ANGI to move to Janesville

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Monday, February 20, 2012
— A family-owned alternative energy equipment company is moving to the former ThyssenKrupp/Gilman plant in Janesville to grow its operations and its employment base.

Milton-based ANGI Energy Systems has confirmed it will vacate its plant at 15 Plumb St. in Milton and move to the 215,000-square-foot former Gilman plant at 305 W. Delavan Drive.

ANGI plans to transfer all of its 115 employees to the new location, where it will expand operations and eventually create 25 new jobs. The move could happen within the next three to six months.

ANGI's potential move was announced late last year but was sealed Friday when Janesville's Badger Property Investments finalized a deal to buy the former Gilman plant, according to a joint news release from ANGI and the Rock County Development Alliance.

Badger Property Investments will lease the entire plant space to ANGI. The deal gives ANGI almost triple the space it has at its current location, the 80,000-square-foot Burdick building in Milton, which Badger Property Investments also owns.

ANGI produces compression equipment used to fuel vehicles that run on compressed natural gas. It's an emerging market in two dozen countries worldwide, and over the last several years, the company has seen "double- digit growth," ANGI Project Manager Nick Cray said.

"We needed a much larger space and were fortunate to find (the Gilman plant), a local facility originally designed for heavy manufacturing which could be re-utilized," Cray said.

Some gas compression systems that ANGI now produces are as big as semi trailers. Cray said ANGI needs high bays, heavy-duty overhead cranes and large open spaces—all of which are available at the former Gilman plant.

As it continues to grow, ANGI sees the new plant site as a long-term fit, Cray said.

"We are bullish on the future and expect to be in Janesville for a long time to come," he said.

ANGI has immediate plans to remodel large parts of the former Gilman plant and its office areas. It also plans to build on site a 12,000-square-foot research and development facility.

It's a $2 million investment for ANGI, Badger Property Investments partner Tom Lasse said in a telephone interview.

ANGI is negotiating a tax increment financing deal through the city of Janesville and performance-based state tax credits linked to corporate investment and job creation, Lasse said.

The former Gilman plant is in a TIF district. The city of Janesville offers a 10-year, $1 dollar-per-square-foot forgivable loan program for companies that lease in active TIF districts.

Any incentives from the city would require a development agreement and formal approval by the Janesville City Council.

Rock County Economic Development Manager James Otterstein said the purchase and ANGI's lease of the former Gilman plant show how corporations and investors can team up to push the area economy forward.

"This project represents a visible example of the roles that right-sized, functional real estate and local investors play within an area's economic development strategy. We're extremely grateful for the continued commitments that both ANGI and BPI have made within Rock County."

Janesville firm McGuire Mears & Associates and Milwaukee firm Siegel-Gallagher brokered property and lease negotiations in the deal. The two firms last year teamed to bring Melster Candies into a mostly vacant, 100,000-square-foot building in Janesville.

ANGI's move creates an industrial gap in Milton, and Badger Property and Milton economic development officials now face the task of finding a new tenant for the Burdick building.

It's no surprise to city of Milton officials, who publicly announced ANGI's possible move last fall.

Mayor Tom Chesmore said in a phone interview that no vacant industrial spaces in Milton fit ANGI's needs.

He said the city offered ANGI incentives to build in the city's business park, but the company declined.

The city and Badger Property last fall floated a potential plan to move the city's police and fire departments, City Hall and the Milton Public Library into the Burdick building.

Chesmore said he's not sure whether the city council would want to immediately pick up those plans. At minimum, it would require the city to spend money on a feasibility study.

"We're in no big hurry to make any more of a commitment for a building that obviously we'd have to spend money on," Chesmore said.

ANGI already cleared a zoning hurdle in Janesville when the city council approved an ordinance change that will allow truck deliveries to the plant along Jerome Avenue from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The company predicts six to eight deliveries a day from smaller delivery-type vehicles and one or two outbound shipments daily.

Last updated: 7:41 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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