The market for commercial development, which dragged throughout the Great Recession, is finally heating up. Interest rates remain low and pent-up demand is now at a low boil.
So says Taggert “T.J.” Brooks, who will keynote the sixth annual InDevelopment conference March 12 at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Green Bay.
“There’s more optimism in the state and the country, and that’s leading to a building boom,” says Brooks, associate professor and chair of the Department of Economics at the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse and economic trends consultant with Taggert Brooks Economic Consulting.
This may be no secret to those in the development and construction industries. But there’s no question it’s good news for anyone connected to the commercial real estate industry — from engineers and builders to those involved in interior design, office furniture, property management and related industries.
Projects in the works throughout the region will be featured at InDevelopment, hosted by Insight Publications LLC. Based on the survey results from past years, the formerly all-day event will be delivered in a condensed format from 2 to 7 p.m. (registration opening at 2 p.m.) and opportunities to continue networking into the evening.
Developers from throughout the region will deliver short talks about projects in the works immediately following the keynote by Brooks, including:
» Elaine Willman, director of community development and tribal affairs for the Village of Hobart, who will discuss the planned $250 million Centennial Centre, which includes the creation of a walkable, mixed-use downtown, and Hobart Crossing, a $25 million planned luxury apartment development (see “Making a place”).
» Randy Stadtmueller and Renee Torzala of Stadtmueller and Associates, who will talk about progress on the Grand KaKalin project, a mixed-use development that could include a new public library, senior housing and commercial tenants at the historic, 88,000-square-foot Eagle Mill in Kaukauna, as well as plans for the Cedars at Kimberly, a redevelopment of the former NewPage paper mill site on the Fox River.
Economic development professionals from throughout Northeast Wisconsin will be present to share information about opportunities related to commercial projects under way in their communities.
Brooks, who has presented talks on economic trends statewide the past few years, including a recent one with Gov. Scott Walker, says the lower unemployment rate is contributing to optimism in the construction industry. However, with a skills gap in industries such as manufacturing (which cannot expand without enough skilled workers to meet production demands), the action is not yet as robust as it was coming out of past recessions, he adds.
“We would like to see an even bigger building boom, but we haven’t yet,” Brooks says. “It’s still not like the late ’90s, but in the last 12 months it’s been ‘sneaky’ good.”
» 2-7 p.m. Thursday, March 12
» Radisson Hotel & Conference Center, Green Bay
» Tickets: $35
» To register: www.insightonbusiness.com/indevelopment
Tuesday, Feb. 10: Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce Economic Outlook Breakfast, 7:15 a.m., Oshkosh Convention Center. Economist Brian Beaulieu will review what happened in 2014 and provide his economic outlook for 2015. Information and registration: oshkoshchamber.com.
Wednesday, Feb. 11: Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce Economic Outlook Breakfast, 7 to 9 a.m., Radisson Paper Valley Hotel, Appleton. John Thayer, executive vice president, chief investment officer, Associated Bank, will be the keynote. The results of the annual economic survey will also be released. Information and registration: foxcitieschamber.com.
Thursday, Feb. 12: Fond du Lac Association of Commerce annual meeting, 5:30 to 8 p.m., Holiday Inn, Fond du Lac. Highlights from the meeting include keynote addresses from AC leadership, as well as the recognition of the year’s Community Award winners and the Volunteer of the Year Award recipient. Information and registration: fdlac.com.
Monday, Feb. 16: The Northeast Wisconsin Chambers Coalition presents the 2015 Legislative Dialogue Breakfast, 7 a.m., Best Western Premier Bridgewood Resort Hotel, Neenah. U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and State Rep. John Nygren will speak. Information and registration: foxcitieschamber.com.
Tuesday, Feb. 24: Green Bay Chamber of Commerce Current young professional group Future 15 and Young Professional of the Year awards, 5 to 9 p.m., Hyatt on Main, Green Bay. Information and registration: titletown.org.
Thursday, Feb. 26: Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce Pulse young professionals group honors the Fox Cities Future 15 and awards the Young Professional of the Year, 6 to 10 p.m., Outer Edge Stage, Appleton. Registration and information: foxcitieschamber.com.