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Plans Ramp Up For Oakwood Road Business Park

Mayor expects activity to begin in earnest this summer, saying the site has drawn a lot of interest thanks to its location.

Wispark's property at Drexel and Howell, where a new town center is planned, has gotten most of the buzz in 2013.

But the 220 vacant acres Wispark owns on Oakwood Road—slated for a business park—has also drawn a lot of interest, Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi said.

Scaffidi said he expects activity on the as-yet-to-be-created Oak View Business Park, just west of Howell Avenue, to pick up this summer. Wispark plans a mix of manufacturing, light industrial, office and service uses.

"We can't get that infrastructure in fast enough," Scaffidi said.

Scaffidi said the area's major benefit is its location, near both the freeway and airport. Chicago is just 80 miles to the south, as well.

It is also near a very-high-speed Internet terminal that lies by the railroad tracks. That has sparked interest from data centers and other businesses that need to quickly process data, Scaffidi said.

Nucor Cold Finish bases its national data center at its Oak Creek facility, 400 W. Burkhard Court, in large part because of the terminal. Scaffidi said other companies may also look to take advantage of the high-speed Internet at the new business park.

"We're going to tap into that for Oak View to try to find companies that are looking to do that," Scaffidi said.

Talks have been ongoing, though nothing is finalized. Sites between three and 25 acres are available for purchase.

Activity could begin in earnest in summer, about the same time as Drexel Town Square.

"You're going to see a lot of dump trucks, a lot of digging going on this summer," Scaffidi said.

Wispark, the development arm of We Energies, is obligated to invest $20 million in community projects as part of the agreement to build a power plant on Elm Road. The $20 million comes from We Energies shareholders, not rate-payers.

In addition to the business park and Drexel Town Square, to be constructed on the former Delphi property, Wispark is also redeveloping the Oak Creek lakefront. Plans call for a mix of residential, retail, commercial and public spaces.

vocal local 1 March 01, 2013 at 07:37 AM
Anyone know how much of the 20 million is left? Also, to write that the 20 million Wis Park contracted to spend on development in the city comes from their shareholders not the rate payers is misleading as the shareholder's earnings certainly come from the rate payers. Something sure seems ass backwards in the development of a warehouse district, possibly more chemical storage on virgin farmland. AND, doesn't Wis Park own more land adjacent on the Racine side of the border? Remember the land on the OC side was purchased from MMSD by the city in a very secretive process for considerably less than market value and re-sold on the same day to Wis Park for the same price. The city lost money and couldn't balance the books. This was/is a very questionable Bolendar/Franke Scheme in which the public lost money to a powerful public utility. Remember also that this deal was the cause of the city turning against a long term resident with plans to force sale under eminent domain. Plus, you and I don't get any property tax breaks when we buy undeveloped land. How is it that Wis Park is paying less taxes on over 200 acres of land zoned Agricultural than the farmer who actually farms his 23 acres encapsulated by Wis Park's holdings? Although Tif funding has been applied for by the city, the city has not received the tif money. I question if cut backs in federal funding to the states could leave the state tif fund short of funds to finance municipalities? READ THE CONTRACT. SPENDTHRIFTS.
All Business March 01, 2013 at 09:13 PM
I wish the city would try to work on filling all of the empty facilities around the city before all this talk about bringing in more small little businesses. What about the huge empty warehouses next to Yaskawa and Staples? (right across from this new development being discussed) Same with the retail talk--empty storefronts in most of our city's strip malls, some large facilities. Let's try to solve that problem, Mr. Mayor. It seems like we can attract business but can't retain it. I feel like that's a huge problem for our city's image.
Resident of O.C. Paul March 04, 2013 at 04:13 AM
Developing land with the attitude of "If you build it, they will come" is BAD BUSINESS.
oak creek resident March 21, 2013 at 06:37 PM
Most of the empty strip mall stores have just been built. It takes a while to fill them all. I'm glad that the city is finally letting WisPark get going on plans for the empty land. It's been sitting there for years. As far as some business buildings empty, you don't know what the owners are doing or planning. There is no city that does not have some vacant business buildings at the moment. Atleast Oak Creek officials are finally getting the gumption to move forward.

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