For more than a year, Mike Koch searched for the right spot to expand his business.
“I looked at everything,” said the owner of Spine and Sport Physical Therapy.
He considered existing buildings, downtown locations and vacant property.
“I exhausted lots of different options,” Koch said.
In the end, he decided to build.
Last month, the Common Council accepted his offer of $18,000 to purchase one acre of land in the city’s Business & Technology Park, between ABC Computers and Sunny Day Child Care.
He hopes to close on the property by the end of the month.
This May, construction will begin on the 4,000-square-foot, $250,000 building. Construction is expected to take about two months.
Koch worked with City Administrator Henry Veleker for over a year to find a location for the expansion of his business.
The one-acre parcel Koch is purchasing from the city is part of a three-acre parcel Donavan Lane, owner of ABC Computers, has right of first refusal on, so Veleker contacted Lane the day after the council’s vote. By the end of that day, Lane told Veleker he was not interested in exercising his right of first refusal.
The property is in the city’s Tax Incremental Financing District No. 8.
The city’s selling price in that park is $30,000 per acre but negotiable, based on the project, Veleker said in a memo to the Common Council about Koch’s offer.
In that same memo, Veleker said that if the council accepted the $18,000 offer, it would in effect amount to a $12,000 subsidy or about 5 percent of the project’s development cost.
Veleker told the council the city has given subsidies of up to 10 percent for other projects. “This is a smaller project,” he said.
The council’s acceptance of Koch’s offer included City Attorney John Hart’s recommendation that a development agreement be incorporated, since the city gave an up-front discount on the land price.
Veleker said the project will generate about $7,000 in annual tax revenue.
Koch said that as a small-business owner, “I could not (afford to) build anywhere else in town.”
He said the city made it economical for him to do so.
With 20 years experience as a physical therapist, he has worked in Waupaca for close to nine years.
He started Spine and Sport Physical Therapy in May 2008.
Right now, the business is located on Churchill Street, in a 1,600-square-foot space that he shares with his wife, Robin, who has a law firm.
They will also share space in their new building.
In addition to Koch, one other physical therapist is currently employed and two office staff. Plans call for the hiring of one full-time physical therapist. one part-time physical therapist and one full-time office staff.
During Spine and Sport Physical Therapy’s almost four years in Waupaca, the business has experienced growth each year.
In 2011, it had about 6,000 patient visits. The business averages between 50 and 60 new patients per month.
In the new space, Koch will have five treatment rooms, allowing him the ability to have more student interns and to also consider adding massage therapy and alternative medicine.
“I will have a bigger gym space,” he said.
Koch has already done classes with high school athletes and wants to do more.
In addition, he will have a dedicated physical therapy space for employees of Thyssen-Krupp Waupaca, where they will do such things as lift castings during their rehab.
Koch is in the foundry at least twice a week to understand the jobs people do there so that he can provide the proper rehab for them.
The story of his business also includes working with the Waupaca County Economic Development Corporation.
Koch said the low-interest loan he received from the corporation helped him succeed.