Platteville council OKs land sale, as Cummins plans to open facility employing at least 200

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — A Fortune 500 company confirmed plans Tuesday to open a facility employing at least 200 people in Platteville as city leaders greenlighted a land sale so it can be constructed.

Cummins — an engine and power generator manufacturer headquartered in Columbus, Ind. — intends to operate a warehousing, light manufacturing and distribution facility in Platteville Industrial Park.

The $20 million undertaking is the largest project in the park’s history and comes as welcome news to Platteville city and economic leaders. On Tuesday, Platteville Common Council members unanimously approved the sale of the land where the facility will be built.

“We’re looking forward to working within the Platteville community and expanding our presence in southwestern Wisconsin,” Lawrence McCormack, director of state government relations for Cummins, told council members at their Tuesday meeting.

Indianapolis developer Scannell Properties will construct and lease the 342,000-square-foot facility, which will support a nearby Cummins manufacturing operation in Mineral Point, Wis.

“The work there continues to grow,” Cummins spokesman Jon Mills said. “We are building this facility to keep up with that growth and that demand.”

Cummins expects to employ 200 to 220 full-time personnel in Platteville, consisting of existing Cummins employees, contracted staff and new hires.

The company employs more than 1,300 workers across Wisconsin. Mills said he did not know how many new employees will be hired at the Platteville operation.

Construction of the building — located adjacent to Vision Drive and Eastside Road — is expected to begin in April and conclude in March 2022. Cummins will commit to leasing the premises from Scannell for 10 years.

The council consolidated five parcels in the industrial park into a nearly 21-acre lot for the sale.

A contract with Scannell Properties has yet to be finalized, but city staff expect the sale price to be $20.78, based on a formula that provides discounts for the value of land improvements and the number and pay of new jobs created.

The city previously invested about $1.3 million at the site, including grading and the establishment of road access and utility service.

That the land is virtually construction-ready improved the city’s selection prospects. Ela Kakde, executive director of Platteville Area Industrial Development Corp., previously told the Telegraph Herald that multiple locations were considered.

Mills said the company considered several factors but did not elaborate.

Platteville officials have said they hope the new project will increase the revenue generated by the tax increment finance district that encompasses the industrial park. The city must repay debts it incurred when preparing the entire complex for businesses.

Without the new development, the district was projected to require $1.4 million in support from the city’s general fund over the next seven years.

Council Member Ken Kilian called Cummins’ arrival a “good venture” and said he hopes the jobs it creates pay enough to enable workers to purchase or rent homes in the city.

He said he worries that Platteville lacks sufficient housing stock to accommodate a large influx of workers but remains optimistic that city leaders can work with Cummins to entice housing developers.

“Banks have money. Interest rates are low,” he said. “There is opportunity.”

Cummins’ presence extends well beyond the Midwest.

The company distributes products through more than 500 facilities and sells them in more than 7,600 dealer locations across 190 countries and territories.

Investor reports indicate that company revenues totaled $19.8 billion in 2020 — a 16% decline from the previous year, which Cummins officials attributed to disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. They forecast revenues to increase 8% to 12% in 2021.