UP FRONT: Regional roundup – April 2013

Posted on Apr 2, 2013 :: Up Front
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

Highway 41 Corridor

Brown, Calumet, Outagamie, Winnebago, Fond du Lac Counties

Developer proposes downtown Green Bay apartment complex

Downtown Green Bay may soon be home to a seven-story residential building.

T. Wall Enterprises of Madison got the go-ahead from the Green Bay Redevelopment Authority to take a closer look at building a project worth up to $10 million at the corner of North Washington and Main streets. The complex would include 84 market-rate apartments, 7,000-square-feet of first floor rental space and two levels of indoor parking.

T. Wall Enterprises also has a planning option at a site just north of West Mason Street on the west bank of the Fox River.


Austin Straubel project moves forward

An effort to bring a Federal Inspection Station (FIS) to Austin Straubel International Airport in Green Bay is gaining momentum.

More than 1,300 letters of support for the project, which includes building a new 20,000-square-foot facility at the airport large enough to accommodate international commercial air traffic, have been presented to U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble, who will share them with U.S. Customs & Border Protection and the Federal Aviation Administration when discussing the facility.

Funding for the facility is available through the FAA, Ribble says.

“However, you aren’t just handed the funds; you have to make your case, show there’s support, as well as convince customs to staff it to clear international charter arrivals,” he says.

Letters of support came from individuals, businesses and organizations, along with airlines and tour operators. The State of Wisconsin and Brown County have already authorized spending $175,000 each to develop the FIS plans. Before construction can begin, U.S. Customs must commit to staffing the facility.

If the FIS is added to the airport, the county estimates 46 new jobs in the airline and tourism industries will be created and the center will have an annual estimated economic impact of $2.5 million.


Thrivent assets increase to $82 billion

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans’ assets under management grew 8.4 percent to $82.2 billion in 2012.

The company credited its growth to strong sales to existing members in its core business, including life, health or short-term disability insurance and annuities.

Growth for the Minneapolis-based fraternal benefits society continued a four-year streak despite a membership base that now totals about 2.5 million, down from just under 3 million in 2002 when Aid Association for Lutherans in Appleton and Lutheran Brotherhood merged to form Thrivent.


FVTC wins national grant

Fox Valley Technical College is one of four community colleges nationwide to receive a $10,000 grant through the Shared Vision for Small Business grant competition conducted by the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship and Sam’s Club.

FVTC earned the grant to promote and deliver the Small Business Design, Plan and Grow Program, an experiential learning program that includes a three-day, 24-hour Business Model Generation Workshop and an eight-week, 24-hour E-seed Express Entrepreneurship Training Series, one-on-one coaching and networking.

West Central

Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara, Marquette, Green Lake Counties

Design plans for new Shawano hospital move ahead

High-level design work is under way for the new ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano facility being built to replace the 81-year-old Shawano Medical Center.

With recent project approvals from ThedaCare system leadership, the project architect has begun developing a site plan that outlines the locations of the current ThedaCare Physicians-Shawano clinic, the location and footprint of the new hospital, roads and parking. This site plan will be released to the public later this month.

ThedaCare and Shawano Medical Center affiliated in 2011 and building a replacement for the aging hospital was included as part of the agreement. The Boldt Co. of Appleton was named general contractor and construction manager. HGA Architects and Engineers of Milwaukee is the project architect.

The cost of the entire project will not exceed $50 million. Ground-breaking for the new medical center is expected in late June with a grand opening slated for the fall of 2014.

The Northwoods

Florence, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto Counties

NWTC, school districts win training award

A partnership between Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and three area school districts received a statewide award to improve educational and career offerings in smaller communities.

The Northwood Regional Learning Collaborative Partnership is a cooperative effort among the school districts of Crivitz, Beecher-Dunbar-Pembine and Wausaukee, and NWTC’s Central Regional Learning Center in Crivitz to provide dual credit opportunities to students at the three high schools.

By using flexible scheduling and cooperation among the institutions, high school juniors and seniors have access to technical college classes in welding, nursing, automotive and engineering. The collaboration made it possible to offer advanced coursework in individual high schools, something that would not have occurred otherwise due to a lack of student numbers and funding. Classes are taught in Wausaukee with NWTC equipment and staff members.

Students are certified and career-ready upon high school graduation, moving into technical skill jobs in their local communities.


American Transmission Co. changes Bay Lake Project

American Transmission Co. is modifying the scope of its Bay Lake Project – a proposed collection of transmission lines and substations to enhance reliability in northeastern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

ATC is deferring work on the proposed 345-kilovolt line between the Morgan Substation in Oconto County and the Plains Substation near Quinnesec, Mich. MISO, a regional operator, is undertaking a Northern Area Study to review long-range transmission needs in Manitoba, Canada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.

No changes have been made to the proposal between the Green Bay area and the Morgan Substation.


Navy orders two more ships from Marinette Marine

The U.S. Navy is giving defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. $696.6 million to build two additional littoral combat ships at the Marinette Marine shipyard.

The ships will be built with fiscal 2013 funding and will be finished by the summer of 2018. These two ships are part of Lockheed’s 2010 contract to build 10 warships in Marinette.

Marinette Marine employs 1,400 workers.

The Lakeshore

Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan Counties

Acuity hits major revenue mark

Sheboygan insurer Acuity has reached the $1 billon revenue mark.

The company has also quadrupled its annual written premium revenue since the beginning of 1999 and averaged a double-digit growth rate over the past 14 years despite difficult market conditions.

Company President and CEO Ben Salzmann says the insurer’s continued growth is significant to its employees, independent agencies and the communities in which it does business.

“As we grow, we can hire more people, and the people who are already on our staff find more opportunities for growth and advancement,” he says. “Being a $1 billion company also increases our capacity to help people. We can insure more individuals, families and businesses, and we can contribute more to the communities in which we operate.”


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