POSTED ON DECEMBER 17th, 2009
Redevelopment Authority completes acquisition of former AO Smith/Tower Automotive property
The sale of the former AO Smith/Tower Automotive manufacturing complex to the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee has been completed. The property was conveyed for $3.5 million to RACM by Milwaukee Industrial Trade Center, Inc., which purchased it in October 2006. Manufacturing at the site ended in spring 2006, following Tower Automotive’s bankruptcy filing a year earlier.
The 84-acre property, located within the 30th Street Industrial Corridor, is bounded generally by W. Capitol Drive, W. Keefe Avenue, N. 35th Street, and N. 27th Street. Recognizing that redevelopment will transform the site, constructed in 1910, to meet the demands of 21st employers, the project has been dubbed “Century City,” a name coined by 7th district Alderman Willie C. Wade.
"The Redevelopment Authority’s acquisition of the former AO Smith/Tower Automotive property is a significant first step in a lengthy and challenging redevelopment project," said Mayor Tom Barrett. "Our goal is to design the Century City business park as an economic anchor in the 30th Street Industrial Corridor, returning jobs and opportunity to Milwaukee's central city. We are eager to get to work."
Now that the sale transaction is complete, the Department of City Development will begin work to transform the collection of vacant buildings into a modern business park, complemented by residential and retail uses. The initial work plan calls for detailed environmental investigation and an overall analysis of site conditions, followed by environmental remediation, selective building demolition, and installation of infrastructure required to support contemporary business uses.
Cost of the project is estimated at $35.4 million. The City of Milwaukee has created a $15 million tax increment district and committed $10 million from the City’s capital budget to fund activity at the site. Remaining funds will be secured from a variety of State and federal sources.
DCD Commissioner Rocky Marcoux projected that property would be available for sale to employers by 2013. “Job creation and blight elimination are the bottom lines for this project,” Marcoux said. “This site was the source of quality jobs for nearby residents for many years, and it’s our goal to replace between 700 and 1000 of those jobs at this property. We believe Century City will be a positive focal point for the community and a source of pride for the surrounding neighborhoods.”
Century City will be the second City of Milwaukee development on the former Tower property. In 2006, the Department of Public Works moved into a new facility on 24 acres at the site.