Economic Development

Type of Jurisdictions Involved

City
University

 

Specific Jurisdictions Involved

City of Whitewater,
Whitewater Community Development Authority,
University of Wisconsin Whitewater

 

County

Jefferson
Walworth

 

Region

Southeastern

 

Type of Agreement

Real Estate Development and Operations

 

Implementation and Incubation

The City of Whitewater and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater collaborated to build the 130 acre Whitewater University Technology Park.  In February 2011 the first building opened - a $5.7 million, 38,000 s.f. ($150/sf) Innovation Center.  Plans call for a total of 1 million square feet of space over 13 buildings (average 80,000 s.f. per building).  A Memorandum of Understanding between the City, the Whitewater Community Development Authority (CDA) and the UW-Whitewater is attached.  Covenants developed by the City on the land are in place.
 
The City of Whitewater owned the land for the park, spent $2.3 million on roads, sewer & water and another $2.9 million to extend a road to provide better access to the University.  A Feasibility Study was prepared in July 2008 by NorthStar Economics and MSA Professional Services.
 
A $4.7 million Federal grant from the Economic Development Administration helped defer much of the costs.  A Tax Increment Finance District #6 from the City of Whitewater helped to finance the remaining City expenses.
 
The Innovation Center includes a series of office suites and four wet labs.  The building currently has four tenants - Blackthorne Capital Management, which creates software for the financial markets has a three year lease and 10 employees - UW-Whitewater iHUB, which provides business support resources and services as well as space for collaboration - The Jefferson-Eastern Dane Interactive, is a distance education network and virtual charter school - and Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) #2 which assists public school districts in Wisconsin in providing educational opportunities for students, educational effectiveness and economic efficiency. 
 
Planners of the park sought input from officials at Madison's University Research Park which has 126 companies on 255 acres on Madison's west side.  A second 270 acre research park is being developed on the far west side of Madison.
 
The Whitewater Technology Park is attracting development to the City of Whitewater.  In July 2011, Simonswerk, a German company that makes heavy-duty hinges and hinge systems, opened its North American headquarters with 6 employees in an 8,000 s.f. building (.75 employees/1,000 s.f.) next to the technology park.  The company was attracted by the university and the technology park.
 
A second German company, Schenck AccuRate with 150 employees in 92,000 s.f. (1.6 employees/1,000 s.f.) also anticipates growth.  They make precision feeding and measuring systems for a cross section of industries including food, chemical, biofuel, plastics, cement and pharmaceuticals.
 

 

Factors Involved

Improved Services - the City of Whitewater is able to provide more effective economic development services and the UW-Whitewater is able to provide more educational and employment opportunities for its students and business/consulting opportunities and greater attraction/retention of university staff as the result of this collaboration.
 
Clear Fiscal Benefit - the collaboration resulted in the ability to attract a significant Federal grant which would not have been provided in the absence of the collaboration.
 
Trust - a history of joint initiatives between the University and City helped establish a trusting relationship between the two jurisdictions.
 
Leadership - leaders from the key sectors - civic, business and university - exhibited strong collaborative leadership traits including: assessing the environment, creating clarity, building trust, sharing power & influence, developing people, willing to take risks and optimism for the future.
 

 

Benefits

Increased tax base for the City
Increased employment opportunities for the residents
Greater opportunities to attract new employers to the region
Greater educational and employment opportunities for UW-Whitewater students
Business and consulting opportunities for UW-Whitewater staff
Increased ability to retain/attract top-notch professors/teachers at UW-Whitewater

 

Results

Whitewater Technology Park is being developed.  The first of 13 planned buildings are in place - the Whitewater Innovation Center with 4 business tenants.  Two companies were attracted to Whitewater with combined 156 employees as the result of this development.

 

Project Contact

Kevin Brunner, City Manager, City of Whitewater; kbrunner@ci.whitewater.wi.us; (262) 473-0500 x200

 

Contact

 
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