The four-story former warehouse in downtown Janesville now known as the Gray Goose has landed a new gander from up north.
Local broker Commercial Property Group announced this week that Michigan tech and telecommunications company CCI Systems plans to locate engineering offices in space it will lease on the entire third floor of the 24,000-square-foot brick building on North Academy Street.
CCI Vice President Rick Hurzeler says the company plans to open offices in the Gray Goose by April, and it plans to hire “upwards of 50 employees” to staff the office.
CCI, which is based in the Upper Peninsula community of Iron Mountain, Michigan, handles engineering, planning, mapping infrastructure and design services for telecommunications companies and large cable operators, Hurzeler said.
He said the company chose Janesville for its new satellite office because of its proximity to key clients. He said CCI also operates offices in Atlanta, Denver and Los Angeles.
The Gray Goose, a historic former tobacco warehouse, was renovated in 2016 under a set of state, federal and city tax incentives totaling about $2.3 million. The building also has another major tenant, Janesville tech firm Foremost Media.
Renovations to the building leveraged the warehouse’s expansive spaces and high ceilings to create an open-concept commercial or office space. Hurzeler said CCI chose the Gray Goose because of the building’s layout.
“I liked the open-concept floor space because it allowed us to configure designers and drafters in a kind of collaborative environment,” he said.
He said crews are now working on a buildout of the third floor, which is part of the lease deal between the Gray Goose’s owners and CCI.
The Gazette on Friday was unable to reach Gray Goose owner, local attorney and developer Mark Robinson, for comment.
Broker Mandy Witt, whose firm McGuire-Mears Coldwell Banker Commercial has represented the owners in the past, declined comment and deferred to Robinson.
Commercial Property Group broker Mike Venable worked with CCI on the lease deal.
He said it’s another example of Janesville’s downtown attracting employees through building renovations. He said he’s glad this client was a high-tech company that will bring in dozens of new white-collar jobs.
Tech job growth was in the spotlight recently in the Janesville-Beloit metro area after California economic analyst Milkin Institute last month ranked the Janesville area as the fifth-best small city in the U.S. for growth in high-tech exports.
Venable said he thinks CCI’s move here is another step in the right direction.
“You look at the growth of some tech firms downtown, Foremost Media and a few others. I said before that with firms like SHINE (Medical Radioisotopes) in downtown, when they do get (medical radioisotope production) up open and operating … seeing these things, it’s all going to mean something,” Venable said.
“The hope is it’ll help make a lot of other research and development-type companies want to take a look at Janesville.”