West Bend, Wis. (May 7, 2020): The City of West Bend has received its first Idle Sites Redevelopment Program grant worth $500,000 from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). The program exists for Wisconsin communities to implement redevelopment plans for large commercial or industrial sites that have been idle, abandoned or underutilized for a period of at least five years. West Bend will use these funds to offset the costs of road infrastructure within TIF 12—specifically Forest Avenue—in conjunction with site redevelopment of the former 8-acre Gehl site.
“For more than a decade, the former Gehl site has been prepped for development and this grant will take us across the finish line,” said Economic Development Manager Adam Gitter. “This funding will help continue the positive momentum of our downtown as it grows and attracts new visitors.”
The City of West Bend acquired the property from Gehl Company (now Manitou Americas) in 2008 when it relocated its headquarters to a larger site two blocks east. Recognizing the potential for the site located in the heart of downtown West Bend, the City took on the responsibility of the remediation and demolition of the multiple buildings that were obsolete for future manufacturing. In 2019, the project site was divided into two sections to allow for multiple major developments. The northern portion will include a 68-room Marriott TownePlace extended stay hotel and 16,000-square-foot multi-tenant commercial office building. The southern portion will offer a multi-use entertainment venue and multi-family apartment structure. Site construction on the northern portion is currently in progress while negotiations are taking place for the southern portion.
“West Bend has a rich history in supporting development and varied industry,” said Mayor Christophe E. Jenkins. “I am proud to continue that tradition by supporting these efforts and our team. By redeveloping this large, vacant site, downtown West Bend will support new business, jobs and economic impact.”
“Downtowns are the heart of Wisconsin’s communities,” said WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes. “The City of West Bend has shown a great commitment to making its downtown a place where folks want to live, shop, and spend time. WEDC is pleased to invest in this community.”
Since April 2018, WEDC has identified the City of West Bend as a choice location for investments. WEDC has awarded a total of $900,000 in grants to the City, including:
- $150,000 Site Assessment Grant
- $250,000 Community Development Investment Grant (CDI)
- $500,000 Idle Sites Grant
About the City of West Bend
West Bend is 30 minutes north of Milwaukee in Washington County—an industrial hub situated along the Milwaukee River in the heart of the Kettle Moraine. More than 32,000 people reside in the city and have access to numerous cultural and historical attractions, award-winning parks, quality healthcare, and exceptional educational opportunities. West Bend has a charming historic downtown with thriving businesses, shops, and restaurants, and several business and industrial parks poised for growth. For more information, visit www.ci.west-bend.wi.us.
About the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) leads economic development efforts for the state by advancing and maximizing opportunities in Wisconsin for businesses, communities and people to thrive in a globally competitive environment. Working with more than 600 regional and local partners, WEDC develops and delivers solutions representative of a highly responsive and coordinated economic development network. Visit wedc.org or follow WEDC on Twitter @WEDCNews to learn more.