Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett today announced a plan to assist Direct Supply, Inc. in an $85 million expansion of its company headquarters on the city’s northwest side. The project is expected to create 1,000 to 1,500 new jobs over the next ten years. Mayor Barrett made the announcement at a news conference with Governor Jim Doyle and Direct Supply, Inc. CEO/President Bob Hillis.
“From day one I have always engaged in aggressive business outreach to identify opportunities to grow our economy and to address barriers to success,” said Mayor Barrett. “Direct Supply, Inc. is a fast-growing, employee-owned company that believes in Milwaukee’s appeal as a place to do business and attract talent. When CEO Bob Hillis said the company wanted to expand but faced some challenges, we got to work in order to put more Milwaukeeans to work.”
Direct Supply, Inc. plans to grow its campus at 6767 N. Industrial Road and to expand to adjacent properties in the Lakeland Industrial Park, creating an improved, hi-tech campus. The complex currently houses 650 employees. Under the expansion plan, more than 500,000 square feet of new office space will be added to house 1,500 new employees over ten years. Nine separate buildings on the company’s campus will be linked by new multi-story additions. According to the company’s comprehensive plan, the expansion increases the capacity of the company to add up 2,500 employees over 20 years.
Mayor Barrett said under the proposal, the city would assist the Direct Supply, Inc. expansion project through the creation of a developer-financed TID that, according to early estimates, could range between $10-15 million over ten years. The proposal is subject to approval by the Redevelopment Authority and the Common Council.
"Direct Supply is a great partner in our work to increase the safety and vitality of the neighborhood," said Alderman Robert Puente, whose district includes the company's headquarters. "We're thrilled to welcome additional jobs to the area and believe the company's plans to expand will further strengthen its impact on the local economy."
In partnership with the State of Wisconsin, Mayor Barrett joined Governor Jim Doyle in also announcing assistance from the Department of Commerce in the form of up to $6 million in Enterprise Development Zone tax credits for the next 1,000 family-supporting, full-time jobs created by Direct Supply, Inc.
“We are deeply grateful to both the City of Milwaukee and the State of Wisconsin for helping us keep our expansion here where we can continue our 21 year history of creating great new jobs,” said Bob Hillis, Direct Supply President and CEO."
Direct Supply is a privately held, employee-owned company started in 1985. Through its Direct Supply Equipment division, the company is the largest supplier of equipment for nursing homes, assisted living centers and retirement communities in the U.S. It also operates the largest supply chain network for those customers through its DSSI division. The company is a major employer of graduates from the Milwaukee School of Engineering, Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin System.