council member Bill Truman said. "These will be family-friendly jobs, and we're ecstatic that they'll be hiring for most of the positions locally."