Waunakee continues to add new development

Waunakee Tribute | Roberta Baumann

WAUNAKEE, WI — The Waunakee Economic Development Committee members heard highlights of local businesses’ comings and goings, along with progress on road projects, at their meeting last week.

Todd Schmidt presented the roundup of all of the latest news

The roundabout at Hwys. 19/I/113 is currently under construction. Frank H Street has also been extended to allow for a new St. John Properties underway.

In that part of the business park, it was imagined that a quad-style development would occur, but Schmidt said the office climate has changed, and he is unsure if Waunakee can rival the beltline for such new development, so land is still for sale.

Schmidt said RenewAire, the energy recovery ventilator systems manufacturer which purchased and retrofitted the former Owens and Minor building at Raemisch Road, is doing well, and Schmidt believes it may expand, he said.

Nord Gear is continually expanding, he said. A global company, the Waunakee facility is the North American headquarters, and Schmidt said the challenge is the lack of space left on the property for future expansion. Schmidt said he is working with the company on a solution.

Scientific Protein Laboratories is also expanding, and has purchased land and the building from Erdmann, he said.

A new industrial park business, MERI, collects medical waste for disposal.

Not all businesses appear to be expanding, however. The village received a layoff announcement from Uniek affecting 58 full-time employees, along with temporary workers.

Kerry Ingredients is expected to close and the building is for sale.

In the Arboretum Office Park, Lucky’s has been sold to Brilliant Beginnings, the childcare center currently located in a leased space on Arboretum Drive.

Within that office park, Trowbridge Group, a development firm, has doubled its capacity and built a companion building. Waunakee Veterinary Clinic has purchased one of its buildings and will house a dog day care in its existing space.

Space is still available, but Schmidt said units fill up quickly.

Octopi Brewing continues to add new equipment, and the contract brewery is looking to double its size. Schmidt said he believes it is now the fourth or fifth largest craft brewery in the state.

Also in that area of the business park, Madrax is now built out, and Tormach has purchased 14 acres with plans to build a new facility.

Downtown, a groundbreaking for the library was set for May 21.

The Main Street Village Crossing building that houses Lone Girl is nearly filled, Schmidt said. A children’s therapists suite has moved to the second floor, and an Orange Shoe gym is expected to move to the first floor on the eastern side of the building. Lone Girl is discussions with Hovde about leasing more space in the building.

Also on the first floor, in the original part of the building, a restaurant is slated, Schmidt said, then added, “I’ll believe some these things when I see it.”

Offices upstairs are in use by a number of different businesses.

Construction is also expected to begin on the Hovde mixed-use building across the street, Schmidt said, and the village has acquired the Quonset hut structure to extend the road.

Mill House Quilts has talked to village officials about expanding and adding an elevator.
“That certainly is a centerpiece of the tourism economy of Waunakee,” Schmidt said.

Another much talked about project is the T.Wall apartments on West Main Street, but Schmidt noted that the developer has not formally submitted a proposal to the village.

Kilkenny Farms has seen a great deal of activity, with Waunakee Community Bank and Animart located along Water Wheel Drive. The Animart building has additional space to accommodate other businesses.
Other uses in the park include multi-family housing and a boutique type hotel, Schmidt said.

Additional new facilities in Kilkenny include Rainbow Daycare, slated to open in a few weeks, along with First Choice Dental and Home Again, a senior living facility.

To the north, John Ganser of Forward Development Group is seeking to annex land on the south side of Simon Crestway to accommodate a number of users, Schmidt said. The concept plan includes senior and multifamily housing, and possibly a convenience store and grocery store, Schmidt said.

Next month, Schmidt believes the plan commission will hear from a specific grocer, he said.

“That’s very early in the process,” Schmidt said, adding that a pre-annexation and annexation agreement would need to be worked out. “There’s a lot of be done for that to progress.”

As for housing activity, land is being annexed on the west side of Hwy. Q for residential development. Developer Don Tierney also has plans for a subdivision near Hogan Road, east of the Arboretum Office Park.

This year so far, 39 building permits have been issued for new single-family homes, about on par with last year, Schmidt said.

“I would imagine we will see a bit of a slowing in light of further development of Bishops Bay,” Schmidt added.

Asked why no apartment buildings were planned, Schmidt replied that the Ganser concept plan includes a series of multi-story, multifamily buildings, but the land is not in the village yet.