Note: This story has been updated at 3:09 p.m. to include comments from Waukesha
One of the biggest development questions hanging over Menomonee Falls was whether Kohl’s headquarters would stay in Falls and expand or grow elsewhere. Governor Scott Walker and Kohl's CEO Kevin Mansell on Thursday announced that the company won’t be going anywhere – and the state is going to help.
Walker said the state would provide $62.5 million in tax credits to support long-term growth at Kohl’s in an agreement forged between the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the national retailer. The number of tax credits received by Kohl’s will depend upon the number of jobs the company creates and its capital expenditures.
Kohl's plans to add 3,000 jobs to the area over the next decade. Kohl's operates 1,134 stores in 49 states, and was the 20th largest retailer in the country in 2011. More than 5,000 corporate employees work at the exisiting facility in Menomonee Falls.
“Strengthening Kohl’s headquarters is good news for Wisconsin,” stated Scott Walker in a news release Thursday. “Not only is this a significant number of jobs, but it also signals that Wisconsin’s economic climate is improving.”
The agreement has Kohl’s assuming roughly 100 acres of land reserved for it in the Woodland Prime office park. The Village Board park last year, and will invest up to $$23 million for infrastructure improvements on the site.
In exchange for building and land, the village will assume ownership of the company’s 530,000-square-foot former distribution center at N54W13901 Woodale Drive. That exchange is expected to close in fall. For up to three years after the exchange occurs, Kohl’s can elect to develop the property for incremental office space. After three years, Falls will assume control of the building and utilize a portion of it as a central location for public works and utilities.
Once Kohl’s builds its second campus in Falls, it will continue to operate its current headquarters on Ridgewood Drive and its credit center on Woodale Court.
“We have been proud to call Wisconsin home for the last 50 years and are pleased to be renewing our commitment to the state and to our communities, customers and associates by selecting this location in the place where it all started for us," said Kevin Mansell, Kohl's chief executive officer and president said in a release. "While it was always our preference to remain in Wisconsin, Kohl's took the needed time to study all of our options, including an assessment of developing a campus outside of the state of Wisconsin.
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Mansell said they will continue to provide information to the public on their plans as they are finalized. The company had received and .
It's been a two year process closed-door negotiations to keep the company in Falls. Village Manager Mark Fitzgerald has been at the forefront of the negotiations, and can finally say it's a done deal.
“We are thrilled to death. We've been working on this for over two years and it's wonderful for both Kohl's and the village to have done this.”
Waukesha County Supervisor Dan Vrakas issued a statement Thursday praising village leadership, and noting the company's significance in the area.
“I am grateful they (Kohl's) have decided to expand here and play an equally critical role in Waukesha County’s future," Vrakas said. "Growing our economy takes a team effort. I would like to thank the leadership of the Village of Menomonee Falls and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation for working so closely with the Kohl’s Corporation to ensure it will remain a Wisconsin-based company for years to come.”
The Village Board will meet in a special session at 7:30 a.m. Friday in Village Hall to solidify its agreements with the retailer. The meeting includes several real estate agreements and contracts hashed out in Aug. 2011.
The village would front $23 million for infrastructure improvements on the site, and provide $18 million in grants and incentives for the project. The village's investment would be paid back through the increased tax values from the development.