Helgesen News

Company bringing 90 jobs to Janesville
 
Walworth-based company to expand its operation
 
By Jim Leute
 
A Walworth-based maker of thermoplastic components will expand its operation to Janesville and add at least 90 jobs in the next three years.

Beginning May 1, Miniature Precision Components will lease 325,000 square feet at the Helgesen Industrial Center, 2929 Venture Drive.

Earlier this year, the city of Janesville authorized an agreement with the building’s owner, Helgesen Development Corp., for a forgivable loan of $1 for every foot of space that MPC leased. At the time, MPC was considering a lease of 225,000 square feet, and the city’s loan would therefore have been $225,000.

Since January, however, the company decided to lease an additional 100,000 square feet in the 700,000-square-foot building, said Jeff Helgesen, its owner.
 
The city now will make the $325,000 Tax Increment Finance district loan to Helgesen, who will guarantee that MPC creates 90 jobs in its first three years of operation in Janesville. If MPC misses any of its employment objectives, the company would reimburse Helgesen for any loan payments due. 
 
Helgesen said Sunday that the lease with MPC will be for 12 years.
 
MPC, a top supplier to the auto industry, has more than 1,400 employees, including 1,000 at Wisconsin facilities in Walworth, Delavan, Richland Center and Prairie du Chien. It also operates plants in Michigan, Arizona and Mexico.
 
In Janesville, MPC will expand its manufacturing and distribution capabilities. It expects to be fully functional within 24 months.

“MPC is committed to designing, producing and delivering complex, cost-effective solutions for an increasingly dynamic customer base,” said Dennis Konkol, president of the privately held company founded in 1972. “To accomplish these goals, MPC required a strategic and optimal distribution and production location.”

The Helgesen Industrial Center more than matched the company’s requirements, he said, also noting the city’s “excellent” labor pool.

Manufacturing salaries are expected to range from $12.57 to $17.30 per hour, and the company plans a three-year capital investment of more than $2 million.

With the addition of MPC, Helgesen said his building is essentially filled. It was once the home of several suppliers to the local General Motors plant, most recently LSI.

When Janesville’s auto industry and LSI vanished, Helgesen spent millions of dollars to renovate the huge facility. Since then, he has been marketing it aggressively.

In October, Helgesen signed a three-year lease with John Deere Central Consolidated for about 237,500 square feet in the Helgesen Industrial Center. Through a third party, John Deere also operates in a 500,000-square-foot building across Beloit Avenue from the Venture Drive property.

With the expansion into Helgesen’s building, John Deere occupies nearly 750,000 square feet of space in Janesville’s Beloit Avenue Industrial Corridor. Cummins Engine, Lowe’s Millwork and Freedom Graphics lease the remaining 140,000 square feet in the Helgesen Industrial Center as complements to their other operations in the area.

“This lease represents an important milestone for the area, as well as the real estate community,” said James Otterstein, Rock County’s economic development manager.

“During the last six months, approximately 850,000 square feet of vacant industrial/warehouse space has been leased or purchased.

“These recent projects, as well as those previously announced, demonstrate that the Janesville-Beloit economy is continually repositioning and revitalizing itself.”

Earlier this year, ANGI Energy Systems announced that it will vacate its plant at 15 Plumb St. in Milton and move to the 215,000-square-foot former Gilman plant at 305 W. Delavan Drive, Janesville.

ANGI plans to transfer all of its 115 employees to the new location, where it will expand operations and eventually create 25 new jobs.