Company to add up to 30 new jobs
By Angie Landsverk
Presto Products Company is expanding its operations into Waupaca with the purchase of the former Affinia Brake Parks building in the city’s Business and Technology Park.
The company’s Weyauwega facility is at capacity and will continue operating as it currently is, according to Brad Hansen, president of Presto Specialty Group.
The expansion into Waupaca is expected to bring between 20 and 30 new jobs to the community, said Brennan Kane, the city’s development director.
“We’re definitely excited about this project and presenting this opportunity to you this morning,” Kane said during a special Thursday, Aug. 6 meeting of the Waupaca Common Council.
On that day, the council approved a development agreement with Presto, which has an incentive package not to exceed $250,000.
The vacant building at 1999 Royalton St. is in Tax Incremental Financing District No. 3, a district which is currently distressed.
Attorney Alan H. Marcuvitz, of Von Briesen & Ropier S.C., drafted the agreement.
The city will provide incentives to Presto after the company has been in operation for a few years in Waupaca and is paying additional tax revenues from the property to the TIF district.
When businesses within TIF districts increase the value of their property, the added tax revenues go to the TIF district to help pay for the city’s costs to develop the property or provide incentives to the company.
The financial incentives to Presto will begin in 2017.
The city’s projected annual payment to the company will be $34,033 through 2022, or a total of $204,200.
Those payments will be based on the assumption of a property value of $1.49 million.
The $250,000 total incentive will also include the city conveying the approximately 2 1/2-acre parcel at 1985 Royalton St., which is directly to the west, to Presto for further expansion. That land is valued at $45,800.
“I’m comfortable with what we have and going forward with this agreement,” Kathy Kasza, the city’s finance director, told the council.
When the city transfers the parcel to Presto, that non-taxed parcel will immediately go back on the tax roll, she said.
Hansen told the council the latest closing date on the former Affinia property will be Nov. 10.
“It will take about six months to prepare the building after the closing,” he said.
About three to six months later, the building will be ready for production, Hansen said.
Founded in the 1960s out a garage in the Appleton area, Presto has grown significantly in Appleton and Weyauwega, he said.
It is a division of the Reynolds Brands and employs between 130 and 140 hourly employees in Weyauwega, as well as additional summer help and college help there, Hansen said.
The specialty side of the business includes making slider locks.
Hansen described the company as innovative, and told the council Presto considered a number of other communities and facilities before choosing this site in Waupaca.
Rail service and proximity to the Weyauwega facility were important to Presto, he noted.
Initially, the development agreement between the city and Presto was to include funds for the construction of a railroad spur on city-owned land, with an easement to Presto to use the spur line.
Kane told the council the cost to install a dedicated side rail and spur track exceeds what the city or Presto can afford.
As a result, the city and Presto are working toward an alternative solution to use existing rail lines near the property, he said.
Hansen said the rail discussion is complicated and challenging.
The property to the west being conveyed to Presto by the city would be for that rail spur, and he said the company first needs to grow the business.
Kane began working with Presto in April, and Hansen said the company ultimately chose to expand in Waupaca because the community made Presto feel wanted and welcomed.
“We’re excited that you guys are coming here and filling a building that’s been empty a number of years,” Mayor Brian Smith said.
Two years ago, the city considered this property and one other in the city as a site for a Waupaca Public Works facility and sought estimates for converting both of them.
No further action was ever taken by the council.