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Council approves Milwaukee Tool grant that could bring more than 1K jobs to city

Milwaukee Tool Building
Posted at 10:38 AM, May 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-04 18:38:56-04

MILWAUKEE — In a unanimous decision made by the Milwaukee Common Council, the city has officially approved a $20 million financing plan to help manufacturing company Milwaukee Tool build its next corporate office downtown.

"It's a tremendous opportunity for the city and the region," said Tim Sheehy, president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.

"As one of the largest employers in Southeast Wisconsin, we are thrilled to expand our presence into the city of Milwaukee," said Ty Staviski, chief financial officer for Milwaukee Tool.

In the plan, the city has agreed to provide $20 million in tax subsidies for the $30 million project. The move is also is expected to bring more than 1,000 jobs to Milwaukee, along with having a major impact on the area.

"We are estimating that this will create about $935 million of economic impact annually just in Milwaukee county alone," said Milwaukee 7 president Jim Paetsch.

Officials project that Milwaukee Tool will book nearly 3,500 hotel rooms annually, plus spend about $1 million taking clients to dinner, and more than $100,000 on tickets to sporting events.

"We will have a strong ripple effect across the community," said Staviski.

In a development agreement made between the city and Milwaukee Tool, the company has also agreed to ensure service workers are paid a minimum wage of $15 an hour from their contractors. According to data software company Payscale, the average hourly rate for food service workers in Milwaukee is $11.97 an hour, janitorial service workers are $11.73 an hour and for a security officer, it's $13.28 an hour. But a push to provide even better wages plus job protection for union workers across the city still remains.

"The department of city development and the mayor's office has agreed to look at that for future projects, but not for this one," said Rich Kirchen, senior reporter for the Milwaukee Business Journal.

Milwaukee Tool officials add the next step for them is to close on a deal for the vacant building, and hope to have the company up and running by October.

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