LiquiPur delays Janesville production

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009
— A company that plans to move its bottling operation and 90 jobs to Janesville hopes it is days away from landing the financing needed to move the project toward production.

But the Janesville developer who owns the building into which LiquiPur wants to move says he’s frustrated by the delay.

LiquiPur Holdings announced last August that it would move its bottling operation from a Chicago suburb into 62,500 square feet of space in a Helgesen Holdings building on Venture Drive on Janesville’s south side. At the time, LiquiPur also planned to build a 105,000-square-foot manufacturing facility just across Venture Drive to the north.

But Jeff Helgesen, the owner and developer of the 250,000-square-foot Venture Drive property, ran into a unique problem: a prospective tenant who came along after LiquiPur with a strong interest in leasing 187,500 square feet of the same building.

That tenant, Cummins and a third-party logistics company, is now in business on Venture Drive.

Helgesen decided to move the LiquiPur operation to 505 S. Wuthering Hills Drive, the former home of Unisource Worldwide. Unisource, a distributor of commercial printing and business imaging papers, packaging systems and facility supplies, left the 110,000-square-foot building in 2007.

LiquiPur specializes in liquid beverages that are nutritional, organic and based on leading-edge technology for recipes and packaging that is environmentally sensitive. In Janesville, it is expected to have a hot-fill beverage line as well as a state-of-the-art aseptic food and beverage operation.

LiquiPur pegged total employment at 90 people, Helgesen said, adding that the plant on Wuthering Hills now has one employee and some equipment.

“We are absolutely committed to Janesville,” said John Zolikoff of LiquiPur. “While the financing issue hasn’t affected our overall plan, it has affected our timing.”

Zolikoff said LiquiPur should be in production sometime in the third quarter of this year. It has ceased production at its Chicago plant.

The company and its founder, Fontana businessman Bernard Kaufmann, have invested significant resources in the Janesville operation, Zolikoff said.

“Mr. Kaufmann has a personal investment of more than $1.5 million in this,” Zolikoff said, adding that the company is moving as fast it can.

“We’ve put a lot of time and effort into this. There’s significant momentum for the project, and there is significant interest in the marketplace for the product we will make in Janesville.”

The city of Janesville is also invested in the project. A Tax Increment Finance agreement already has provided LiquiPur with half of a $200,000 forgivable loan.

Last updated: 9:37 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

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