PLEASANT PRAIRIE – Development is taking on a decidedly sweet note as residents have taken the lead in planning the long-awaited downtown, while an international candy maker is just months away from breaking ground in the village’s newest corporate park.
Village Green CenterMaster planning for Village Green Center, Pleasant Prairie’s future community hub, continues April 2 with Rinka, an architectural firm and design collective that is designing it, having created a draft concept master plan and civil site analysis.
Village Green Center, which has been in the works the last 25 years, was intended as a central destination area for the resident to foster a sense of community identity and is now closer to fruition.
Conceptual planning was facilitated over a seven-month period with collaboration from about 60 community members. Resident-led, it focused on eight integral themes to create a common vision for the future downtown.
In late July, Designing Downtown Pleasant Prairie unveiled its plan that envisions areas for an outdoor amphitheater, specialty food shops, restaurants, a microbrewery and even a rooftop garden and community kitchen, along with an “ArtPlex.”
The design considers accessible transportation whether on foot, on bike or by motorized vehicles. Housing, including condos and townhomes surrounding the downtown to loft apartments above commercial spaces, also were incorporated.
Village Green Center contains property roughly bounded by 97th Street, 39th Avenue, Highway 165 and 47th Avenue.
“You have a wonderful, golden opportunity that is not afforded to most communities to create Village Green Center into a beautiful, incredible downtown destination,” said consultant Todd Streeter, who facilitated the committees’ collaboration a year ago.
Now, the design is coming into closer focus with Rinka, chosen last year and has worked on notable design plans within the state, such as Oak Creek’s Drexel Town Square and La Crosse’s Riverside North, a development after which Village Green’s development process, with its multiple elements, will be patterned.
Steve Morales, Rinka partner and representative, said the firm was “very fortunate” to have had the chance to review the conceptual planning work from the community collaboration and its subcommittees.
“It was a very ambitious plan. I think there’s lot of great ideas there that ... truly made sense and (were) authentic to Pleasant Prairie,” Morales said. “I think you guys are far ahead with what other municipalities have done.”
Haribo—Prairie Highlands Corporate ParkWithin the corporate park, Haribo, the manufacturer of the world famous Goldbears gummi candies is expected to break ground this summer in the first phase of development with 602,000-square-foot manufacturing building, and a 162,500-square-foot warehouse.
In February, Haribo finalized the acquisition of a 136.8-acre site from the village in the corporate park located west of I-94 and north of Highway 165, where the company plans to build its first North American manufacturing facility.
This final closing comes after the village completed land and infrastructure improvements at the site, including sewer systems, water mains and roadways.
“Haribo is reaching a big milestone this year — our 100th anniversary — so we’re excited about this next step in building our U.S. manufacturing facility as part of the celebration,” said Arndt Ruesges, chief production officer with Haribo.
Lauren Triffler, Haribo’s corporate communications chief, said the company is in the process of putting out a bid for general contractors.
“We are currently still on track to break ground in late summer pending how long the bidding process takes along with other internal approval processes,” she said earlier this month.
While the first phase of construction was approved last spring, the process had been delayed, as the German candy maker has been meticulous in following design standards.
“Also, as you know, this is our first-ever North American manufacturing facility so we’re taking every step with great care. We want to do this the right way,” Triffler said. “We’ve adjusted our plans based on three things: U.S. construction standards, U.S. production/operating standards and key learnings from our international factory construction.”
She said Haribo, a private family-owned business now in its third generation, has reputation for high quality products.
“Changes alter our timeline but we never want to forego quality in building process because we want to ensure we’re set up for success in producing the best gummies for our consumers,” she said. “We’re incorporating key learnings, particularly from our factory in Grafschaft, Germany, so we can bring in best practices but make them work in a U.S. environment.”
Nexus PharmaceuticalsPrairie Highlands soon will be the home for Nexus Pharmaceuticals’ 82,580-square-foot manufacturing, three-story facility on 16 acres at 10300 128th Ave.
In its first phase, the company is expected to hire 70 full-time and five part-time employees working in three shifts. In the beginning, two shifts will operate five days a week, with a skeleton crew on third shift to oversee equipment running overnight.
In July, Nexus entered into an agreement to purchase the land in the corporate park for $3.2 million from the village. Nexus’ three-phase project is expected to be completed over a 10-year period. The project’s first phase is planned for completion this year, and operations are expected to begin next year.
Nexus is one of two pharmaceuticals companies that will open in the village, the other is Fresenius Kabi.
Nexus got the higher profile, as Gov. Tony Evers came to the village on July heralding the project.
“This is one of the most significant pharmaceutical investments in Wisconsin in years,” Evers said.
Stateline 94 – Fresenius Kabi
Also approved was Fresenius Kabi, which is planning to build and operate 590,595-square-foot order processing, assembly and fulfillment center in the 125-acre Stateline 94 Corporate Park.
The facility at 11900 122nd St. is being developed on a 46.9-acre parcel by Venture One Real Estate and CRG and is the Stateline 94’s first tenant.
Fresenius Kabi, with U.S. headquarters in Lake Zurich, Ill., specializes in lifesaving medicines and technologies for infusion, transfusion and clinical nutrition. The company’s products and services are used to care for critically and chronically ill patients.
The facility is expected to begin operations this year and would employ 95 workers on two shifts within the first three years. At full operation, it is expected to employ as many as 164 workers by 2028.
LakeView Corporate ParkThe LakeView Corporate Park, the village’s oldest business and manufacturing district, remains active in attracting development, as well. Among the construction planned for the business park includes:
Bio Fab Technologies Inc.: A 50,743-square-foot office and custom stainless-steel fabrication facility — along with improvements from lighting to landscaping — on 5.6 acres in the 11100 block of 88th Avenue in LakeView Corporate Park. The company specializes in custom stainless-steel equipment serving the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries.
Ta Chen: The steel and aluminum distributor plans to begin operating in the 205,040-square-foot speculative building at 8500 116th St. by January. Ta Chen currently employs approximately 70 full-time and five part-time positions. The plans include four full-time employees who will work at the site.
Also in the worksKroger’s automated grocery processing and delivery facility is proposed for 9091 88th Ave. Grading is anticipated to begin this spring, with the facility to begin operating in the spring of 2022.
The proposal includes 30,000 square feet of office space attached to a 300,000-square-foot building that will be air-conditioned and used for refrigerated product storage.
The facility will initially employ up to 400 people, but could hire as many as 700 workers on two shifts.
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