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Annual Market Analysis Product of Collaboration
Commonweal Development Corporation partnered with the City of Eau Claire Economic Development Division and Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corporation to add Industrial Vacancy information to it's annual market analysis report.
The addition of industrial properties for the first time showed that Eau Claire's industrial market is well-below the national average for vacancy at 1.85%. For the last 10 years this report has focused on commercial real estate, particularly in retail and office sectors, and has provided consistent and quality information on the Eau Claire market. We are pleased to be a part of this new effort to provide new and comprehensive information on this important sector in Eau Claire.
WTC: State Health-Care Rankings Deserve Touting
According to the Wisconsin Technology Council, "Wisconsin’s consistently strong rankings for quality health care are a tangible marketing asset in the state-to-state competition to attract and retain companies and workers.Creative employer and health-care partnerships are saving money and improving outcomes for workers, often by emphasizing preventive care and addressing health problems before they become more serious.
Those are some of the leading conclusions in 'Taking the Pulse: How Quality Health Care Builds a Better Bottom Line,' a report issued by the Wisconsin Technology Council."
For more information, see their Press Release here.
Wisconsin Arts Board in Eau Claire Events
The Wisconsin Arts Board is hosting a Town Meeting and a Professional Development Workshop in Eau Claire on Monday, December 11, 2017! All events at Volume One and The Local Store, 205 N Dewey St, Eau Claire.
From 10:30am-3:30pm, a workshop for Artrepreneurs - Planning for Artists. Cost is $30.
From 4:00pm-6:00pm, a Town Meeting to discuss WAB's FY19-21 Strategic Plan!
See their press release for more!
Employer Assisted Housing Resources
On October 13, a Workforce Housing Seminar was held to discuss opportunities for employers to help improve employee productivity, retention, and health. It was hosted by the Realtors Association of Northwest Wisconsin and the INVEST Health Initiative at the Clarion Hotel. It featured a presentation by Wayne Hanson of the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund.
Quality and affordable housing for today’s workforce is a crucial component to economiccompetitiveness for employers. Employers vested in workforce housing can provide uniqueopportunities to help employees secure affordable housing close to work, become homeowners,and contribute to the local economy.
Here are links to the slide presentation and a Resource Guide prepared by the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund. For more information, please contact Bruce King with the Realtors Association at email@example.com.
Cost of Living Index for Third Quarter 2017 Released
The results are in for the third quarter of 2017's Cost of Living Index. According to The Council for Community and Economic Research, the Cost of Living Index measures relative price levels for consumer goods and services in participating areas. The average for all participating places, both metropolitan and nonmetropolitan, equals 100, and each participant's index is read as a percentage of the average for all places. The categories the Index measures are grocery items, housing, utilities, transporation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services.
The Eau Claire Metro ranks third of the six participating areas within the State of Wisconsin, with a composite index of 93.3% the national average. Comparatively, Madison's Metro was rated at 106.4%, Milwaukee's at 96.9%, and Fond du Lac at 95.0%. Wisconsin Rapids-Marshfield rated lowest of the six participating regions of Wisconsin at 90.0%. Among the individual categories, Eau Claire ranked the lowest compared to the rest of the state participants in the cost for housing category.
The third quarter prices were collected in July. The next data collection will occur in January for the first quarter of 2018. For more information on the index, please contact Ray French, Business Assistance Specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Economic Development Week is May 8-13, 2017
Eau Claire is celebrating the work of the economic development profession with the 2nd annual Economic Development Week, May 8-13, 2017.
Economic Development Week was created by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) in 2016 with the goal of increasing awareness for local programs that create jobs, advance career development opportunities, and increase the quality of life. It is being held during the week of IEDC’s 91st anniversary as the largest professional membership organization for economic developers.
Economic developers are charged with generating economic growth, creating better jobs for residents, and facilitating an improved quality of life. The economic development efforts provided by economic developers are being showcased this week nationally. The City ofEau Claire and Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corporation are helping to celebrate the profession and the professionals that work hard to create opportunity for all citizens and their communities.
A series of events are planned this week. Eau Claire City Council President Kerry Kincaid will issue a proclamation on Tuesday, May 9 declaring it Economic Development Week in the City. The City Council meeting is at 4 p.m. The Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corporation is hosting an Economic Development Week reception sponsored by Xcel Energy. The reception is Thursday, May 11 from 4:00pm-6:00pm at the Chippewa Valley Innovation Center, 3132 Louis Avenue. A presentation starts at 5 p.m.
See http://www.eauclaire-wi.com/EDW2017/ for a complete schedule of events!
Regional Business Fund Discontinues Lending in the City of Eau Claire
The Regional Business Fund (RBF) discontinued lending within the City of Eau Claire beginning March 1, 2017. Since joining the RBF in 2009, over $1.5 million was lent to businesses in the City, leveraging over $9.7 million in private funds, and creating over 200 jobs.
See the press release here.
National Survey Reports Eau Claire's Low Cost of Living in 2016
EAU CLAIRE, WI – Eau Claire has an overall cost of living of 95.0 for 2016, according to the report released by the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER). Published since 1968, the Cost of Living Index has been the most consistent source of city-to-city cost comparisons available. The national average equals 100 and each participant’s index is a percentage of the average for all places.
Prices of consumer goods and services are collected by Eau Claire’s Economic Development Division three times a year in order to measure regional differences. The composite index is based on six components – housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services. Eau Claire’s composite index improved its relative position from 97.0 to 95.0 over the past year.
While everyday living expenses in Eau Claire fall well below the national average, they are also some of the lowest of the six Wisconsin metro areas participating in the survey. Among the individual categories, Eau Claire ranks particularly well nationally and compared to the other Wisconsin metro areas in the Housing, Utilities, and Grocery Items categories. See the Press Release for comparative data to other Wisconsin metro areas.
The full report is also available upon request.
Eau Claire Community Tour Videos Now Available
Following several months of planning and filming, a series of community tour videos are now available featuring the City of Eau Claire. The videos focus on many of the aspects that make Eau Claire a unique and exciting place to be, including videos highlighting our quality of life, educational opportunities, neighborhoods, shopping and dining, recreational opportunities, arts, Downtown, healthcare facilities, and booming music scene.
City of Eau Claire Economic Development staff worked with CGI Communications of Rochester, New York to produce the videos.
Cost of Living Index for Third Quarter 2016 Released
The results are in for the third quarter of 2016's Cost of Living Index. According to The Council for Community and Economic Research, the Cost of Living Index measures relative price levels for consumer goods and services in participating areas. The average for all participating places, both metropolitan and nonmetropolitan, equals 100, and each participant's index is read as a percentage of the average for all places. The categories the Index measures are grocery items, housing, utilities, transporation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services.
The Eau Claire Metro ranks fourth of the six participating areas within the State of Wisconsin, with a composite index of 95.3% the national average. Comparatively, Madison's Metro was rated at 108.1%, Milwaukee's at 99.4%, and Fond du Lac at 94.5%. Green Bay rated lowest of the six participating regions of Wisconsin at 90.3%. Among the individual categories, Eau Claire ranked the lowest compared to the rest of the state participants in the cost for housing category.
The third quarter prices were collected in July. The next data collection will occur in January for the first quarter of 2017. For more information on the index, please contact Ray French, Business Assistance Specialist, at email@example.com.
Cost of Living Index for Second Quarter 2016 Released
The results are in for the second quarter of 2016's Cost of Living Index. According to The Council for Community and Economic Research, the Cost of Living Index measures relative price levels for consumer goods and services in participating areas. The average for all participating places, both metropolitan and nonmetropolitan, equals 100, and each participant's index is read as a percentage of the average for all places. The categories the Index measures are grocery items, housing, utilities, transporation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services.
The Eau Claire Metro ranks third of the five participating areas within the State of Wisconsin, with a composite index of 93% the national average. Comparatively, Madison's Metro was rated at 104.4%, Green Bay's Metro at 91.7%, and Fond du Lac's Metro at 96.3%. The Milwaukee Metro does not particpate. Wisconsin Rapids-Marshfield's Micropolitan Area rated lowest at 90.3%. Among the individual categories, Eau Claire ranked the lowest compared to the rest of the state participants in cost for utilities category.
The second quarter prices were collected in April. The third quarter prices were collected in July and should be available in early November. Prices are collected for the first, second, and third quarters of a given year. For more information on the index, please contact Ray French, Business Assistance Specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eau Claire ranks as one of 50 Best Small College Towns in United States
Eau Claire made the list! The College Values Online has listed 50 best small college towns in United States, and Eau Claire ranks #8 based on the ranking methodology such as cost of living, unemployment rate, crime rate and wow factor. The College Values Online explains Eau Claire's downtown life is equally active, and the city is home to one of the best university jazz programs in the United States. To find out more and to see what other small college towns made this list, click the link here.
Eau Claire made it in the Top 10 of Wisconsin's Most Underrated Towns
Eau Claire made it in the top 10 of Wisconsin's underrated towns! The Bobber explains that beautiful rivers, wonderful music and one-of-a-kind attractions are just part of what makes the city of Eau Claire so amazing. The city is also full of interesting trivia. Want to know what is the trivia? Follow this link to check it out, and to see why we were included!
Results for the Cannery Redevelopment Visioning Session
The Redevelopment Authority hosted a community event in January where community members were asked to give input for future plans on the Cannery Redevelopemnt District along the west side of the Chippewa River. To view the the results of the straw poll taken at the session, click here.
RDA Hosts Community Visioning Session for Cannery Redevelopment District
On January 21, 2016 the City of Eau Claire's Redevelopment Authority hosted a community visioning session for the Cannery Redevelopment District. Community members and local businesses were asked to give input for future plans for the Phase II along the west side of the Chippewa River. Ayres Associates presented on the Phase I for the public space which included parks, trail, outlook areas and recreational areas. To view the PowerPoint presentation, follow thislink.
Eau Claire ranks as one of 6 destinations to visit in 2016!
Eau Claire is a great place to live and visit according to the Journal Sentinel! The journal explains Eau Claire as having a "small-town charm with big-city amenities, outdoor recreation and natural beauty, a thriving arts scene." Eau Claire's rivers and bike trails were also featured as great amenities for those who live and visit to enjoy. To find out more and to see what other cities made this list, click the link here.
Eau Claire, WI, Named the Seventh Most Diverse City in the U.S.
Charlotte, NC (November 10, 2015) – HomeInsurance.com, a consumer-centric insurance marketplace, recently conducted a study to find the country's most ethnically diverse cities – just in time for Thanksgiving, the melting pot of holidays. Eau Claire, WI, tied for No. 7 with Torrington, CT; Minneapolis, MN; Fort Collins, CO; and Bremerton, WA.
To find the most diverse cities, analysts with HomeInsurance.com pored over U.S. Census Bureau statistics that include the number of residents in metropolitan and micropolitan areas self-identifying themselves as being of multiple ancestries. Researchers also looked at the different mixes in each city.
Eau Claire holds the seventh spot by virtue of 41% of residents reporting multiple ancestries. About 27% reported being of German descent.
The full report can be viewed here.
Eau Claire ranks 47 among 50 other cities for Best Cities to Live!
247WallSt.com reports that only 4.5% of the workforce in Eau Claire, Wisconsin is unemployed, one of the lowest rates among American cities. Of those commuting to work, the average travel time is less than 17 minutes, a significantly faster commute time than in most cities across the country. Eau Claire also has about 25 fitness and recreational sports centers, four libraries, and another four movie theatres per 100,000 people.
Read more here.
Downtown Eau Claire Featured in the Chippewa Valley Business Report: "There?s a flock of phoenixes rising!"
Cranes dominate the skyline as the entire downtown epitomizes the eponymous Phoenix of its riverside park, rising high again.
Bob McCoy, CEO/president of the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce says the two catalysts in rejuvenation were Royal Credit Union building its corporate headquarters downtown and the city developing the adjacent Phoenix Park. “Just after that, the Chamber built their new building,” McCoy said. “Following that, there was a concerted effort to revitalize downtown, and North Barstow is a result of what you see today. Now the forces are working on the south Barstow area and trying to develop that as well.”
“The Confluence Project, the Lismore Hotel, the refurbishing of the Green Tree Hotel and additional housing projects continue the major transformation of downtown into the future. The city is also working on a new transit center which will enhance the downtown,” McCoy said.
After Uniroyal Tire closed Jack Kaiser and Bill and Patti Cigan purchased the building and it is now a very successful large incubator known as Banbury Place.
Zach Halmstad of JAMF Software, who located downtown and grew his company to 200 employees. He built a $10 million office building right next to RCU. He also bought the old Ramada Hotel and is redeveloping that into the Lismore Hotel.
Nick Meyer, the editor, owner, and publisher of Volume One magazine, put a high shine on his headquarters and store. The building dates back to the early 1880s. “From my downtown office, I can see four large-scale construction projects happening right now — that’s never happened before," Meyer said.
The business owners are playing a key part in the redevelopment. Tax money from the business improvement districts is being used to improve areas, with a board of directors elected by the property owners deciding how the money is spent.
"The North Barstow bid put in $110,000 to help on the fourth floor of the new parking garage. Others put in flowers, watering systems for shrubs, brick pavers, fancier light poles and trash receptacles, things that they think are needed in their area,” Mike Schatz, the city’s economic development director, said. “Downtown EC, Inc. gives council recommendation on things like parking, cleanliness, and putting on special events to bring people downtown to put them in front of businesses, suggesting the kind of amenities you need to attract talented people to our downtown.”
UW-Eau Claire has also partnered with private developers to expand into the confluence area of downtown, Schatz pointed out. The Haymarket Landing building will offer student housing atop an initial floor of commercial enterprises and is scheduled to open in the summer of 2016. The university is also partnering with other arts organizations for a new performing arts center.
“There are cranes everywhere this year and many more projects in the pipeline,” Schatz said. “The momentum is there and is going to continue. All those years of hard work and now it’s just rolling.”
Read more here.
Eau Claire Voted #8 out of 50 for Best Small College Town
Eau Claire was named the 8th Best Small College Town in America! The towns were ranked on a point system in terms of their cost of living, unemployment rate, crime rate and that special "WOW" factor. Nearly 100 small college towns were evaluated and Eau Claire is near the top once again! For more information and to see what other small college towns made the list, follow the link here.
Eau Claire Named #4 for 2015 Best Towns!
In 2015, Outsideonline.com conducted a competitiong to find the 16 best places to live in America and Eau Claire made the list! Eau Claire comes in at the 4th best town to live in, in 2015. To read more and see the other finalists, click here.
2014 Cost of Living Index Annual Average
Each quarter the City of Eau Claire's Economic Development Division conducts the Cost of Living Index report. We have the results for the 2014 Annual Average and we are proud to announce that the Eau Claire Metro area has the lowest cost of living index of the metro areas in the State! Eau Claire's Cost of Living Index for 2014 was 93.3. Comparatively, Madison's Metro area had a cost of living index of 107 and Green Bay's Metro area had a cost of living of index of 93.5.
Eau Claire Healthy Communities Presents the BE Fit Forum
Taking place November 11th, 2014, from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., is the BE Fit Forum. The purpose of the event is to network stakeholders and encourage open dialogue while looking at effective strategies to outfit the Built Environment (BE) for the health of all in Eau Claire and the Chippewa Valley. The event will highlight how important it is to work together to build homes, workplaces, developments, neighborhoods, and cities that are supportive of good human health. Since so much time is spent in these places, it reasons to be a significant stage where healthy communities and real economic prosperity are either created or not.
Free registration is available to attend the Forum, which will be hosted at the Mayo Clinic Health System - Eau Claire on Tuesday, November 11, 2014.
For more information on the featured speakers or to register and review the program details click here.
For agenda details, click here.
Groundbreaking for Haymarket Landing
The groundbreaking for the Haymarket Landing will be held on Tuesday, November 11, 2014 at 1:30pm on the corner of Graham Avenue and Eau Claire Street! Please join and spread the word!
Participate in the Comprehensive Downtown Parking Study Survey
Carl Walker Inc. is currently completing a Comprehensive Downtown Parking Study for the City of Eau Claire. As a part of the study, they are asking for input on the downtown parking experience. If you travel downtown daily, weekly, monthly, or annually, your feedback on parking is important. This short on-line survey is available now through November 16, 2014. The survey is in a multiple choice format and asks questions such as:
The link to the Comprehensive Downtown Parking Study Survey is: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/EauClaire_WI
The parking survey is set up to allow one survey response per computer IP address. If other family members or friends would like to complete the parking survey but don’t have an additional computer for access, they can visit the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library at 400 Eau Claire Street or the City Public Works Department at 203 S. Farwell Street to fill out a paper copy of the parking survey.
As the City looks to improve parking in the downtown area, it is vital to take the citizens, business owners, employees, and all downtown visitors into consideration. Please use this chance to tell us how you feel about parking downtown. Any questions regarding the parking survey can be directed to Leah Ness at 715-839-4934. The survey results will be incorporated into the Comprehensive Downtown Parking Study, which will be completed in December 2014.
Clean Energy Manufacturing Revolving Loan Fund Available
Promoting Clean Energy Advancements in Wisconsin
Wisconsin’s Clean Energy Manufacturing Revolving Loan Fund (CERLF), a program jointly managed by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA), makes low interest financing available to companies to invest in energy efficiency and waste reduction projects.
Private sector businesses are eligible for low interest loans up to $1,000,000 from the CERLF for projects that fulfill any of the following objectives:
Other cost-effective energy reduction or clean energy projects will also be considered for funding through the $7 million CERLF fund.
All applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. December 8, 2014. For more information on eligibility requirements and how to submit an application, visit the WEDC's website here.
City Council Tours JAMF Software
On October 27, 2014, Eau Claire City Council members had the opportunity to tour the newly constructed JAMF Software corporate headquarters. Located in the heart of downtown, JAMF Software sits intermediate to RCU's corporate office and the newly built apartments in Phoenix Park. The tour was conducted by JAMF Software's Project Specialist Julia Johnson and Chief Technology Officer Jason Wudi. The tour began on the fourth floor which consisted of office space, conference rooms and a common area where staff can congregate for discussion, relaxation or to just work away from their desk. Throughout the tour down to the first floor, the walls provided a unique look at art crafted by Chippewa Valley artists that were purchased by JAMF Software. City Council members had the opportunity to ask questions and learn about the logistics of JAMF Software, their start-up process and their future plans. Pictured to the right are City Council members on the first floor which is still being constructed. The first floor will serve as a co-working space for groups or individuals looking to rent office space. For your own look at the new building and local art, join JAMF Software for an Open House and Arts Celebration from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 1, 2014 at 215 Riverfront Terrace.
Dynamic Fabrication and Finishing to Add 75 New Jobs in Eau Claire
For Immediate Release Contact: Mark Maley, 608-210-6767
Dynamic Fabrication and Finishing to Add 75 New Jobs in Eau Claire
Manufacturing company increasing workforce as part of facility upgrade MADISON, WI. Oct. 27, 2014 –
In a project expected to create 75 new jobs over the next three years, Dynamic Fabrication and Finishing LLC is embarking on a $15 million upgrade of its operations in Eau Claire.
Dynamic Fabrication, which provides a wide array of services to manufacturers and OEM’s, is undertaking the project to accommodate growth in sales and to support its new fitness equipment product line. In addition to the capital investment, the company will spend more than $900,000 on job training for its employees.
"I applaud Dynamic Fabrication for making this level of investment in its operations as well as providing training to its workers," said Governor Scott Walker. "A little more than three years after it was founded, Dynamic Fabrication is continuing to grow in Wisconsin, thanks in part to the assistance it is receiving from the state. This is just one example of how we’re helping early-stage companies throughout Wisconsin get to the next level."
To help secure the new jobs, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has authorized Dynamic Fabrication to receive up to $1.1 million in tax credits over the next three years. The actual amount of credits received will depend on the number of jobs created and the amount spent by the company on job training.
"This project is good news for Eau Claire and the entire region as it will help strengthen this growing company," said Reed Hall, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s lead economic development organization. "Since 2012, WEDC has provided Eau Claire County companies with $3.8 million in awards that are expected to create or retain more than 800 jobs—and we are glad to be able to add Dynamic Fabrication to that list."
"We are pleased to announce Dynamic is growing and adding new career opportunities," said company President Jason Tambornino. "Equally exciting is the support provided from WEDC, which provides the catalyst to help aid in our growth by providing such programs. We look forward to working with WEDC, the city of Eau Claire, and our current and future associates during these exciting times."
"The City is appreciative of WEDC's financial incentive, and its recognition of the importance of growing businesses in our part of the state," said Eau Claire Common Council President Kerry Kincaid. "The entire region benefits from this business expansion and job creation. We look forward to working together with WEDC on many future economic development projects."
Dynamic Fabrication and Finishing LLC was founded in 2011 as a start-up company specializing in contract steel fabrication, primarily sheet cutting and welding. In 2012, the company began growing its customer base, and added additional equipment and employees. In 2013, Dynamic began developing and manufacturing its own product line of fitness equipment. The company, which has about 50 employees, now designs, manufactures and sells strength products and storage systems specifically designed for the strength, fitness, and wellness industries.
About the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) leads economic development efforts for the state by advancing Wisconsin’s business climate. WEDC nurtures business growth and job creation by providing resources, technical support and financial assistance to companies, partners and communities in Wisconsin. WEDC has four focus areas: business and industry development, economic and community development, entrepreneurship and innovation and international business development. Together with more than 600 regional and local business development partners, it represents a highly responsive and coordinated network. Visit www.inwisconsin.com or follow WEDC on Twitter @_InWisconsin to learn more.
The City of Eau Claire Featured in National Business Magazine
Business in Focus, a national business online and print magazine, has featured the City of Eau Claire and how it is turning visions into realities. The article touches on Eau Claire's future growth, diversification, revitalization of downtown, and encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit. The magazine talked with Mike Schatz, the City's Economic Development Administrator, about Eau Claire's recent developments and the vision for the future. To read the article, click on the link below.
Open House for North Barstow Ramp
You are invited to an Open House for the proposed North Barstow Parking Ramp!
This event will be held on September 11, 2014 from 6:00pm to 7:30pm at City Hall in the Council Chambers on the first floor.
Notice Regarding Parking in the North Barstow Redevelopment District
Effective Thursday, September 4, 2014, the parking gates will be in use for a portion of the Redevelopment Authority Parking Lot, which is located at the corner of North Barstow Street and Wisconsin Street. The parking lot will be programed to have the gate arms come down sat 7:00 am and be active only by permit until 4:00 pm during the week. At 4:00 pm, the gate arms will go to the up position and parking will be available to the general public. The lot will also be signed for No Overnight Parking. Vehicles that are left in the lot between 3:00 am and 6:00 am will be towed at the owner’s expense. The parking lot will remain open tot eh Public on week nights and weekends with no overnight parking allowed.
On-street parking on Riverfront Terrace, Wisconsin Street and Hobart Street will be signed for 2-hour parking between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, except Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays.
Public Parking is available at the following locations (see the photo to the right or the link at the bottom):
Any questions regarding permit or public parking can be directed to the City Transportation Engineer at 715.839.4934.
We Have a Winner!
RAI Stone Group of Eau Claire, which created a predictive analytics software to help small businesses better understand their financials and evaluate how certain actions could affect their bottom line, has won the 2014 Wisconsin Innovation Awards! The organizers received about 150 submissions across the state and awarded 10 winners. To read more about the awards, check out these articles:
Congratulations RAI Stone Group!
City Council Tours Local Business
On August 25 the Eau Claire City Council toured the new well-funded start-up technology company in Eau Claire Invisible Connect. City Council was grateful for this opportunity and enjoyed hearing from President Scott Strangstalien! To the right are some pictures from the tour.
To learn more about this company visit there website at: http://www.invisibleconnect.com/!
Open House Invitation
You are invited to an Open House for the proposed North Barstow ramp!
Check out the details on the right.
Help spread the word for Eau Claire, WI as a finalist for the All-America City Awards!
Eau Claire, WI is a finalist for the All-America City Awards! Visit Eau Claire is looking for some extra help to spread the word!
This is how you can help spread the word:
Cost of Living Index Quarter First Quarter 2014
The results are in for the first quarter of 2014's Cost of Living Index. Eau Claire's cost of living index is at 93.9. According to The Council for Community and Economic Research the cost of living index measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services for professional and managerial households. This is based on 90,000 prices covering 60 different items which the City of Eau Claire Economic Development Division collected in the beginning of April. The categories this index is based on are: housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care and miscellaneous goods and services. Have a look at the cost of living indexes of the larger cities throughout the country provided by The Council for Community and Economic Research.
Minnesota Wire?s iStretch® Cable Stars On New NATGEO TV Program
An exciting new 8-episode TV competition, SHOWDOWN OF THE UNBEATABLES, which includes iStretch as one of the featured products, premiered on the National Geographic Channel Friday evening, April 4 at 8 PM central time, with new episodes appearing at that time every Friday for seven weeks. The program pits dueling entrepreneurs and their innovative products against each other. The final episode, on Friday, May 23rd, features iStretch cable from Minnesota Wire.
For more information and to access the episode list, click here.
To lean more about Minnesota Wire, click here.
North Barstow Parking Structure FAQ?s
1. Why is the parking structure needed?
Parking demand projections show a need for 525 parking spaces based on employment forecasts at RCU, JAMF, and the US Post Office (should they choose to relocate on N. Barstow Street). Surface parking could accommodate the parking demands that currently exist in the district, but the size of the parking lot required would occupy approximately two and a half city blocks. The City of Eau Claire’s 2005 Comprehensive Plan lays out a goal of “Complete North Barstow Redevelopment.” A parking structure reduces the surface area that is required for parking and maximizes the space available for commercial, retail, and residential redevelopment.
2. Is the North Barstow Parking Structure being built because of the Confluence Project?
No. In June of 2013 the City and the North Barstow Medical Business Improvement District worked to amend the TID #8 to include the design of a parking structure in 2014 and construction of a parking structure in 2015. The need, scope, and timeline for the structure were established independently from the Confluence Project.
3. Why is the parking structure being proposed so soon after the Confluence referendum?
The concept of a parking structure has been included in the North Barstow Medical Business Improvement District/Phoenix Park from the earliest concepts of revitalization of that area. Engineering Division staff started evaluating layouts and options for the ramp in December of 2013. The development of plans for a parking structure is independent from the proposed Confluence Project.
4. Is the parking structure only going to be used by JAMF and RCU employees?
No. The ramp will be open to the public. Contract parking will be available to the general public, as well as RCU & JAMF, for parking during business hours. Evenings and weekends will offer public parking without the need of a contract. Parking fees will be collected by automated equipment at the entrances of the ramp.
5. Why can’t parking be provided at the current Civic Center parking ramp?
The Civic Center parking ramp has a 405 vehicle capacity. The average weekday usage of the ramp is 134 cars, leaving 271 parking spaces available. When the renovation of the former Ramada Inn is complete, the number of available parking spaces will decrease further. The Civic Center parking ramp could accommodate some parking demand, but it lacks the proximity and number of spaces necessary to meet the current needs of the North Barstow District.
6. It is a lot of money for a parking structure. What is included in the $9.7M - $10.3M cost?
The initial cost estimate includes improvements to Hobart and Galloway Streets. Street improvements include new pavement, curb and gutter, sidewalks, water main, sanitary sewer, and storm sewer. In addition to street and utility costs, the cost estimate includes engineering fees, landscaping, construction cost of the structure, and a conservative contingency.
7. Where are we currently at for the project?
The plans for the parking structure are currently in the preliminary concept stage. The first step in the process is to establish the demands that need to be accommodated. Engineering Division staff compiled parking demands, initial layouts, and began the stakeholder process with the North Barstow Medical Business Improvement District. A consultant was hired to refine the initial concepts and suggest efficiencies that could be incorporated into the design.
8. What is the next step for the project?
The Engineering Division is evaluating proposals from the consulting firms who responded to the Request for Proposal for Design Services. A consultant will be selected for the design and will compile bidding documents over the next 6-9 months.
9. What is the anticipated schedule for construction?
Upon completion of the bidding documents, a decision will need to be made for moving forward with a bid for construction services. Currently a bid date has not been discussed or established. Once construction begins, the parking structure will take 9-12 months to complete.
10. Will the proposed structure have an appearance similar to the parking structure across from City Hall?
No. Initial concepts for the North Barstow Parking Structure place a high importance on aesthetics and functionality of the structure. The structure will be designed to blend into the redeveloped landscape of the North Barstow Medical Business Improvement District and is anticipated to have modern features such as bike and moped parking, charging stations, and other inclusions that will meet user needs for the next 50-75 years. The appearance of the structure will complement the architecture of the area and help create a well thought out theme for the district.
11. What features will the parking structure have?
Features to be considered during the design include restroom facilities, bicycle and moped parking, charging stations, an elevator, and an aesthetically pleasing exterior appearance.
12. What will the common areas between the parking structure, JAMF, RCU, and the liner building be like?
The design of the area between the buildings will begin once a design consultant is hired. During initial discussions with stakeholders, a list of items was started. Vehicular access to the back entrances of the buildings is necessary. Landscaping and green space are important. Bicycle and pedestrian accommodations need to be provided. The common areas need to be functional as well as complementary to Phoenix Park and the North Barstow Medical Business Improvement District. The final design of these areas will need to balance and accommodate these needs.
13. What is planned for Block 7? Why can’t the parking structure go there?
Block 7 is currently providing temporary parking for the North Barstow District. When the parking structure is constructed, it will accommodate the users currently using the temporary parking on Block 7. Block 7 will then be offered for development.
If the parking structure were built on Block 7, costly accommodations to replace the temporary parking would need to be made until the structure is finished. If the parking structure is constructed on the Post Office site and existing RCU parking lot, parking on Block 7 will continue throughout construction.
14. Will the parking structure include a transit center?
Incorporating a transit center into the new parking structure was examined early in the process and was not included as a recommendation to move forward. One of the desired aspects of the parking structure is to maintain a low height. If space were utilized for an internal transit center, the overall height or footprint of the structure would need to be expanded to accommodate the loss of parking space. The City is moving forward with plans for a transit center location study that will refine a recommended location for a future transit center.
15. How will the parking structure be funded?
Funding options are still being considered and will be presented before final construction approval.
16. How much will it cost to park in the new parking structure?
The fee to park in the parking structure hasn’t been established. The fee to utilize the structure will be examined during the design phase and then again re-evaluated when the City conducts its comprehensive parking study planned for 2015.
17. Why doesn’t the City wait until after the completion of the Comprehensive Parking Study planned for 2015 to move forward with the parking structure?
The City committed to provide adequate safe and convenient parking to RCU and JAMF when they made the commitment to locate their businesses in the North Barstow Medical Business Improvement District. The City and businesses agreed to locate the parking spaces within 800 feet of the RCU building. This agreement makes the Post Office site the most inviting site on which to construct a parking structure. The Comprehensive Parking Study will include the new parking structure in its evaluation of the downtown parking needs and performance.
18. What will be the annual maintenance costs of the structure?
Depending upon the construction method chosen, the annual cost of maintenance is estimated to be between $20,000 and $27,000 per year.
19. There are several large parking lots in the North Barstow Medical Business Improvement District now, isn’t there adequate parking space in those?
The photos above show the current parking demand in the district. These pictures were taken without the large number of employees that JAMF will bring to the district when their office opens.
Eau Claire Announced as NCL All-America City Award Finalist
The National Civic League (NCL) has announced the finalists for the 2014 All-America City Awards, the country's most prestigious award for outstanding, community-based civic accomplishments. Eau Claire is one of 25 communities invited to participate in the awards event this June, and is the only community selected in Wisconsin this year.
Benefits of becoming an All-America City include:
Beginning last September, a group of eight members of the current Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership Eau ClaireTM class worked with Chamber of Commerce and City of Eau Claire staff, along with many community partners, to develop and submit the application last month. The Leadership Eau ClaireTM program combines leadership skill building with community education, and participants get a bird’s-eye view of the issues facing the community and are exposed to involvement opportunities in the community. Leadership Eau ClaireTM participants are required to participate throughout the year with a community non-profit organization to complete a service project--one of the teams this year chose to complete the application process for the All-America City award. The Leadership Eau ClaireTM participants are
Dennison Brower, United Healthcare/Medicare & Retirement
“The City is excited to be selected as one of the 25 finalists for the 2014 All-America City Award,” said Russell Van Gompel, City Manager. “I would like to thank the group from Leadership Eau Claire and City staff members for taking on this project, completing the application process, and helping to recognize Eau Claire as a healthy, vibrant and productive community of exceptional natural beauty.”
This year's awards have a special focus on successful efforts to address the underlying conditions that affect the health of communities. As part of NCL's celebration of the 25th anniversary of the U.S. Healthy Communities movement, the All-America City Award spotlights programs that address issues such as obesity, walkable cities, biking, fitness, healthy eating and disease prevention. The communities vying for All-America City status filled out applications listing three examples of successful community change and describing their capacities for civic engagement, collaboration, inclusiveness and innovation.
The finalists will present to a jury of civic experts who select the annual award winners. The 2014 All-America Cities will be announced June 15 at an awards celebration. For more information contact Russell Van Gompel with the City of Eau Claire at 715-839-4902, Bob McCoy with the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce at 715-834-1204, Mike McGrath at the National Civic League at 303-571-4343; email@example.com, or visit the All-America City Blog at www.allamericacityaward.com or the NCL web site at www.ncl.org.
City Council Approves Forgivable Loan
Riverside Machine and Engineering recently approached the City of Eau Claire about their intent to purchase a portion of the Hutchinson Technology, Inc. building in the Gateway Industrial Park.
Riverside is currently located in Chippewa Falls in a building they own and have outgrown with no expansion potential. The company intends on moving their Chippewa Falls operation to Eau Claire and to sell their building in Chippewa Falls. Riverside Machine and Engineering has 71 existing jobs and projects to hire 33 new jobs in Eau Claire over the next five years. If the 33 jobs are created, the $33,000 City loan will not have to be repaid.
Riverside Machine and Engineering's parent company, Metal-Craft, is located in Elk River, Minnesota.
Revolving Loan Fund Committee Approves Two Loans
The City of Eau Claire’s Revolving Loan Fund Committee recently approved loans for Infinity Beverages, LLC and for ProVyro Waste Services, LLC.
A motion passed to approve the Regional Business Fund Loan with Infinity Beverages, LLC in the amount of $25,000 for a three year term at 4% interest. With these additional funds Infinity Beverages, LLC is looking forward to expanding product lines along with creating future jobs.
A motion also passed to approve an Economic Development Administration Revolving Loan Fund with ProVyro Waste Services, LLC in the amount of $80,000 for a 10 year term at 4% interest. With these funds ProVyro Waste Services, LLC is looking forward to becoming more efficient in their services and creating future jobs.
Downtown Eau Claire?s Green Tree Inn Purchased
EAU CLAIRE, WI – A team of individuals committed to the future of downtown Eau Claire have announced the purchase of the Green Tree Inn & Suites, at 516 Galloway Street, with the intention of re-launching it in late 2014 or early 2015 as a creative and unique “boutique” hotel serving the needs of an increasingly active city center. The property will continue to operate in a limited capacity under the current management until early spring at which time it will be closed and the re-design and renovation process would begin. The purchasing partners feel a move like this will fill a currently underserved niche in the local travel market and bring attention to the momentum currently taking shape in downtown Eau Claire.
Press Release by Longform, LLC
Local developer buys former Ramada Hotel
Eau Claire (Press Release) - Local developer Pablo Properties, the entity that is building the new JAMF Software building, has purchased the former Ramada Hotel in downtown Eau Claire. The 123-room hotel, which has been vacant since closing its doors on November 24, 2013, will be completely remodeled and reopened under the new ownership looking to help restore downtown Eau Claire.
The current building was built in the 1970's by Hilton and has seen several different owners in the past 40 years. Recently, the property fell into disrepair and was eventually closed after an auction put it back in the hands of the original bank.
Pablo Properties, led by local JAMF Software owner Zach Halmstad, says, "This property was the center of downtown when I was growing up. We went there for holiday meals and special events. We've seen it deteriorate over the last 10 years to the spot that businesses refuse to house their visitors there," and he hopes to change that.
Plans include reducing the number of rooms to between 80-90 to accommodate suites and long-term stay rooms, renovation of the existing convention center, and the addition of a coffee shop and new restaurant. "We have an incredible amount of shared space in the building, but it is not well maintained and is poorly utilized. We have plans to redesign the entire first floor and house a restaurant that focuses on great, locally sourced food. We hope that this space will be a benefit both for travelers and local citizens," Halmstad said.
With the renovations happening at the former Green Tree Inn, and a revitalized meeting space in the convention center at this new property the downtown may once more return to a viable option for meeting planners. "We keep track of groups that want to come to Eau Claire with a specific request for a downtown property. For the past few years we have been unable to accommodate them at a quality property," says Linda John, Executive Director of Visit Eau Claire, "this has translated to hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of lost potential business for Eau Claire. This announcement by Pablo Properties has huge economic impact potential for Eau Claire, while also serving the local community that has had to look elsewhere for reliable meeting space."
So far, a name for the new hotel has not been chosen. Pablo Properties is working with Empirical Hotel Investments as a hotel advisor. The groups are currently exploring franchise options, as well as the feasibility of opening as an independent hotel.
Market & Johnson has been selected as the general contractor and is working with Pablo on an aggressive timeline. The hotel will be reopened before the end of 2014. Pablo Properties is led by Zach Halmstad, and is focused on improving Eau Claire's downtown area by building a new class A office space for JAMF Software, as well as the renovation of existing properties. Pablo Properties is one of five investors on the former Green Tree Inn. The two hotel properties will work together to create efficiencies and share services while still creating two distinct identities. For more information, contact Pablo Properties at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Press release by Pablo Properties.
JAMF Software Receives $30 Million Investment
JAMF software announced on Tuesday a $30 million investment by growth equity firm Summit Partners.
According to JAMF managing partner Chip Pearson, the investment will be used to improve company operations in various manners. Product development, industry partnerships, and increasing staff are among the uses for the new capital. Additionally, JAMF will gain the industry knowledge and connections accrued by Summit Partners, which company officials are excited to use.
The investment comes as good news to JAMF, which recently began construction on a nearly 70,000 square foot building located in Eau Claire’s Downtown. The company has steadily grown year after year with excellent employee and customer retention rates.
Read the Leader-Telegram story for more information.
Downtown Hotel Sold Again
The downtown Eau Claire hotel and convention center was purchased on Tuesday for the third time in almost three months.
Entering the winning bid of $1.45 million was the former lender, Dougherty Funding of Minneapolis. $145,000 must be paid by the end of Tuesday. Dougherty Funding then has 10 days to pay the remaining sum.
It is expected that Dougherty Funding will sell the hotel instead of running it but a lawyer for the firm declined to comment.
More information can be found at the WEAU website
Wake Up on Hastings Way
The first “WAKE UP ON HASTINGS WAY” will be held Wednesday, November 20th at Mega Caribou at 7:30 am.
There will not be an agenda. This is a social event to network with other Hastings Way businesses.
PDM Bridge Purchased by New Company
Veritas Steel, a newly formed company, has purchased PDM Bridge, a Wausau based company that produces steel components for bridges. The Eau Claire facility is located in the Chippewa Valley Industrial Park at 2800 Melby Street.
The news came from Veritas representatives Wednesday morning of the purchase, which will also affect PDM’s Eau Claire and Palatka Fla. locations. Veritas plans to continue production at each of PDM’s three locations with no plans to layoff any workers.
Veritas is owned by Atlas Holdings, an industrial holdings firm, which looks to use its wide array of assets to give the new company the ability to more competitively bid on bridge projects in the Midwest according to Atlas Holdings Managing Partner Tom Fazio.
Read the full article for more information on this acquisition.
Jim Mishefske, Director of the SBDC at UW-Eau Claire, Selected to head Statewide SBDC Network
MADISON, Wis. – Mark Lange, executive director of the University of Wisconsin-Extension entrepreneurship and economic development division, announced Jim Mishefske as the new state director of the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The Wisconsin SBDC serves the entire state through 12 campus-based centers and three specialty centers.
Mishefske has worked for the SBDC based at UW-Eau Claire since 2004, the last four years as director. Prior to his service with the SBDC, he worked in Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls in the private sector.
“Jim helped build a regional collaborative model in Northwest Wisconsin, and we see great potential for replicating that model statewide,” Lange said, noting that the U.S. Small Business Administration honored Mishefske with a 2013 Small Business Development Center Service Excellence Award, in part, because of the partnerships he developed with Northwest Wisconsin economic development organizations.
Mishefske expressed enthusiasm about the role of the SBDC in the state. “I look forward to providing leadership as we increase our business outreach through collaboration with partners in business and economic development,” Mishefske said. “I envision a network that provides Wisconsin’s business owners and entrepreneurs easy, local access to SBDC expertise and innovative tools for improving, growing and starting their businesses.”
Mishefske will transition from his current role in Eau Claire to the Wisconsin SBDC director role based in Madison over the next several weeks. In his new position, Mishefske will be responsible for coordinating all of the SBDC locations throughout the state and for working with other public and private organizations focused on economic development and entrepreneurism.
November 6, 2013
The Confluence Project Flows Forward
With some new momentum behind it, the group that's leading the way for the Confluence Project will be working to satisfy the conditions set forth in the Eau Claire City Council resolution that pledges $5 million to the community arts center portion of the project.
"This is an important step by a key partner in the Confluence Project. This pledge represents a commitment by the City of Eau Claire's elected leadership to develop a community arts center that will serve the needs of the community, region and university. The university is grateful for the council's action," said UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt.
UW-Eau Claire, Haymarket Concepts, and the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center, will continue discussion with Eau Claire County leaders, the UW-System, state legislators, and the Department of Administration, according to Mike Rindo, UWEC Assistant Chancellor for Facilities and University Relations. The group is also seeking $5 million from Eau Claire County and $25 million in state funding. The rest of the arts center's construction costs will be from donations and tax credits. Rindo said there will be ongoing efforts for fundraising to meet both the construction costs and the $2.5 million endowment for operational purposes laid out in the council resolution.
Meanwhile, Rindo said, the university must also submit its 2015-2017 capital budget priorities to the UW-System. Early this month, the Confluence Project will be evaluated by the UW Board of Regents.
I firmly believe (the Confluence Project) provides the best solution to meeting community and university arts facilities needs because all partners will realize much more benefit through this unique public-private-philanthropic undertaking than any of us could on our own. I look forward to continuing the close collaboration with all of our partners to make this visionary project a reality," said Schmidt.
City Council President Kerry Kincaid said the City Council will carefully monitor the list of conditions to make sure they are met, but said the City already has experience with cooperative arrangements like the City/County Health Department, shared law enforcement space at the County Government Center, regional EMS, and shared athletic venues with UWEC at Hobbs Ice Center and Carson Park.
"I continue to be proud that Eau Claire has the opportunity to explore this shared project. We are capable and ready to build another cooperative partnership for the arts, especially one that revitalizes our city center," Kincaid said.
At the same time, efforts to get a binding referendum on the April ballot are moving forward. Referendum effort organizer Mike Bollinger said the Confluence Referendum Committee is working on the question to pose to voters. The citizens group needs 3,619 signatures before January 15. However, City Attorney Steve Nick said the referendum won't necessarily overrule the Council's financial commitment to the project.
Along with the arts center, the Confluence Project also includes a $26 million privately-financed mixed-use building that would have student housing, commercial space for shops and restaurants, and underground parking.
New City of Eau Claire Online Forum: ?Electronic Eau Claire Conversation (E2C2)?
That’s the first question in the City’s new online forum, “Electronic Eau Claire Conversation (E2C2)”, created through a partnership between the City of Eau Claire and Peak Democracy. This online platform is designed to increase resident engagement by giving citizens the opportunity to participate and express opinions on important City issues.
You can visit www.eauclairewi.gov/E2C2 to access Electronic Eau Claire Conversation (E2C2), the City’s online forum. The current topic is the 2014 city budget. Through the forum you are able to indicate how you would spend a theoretical $500 for city services. You are also able to add comments about the questionnaire or the city services. This is your opportunity to emphasize which Eau Claire programs and services are most important to you. You may participate through November 4th. The results of the survey will be presented to the City Council at the public hearing on the budget on November 5th.
Community Inspiration Needed for Haymarket Plaza - Placemaking the Haymarket Plaza
- OR -
Saturday, November 9th
During two civic engagement workshops, WCWRPC will lead participants through discussions and a variety of individual and group exercises to gain a community consensus. Participants will identify what makes Haymarket Plaza unique; discuss how the Plaza fits into the larger fabric of downtown Eau Claire; and guide the future uses, design, and programming of the Plaza. Citizen involvement will focus on the Haymarket Plaza site as a unique and special public place in the context of the entire downtown, and not on the specific uses, plans, and designs of adjacent and nearby properties. As conditions allow, attendees will be visiting the Haymarket Plaza site. Light refreshments will be available.
A final report identifying common themes and goals, as envisioned by participants, and an action plan with recommendations and potential resources, will be presented to the City later in the year.
Downtown Hotel's Future Still Unknown
The downton Eau Claire hotel's ownership is again unknown as Minneapolis investor Wayne Miller of SBM Holdings who won the hotel in a September 17th sheriffs's auction failed to pay the remeaining $1.48 million by the October 18th deadline.
No deadline extension requests were received by either the Eau Claire County Clerk of Court office or Judge Jon Theisen, who presided over the auction. Additionally, Miller never spoke with the City of Eau Claire about renewing the licenses to keep both the hotel and the bar in operation through the upcoming change in ownership.
It is now the responsibility of Dougherty Funding - the Minneapolis-based investment firm who financed the Singh Brothers Hotel Management purchase of the then Ramada Convention Center in 2004 – to notify the auction’s runner up, Attorney Allan W. Van Dellen.
Ten days is then given to Van Dellen’s client to come up with the money to purchase the hotel if they so decide. If they decide not to purchase the hotel it will go back to auction for a third time.
For more information on the hotel, read the full article here.
UW-Stout MOC Celebrates Manufacturing Month With National Reshoring Keynote at Annual Conference
The University of Wisconsin-Stout Manufacturing Outreach Center (MOC) will celebrate Manufacturing Month, as declared by Gov. Walker, at the sixth annual Manufacturing Advantage Conference Oct. 29-30 on the UW-Stout campus.
The conference will feature national keynote speaker Harry Moser, founder of the Reshoring Initiative. Moser grew up experiencing the glory of U.S. manufacturing. With more than 45 years of manufacturing experience, Moser is a leading industry spokesman for reshoring and for developing the skilled manufacturing workforce required by reshoring.
More information on the event can be found in the press release
Holiday Inn Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Monday, October 7, 2013 at the new Holiday Inn Eau Claire South and Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse near the intersection of Hwy 94 and US 53. Governor Scott Walker addressed the crowd thanking developers and investors for their work on this project which brings almost 150 new jobs to the City of Eau Claire. Governor Walker and Visit Eau Claire Executive Director Linda John both spoke of the importance the 90,000 sq. ft. 130-room hotel brings for the tourism industry. Other speakers included Dick Larson of Larson Companies, Tim Olson of Royal Construction, and Council Member Dave Duax.
The ribbon cutting was followed by lunch provided by Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse and tours of the hotel facilities and rooms.
Eau Claire Redevelopment Authority Purchases Riverside Property
The City of Eau Claire Redevelopment Authority (RDA) recently purchased a building on Oxford Avenue in the West Bank Redevelopment District with plans to redevelop the land.
The RDA purchased the property from Bartingale Mechanical for $360,000. The City of Eau Claire plans to raze the buildings on the property to make way for future development along the river. Bartingale Mechanical will move to a new building, though they will stay at their Oxford Avenue location until the end of the year as part of the agreement.
Eau Claire Manufacturer Eligible for Loan
A local manufacturer has been approved for a Technology Business Development Investment Loan from the Wisconsin Economics Development Corp.
Coating Tech Slot Dies of Eau Claire is eligible for a $160,000 loan. The company makes high-precision slot die coating systems for fluid coating operations. Additionally, the company will serve as an incubator for other businesses which need expedited product manufacturing.
Madison-based Kayo Technology was also approved for a $250,000 loan.
For more information read the article here
Downtown Hotel Sold
Eau Claire’s downtown hotel and convention center was sold on Tuesday morning to a Minneapolis investor in a foreclosure auction.
Wayne Miller of commercial investment firm SBM won the hotel with a final bid of $1.655 million. Miller spoke to reporters after the auction saying that he has never owned a hotel before, though he has plenty of experience investing in other sectors. Miller plans on making much needed renovations and acquiring a new franchise for the former Ramada Conference Center.
This is not the first time the hotel has been auctioned. The first auction, held earlier this year in July, came about as former owners Singh Brothers Properties were foreclosed upon. They won that auction and placed the required 10 percent down payment, but were unable to pay the remaining amount.
While the new owner’s company name is strikingly similar to that of the previous owners, SBM and SBP respectively, Miller told reporters the firms have no relation.
For the full story, click here
Dove Healthcare Expansion Breaks Ground
Dove Healthcare-West recently announced their plans for expansion with a public ground breaking ceremony late in August. The staff, along with many of the residents, and members of the community came out to show their support for the project. During the opening speech, attendees were able to glimpse into the future of Dove Healthcare-West.
The expansion includes four main areas of focus. First is the rehabilitation gym, which is currently 1100 sq. feet, but will soon be expanded to 2300 sq. feet. This additional space will house new equipment, which focuses toward stroke rehabilitation. In turn, this remodeling allows for a new entrance way to be created closer to the parking lot. Fifty more parking spaces will also be added. The new community room is the second area of renovation. This space will be open to both resident and community activities, but will also serve as a chapel. The existing chapel will become a meeting space with additional offices for social workers to be closer to residents. A courtyard will be added with beautiful scenery and a whisper glide swing. This swing allows handicapped residents to swing with loved ones, as special locks keep them safely in place to enjoy company.
With all the expected changes, residents and staff are excited to begin. Construction is planned to start in September 2013 with hopes that a ribbon cutting can take place in the spring of 2014. These changes will allow Dove Healthcare-West to provide better care and comfort of all current and future residents.
New Hotel in Town Open For Business
The first newly built, branded, full-service hotel in the last 30 years is now open on Eau Claire’s Southeast side.
Holiday Inn Eau Claire South, 4751 Owen Ayres Ct, is located near the intersection of US Interstate 94 and U.S. 53 near Globe University. It boasts 130 rooms, 80 of which can connect in the 90,000 square-foot building. Connected to the lodging component of the hotel is Des Moines-based chain Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse which serves an assortment of steaks and pasta.
The hotel is aimed at attracting traveling business people, according to Thomas Larson, President of the hotel’s managing company. Its amenities reflect the business focus with ergonomic work stations, high-speed internet access, and over 3,500 square-feet of meeting space. A fitness room and indoor pool with a large deck area capable of housing more casual meetings also add to the appeal for business travelers.
The new hotel is estimated to add $13 million annually to Eau Claire’s direct visitor spending.
To read the full article, click here
Intel Branches Into Eau Claire
Intel Corp., the well-known international computer chip developer, formally opened a new office in Eau Claire on Tuesday, September 3rd.
The computer chip giant moved into the 40,000 square-foot building previously held by web design firm Sitepro on North Clairemont Ave. The move comes after Intel purchased an interconnect hardware development program from Cray Inc., a Seattle-based supercomputer firm. About 60 jobs will be added by Intel including 40 from Cray’s operations in neighboring Chippewa Falls.
Read the Story here
Construction Begins on Four-Story JAMF Riverfront Building
Visitors to the Phoenix Park area are seeing some changes to the landscape as workers are getting a site ready for JAMF Software. Work began for the four-story, 72,000 square foot, JAMF Riverfront Building immediately after a groundbreaking ceremony August 14.
"Many things had to fall into place in order to get us to where we are today and we have a lot of people to thank for helping us get here," said Project Specialist for JAMF Software, Julia Johnson.
For the last ten years the site had been used by Royal Credit Union as a parking lot. Other sites were considered before developer Stuart Schaefer, President of Commonweal Development Corporation, suggested talking with RCU about the potential of using the lot intended for their second building here," said Project Specialist for JAMF Software, Julia Johnson.
"RCU has been incredible to work with, from agreeing to have us as a neighbor and financing the building to putting up with the headaches of construction and new parking arrangements," Johnson said. "Their dedication to downtown redevelopment and the community is incredible."
The building was also made possible by a development agreement with the City of Eau Claire, which will provide a parking area until a parking ramp or other public parking is available in the North Barstow area. The agreement also provides $300,000 for soil remediation of the site, which has a long and varied history of manufacturing industry. The building is guaranteed to add $7 million upon completion and $8.5 million for 2015 to the tax base for Tax Incremental Funding District 8, Downtown Development Area.
Johnson said the company's values will be evident throughout the building. Wanting to show employee appreciation, the floor plan allows for all employees to have great views of the park with a shared 2,500 square foot space on the top floor, and all workstations are near exterior windows. Johnson said accountability is also important to the company, and that's reflected by the building's energy efficient design. Water bottle fillers, LED light fixtures with daylighting controls, waterless urinals, and locally sourced materials add to the building's environmentally friendly design.
There will also be indoor bike storage, locker rooms, and an outdoor tire filling station for people who bike to work or exercise throughout the day. The tire filling station will also be accessible by park goers for tires or tubes.
UW-Eau Claire Named One of Best Colleges In Midwest
UW-Eau Claire is ranked among the top Midwestern Universities in the 2014 Princeton Review’s “Best Colleges” list.
The university joins 154 other schools within the 12-state Midwest region to receive the honor. Two requirements must be met to be considered for “Best Colleges” designation: Academic excellence and an anonymous survey. UW-Eau Claire met the requirement for academic excellence and allowed The Princeton Review to anonymously survey its students about a host of university services. In all, 644 schools were chosen nation-wide.
Eau Claire's Successful Development Recognized
Eau Claire’s thriving art scene and the progress of downtown’s evolution was highlighted recently in an article by The Atlantic.
The article focuses on three American cities which are written about by their own citizens. An unnamed citizen wrote to The Atlantic describing her move into Eau Claire 15 years ago when, as her husband said, “They don’t show you the downtown during the interview.” The article goes on to describe the emergence of Eau Claire’s now successful art scene and the construction of Phoenix Park as driving forces behind the reinvigorated development and popularity of downtown. Lewiston, Maine and Athens, Ohio are the two other cities that join Eau Claire in the article.
To read the original Atlantic article, click here
Eau Claire Area Ranked Second in Nation For Construction Jobs Growth
The Eau Claire area has made headlines once again, ranking second in the nation for construction, mining, and logging job growth according to the Associated General Contractors of America. A 31 percent increase of approximately 1000 jobs over the last year from 3,200 to 4,200, places Eau Claire just behind Pascagoula, Miss. at 33 percent and far above third place Fargo N. D. at 20 percent.
Construction projects like the new Holiday Inn, located near the intersection of Highway 53 and Interstate 94, and the UW- Eau Claire campus construction are large factors in the increase says Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corp. director Brian Doudna. Future construction for SHE in Chippewa Falls and the JAMF building in downtown Eau Claire will help sustain the construction boom. New sand mining operations in the area have also played a significant role in the increase. Commercial construction is not the only sector on the rise, though. Residential construction in the area has contributed to the jobs increase statistic as well.
While the national recognition is nice, the implications of the Eau Claire area’s ranking are truly exciting. Increased construction is an indicator of economic growth, business expansion, and a recovery of the housing area housing market.
Eau Claire Near The Top In Upward Mobility Study
A study released earlier this month shows that Eau Claire area children have a better chance of raising from the bottom fifth of the income bracket to the top fifth of the income bracket than much of the rest of the nation. The Eau Claire area children have a 13.2% chance to raise to the top, compared to New York coming in at 9.7%, Los Angeles at 9.6% and Atlanta at 4%.
The study, which was conducted by 4 of the nation’s leading economists, compiles massive amounts of data from every metropolitan area in the country. It shows that generally, children from the Southeast and industrial Midwest are much less likely to move up the income ladder than those in the Northeast, West Coast, and Great Plains Regions, including large swaths of Minnesota (and Eau Claire).
To see the New York Times article click here
Social Media Analytics Workshop Offered at UW-Stout
A social media analytics workshop will be offered to business professionals at UW-Stout.
The workshop, offered by UW-Stout’s Professional Education Programs and Services, “aims to provide tools and techniques … to understand and leverage readily available social media information” according to program officials. Other tactics taught at the workshop are designed to give participants an edge on their competition through social media.
Professor Eric Brey teaches the workshop, bringing a range of experience to participants. Brey teaches business innovation and marketing strategy and gives keynote speeches about competitive and social technology integration.
Participants registered by Wednesday, July 24 receive a complimentary competitive analysis report on their organization for one social media channel. All registrants are invited to a follow up webinar two weeks after the workshop to answer any questions.
For more information click here
Eau Claire Among the Top 100 Smartest Cities in The Country
Eau Claire is ranked among the 100 smartest cities (# 92) in the United States according to a study published by the brain training company Lumosity. The study gathered data from more than 3 million people between the ages of 18 and 75 who played certain Lumosity games. 5 different categories were tested in the study: memory, processing speed, flexibility, attention, and problem solving. Eau Claire joins 9 other Wisconsin cities on the list. Eau Claire’s and many other cities’ placement on the list has been attributed to emphasis on quality education.
To read the full story click here
U.S. Small Business Administration Honors UW-Eau Claire Small Business Development Center
Jim Mishefske, Director of The Small Business Development Center at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, accepts statewide and regional award.
The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire offers expert analysis and counseling at no cost to small and growing businesses. The center advises clients on a wide variety of topics including business plans, financial projections, and funding strategies. In recognition of the positive impact the UW-Eau Claire SBDC has had on small businesses growth and startup in the region, the center earned a statewide award from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
SBA Wisconsin District Director Eric Ness announced that the Eau Claire Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has won the organization’s 2013 Small Business Development Center Service Excellence Award for Wisconsin. Director Jim Mishefske will receive the award at the annual SBA Awards Ceremony in Milwaukee on May 31.
“It is so exciting to support businesses as they grow and become successful.” Mishefske said. “It has been a pleasure to serve the entrepreneurs and small businesses of Northwestern Wisconsin.”
The Eau Claire SBDC center has developed unique partnerships with economic development organizations in Northwest Wisconsin that have resulted in greater access to UW-Eau Claire resources and a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“Jim’s efforts to reach out to the areas surrounding Eau Claire have brought the SBDC’s services to a broader constituency and to more small businesses in the region,” according to Eric Ness, SBA’s Wisconsin District Director. “Developing and maintaining those key relationships will continue to make the difference for businesses and will enable the SBA to make its programs more available in Northwest Wisconsin.”
Since 1979, the UW-Eau Claire Small Business Center’s experienced business professionals and university faculty have taught seminars, answered questions, and counseled managers and business owners in all types of business settings.
The UW-Eau Claire SBDC is part of the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center Network. Through no-cost confidential consulting and business education, the Wisconsin SBDC provides knowledge, tools and resources that business owners and entrepreneurs need to succeed. Centers at each of the four-year UW campuses provide consulting to companies with fewer than 500 employees on topics that include financial planning, capital acquisition, marketing, operations management and business formation. The Wisconsin SBDC is hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Extension Division of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development and is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
For release April 30, 2013
Contact: Gayle Kugler, State Director, email@example.com, 608-263-7794
Eau Claire Named One of the Coolest Cities in the Midwest
Eau Claire, WI - MSN originally compiled a list of the 10 coolest cities in the Midwest. After more than two million page views and receiving recommendations from its readers, Eau Claire made the new list! The city was recognized for hosting the annual U.S. National Kubb Championship, the largest Nordic lawn game tournament outside of Europe, and the beautiful confluence of the Eau Claire and Chippewa Rivers. Since Eau Claire has been named one of the coolest cities in the Midwest, it shows just how much the city has to offer!
JAMF Software Proposes New Office Building in Downtown Eau Claire
JAMF Software is teaming up with local developer Stuart Schaefer of Commonweal Development Corporation on a project that will continue the growth in Downtown Eau Claire. JAMF Software is a rapidly growing company co-founded by Eau Claire native and UW-Eau Claire graduate Zach Halmstad. The business develops, sells, and supports the Casper Suite, software for professional management of Apple products. JAMF Software currently employs about 180 people, 90 of which are located in Eau Claire.
The proposed project is a 4-story 65,000 square foot office building in the North Barstow Redevelopment District next to RCU, facing the Chippewa River with Phoenix Park nearby. The building would sit on what is currently the RCU parking lot. The City of Eau Claire and Redevelopment Authority (RDA) have been asked to consider additional parking options for RCU employees, as well as JAMF employees and the general public. As growth in downtown Eau Claire continues, parking is a main talking point.
Commonweal Development Corporation and JAMF Software have asked the City of Eau Claire and RDA to consider turning Block 7, what is now an empty lot, into a temporary parking lot during construction, and long-term consider building a parking ramp structure in the location that is currently the post office.
The City of Eau Claire's economic development division has worked with JAMF since 2008. At that time the company had four employees and we assisted them in finding office space downtown. Recently, staff provided a list of potential expansion sites and introduced JAMF to local developers. JAMF is a strong supporter of Downtown Eau Claire, Inc. and has a representative on the DECI board of directors. JAMF appreciates the City's efforts to attract the creative class and make downtown a destination for the arts, music, and entertainment, which is important for them to recruit and compete for talented employees.
Phase III of the Profitable Sustainability Initiative has Openings for 32 Additional Companies
During the Profitable Sustainability Initiative's Pilot Program, manufacturers realized a substantial return on their investments. On average, participants had an annual savings of $146,783 and broke even with their investment in under a year. As a result, Phase III of the Profitable Sustainability Initiative has openings for 32 additional companies.
The Profitable Sustainability Initiative is managed by the Northwest Wisconsin Manufacturing Outreach Center (NWMOC) and the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP). Together, they help manufacturers improve competition, increase savings, and develop sustainable practices. Funding for the PSI comes from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and funding is open to all manufacturers throughout the state.
The PSI program is unique with its multidisciplinary approach to sustainability and there is no other program like it in the United States. Experts in the field of energy, finance, logistics, and the environment collaborate on how to improve and promote sustainable manufacturing. By focusing on profits and environmental impacts, the PSI program has made Wisconsin a leader in sustainable manufacturing in the United States. In fact, the program has led to $47 of economic activity for every dollar of investment that comes from the state. More so, the PSI participants are reducing their carbon emissions, transportation miles, electricity use, among many other environmental impacts.
Interested manufacturers should contact Ted Theyerl, PSI Project Manager at NWMOC at 715.874.4658 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Selective Countertops has Opened a New Facility in the Chippewa Valley Industrial Park
Selective Countertops, LLC, a recent graduate of the Chippewa Valley Innovation Center, has opened their new facility in the Chippewa Valley Industrial Park. Located at 2716 Melby Street,the young company grew from only two employees when they started in 2008 to 12 employees in 2013, with room for growth at their new location. Selective Countertops held an open house on March 1, 2013 to showcase their new facility.
The company fabricates and installs laminate, solid surface, cultured marble, and quartz countertops. It also works with under mount sinks for all product lines. They can be found on Facebook or reached at 715-833-8711.
Clubs Choice Fundraising Expanding Operations
EAU CLAIRE, WI – Clubs Choice Fundraising, a brand division of Choice Products USA, is proud to announce the opening of a cookie dough manufacturing operation in Eau Claire. The company is leasing a 13,000 square foot building from Huntsinger Farms south of Eau Claire on Highway 37. The new cookie line will create initially ten jobs, growing to around 30 over the next couple years.
City of Eau Claire Welcomes Customer Traac
EAU CLAIRE, WI – The City of Eau Claire Economic Development Department is excited to announce that CTI, LLC dba Customer Traac has opened an office in Eau Claire. The Plymouth, Minnesota-based call center company is located in the EastRidge Center in part of the former iPacesetters office. They currently have 75 employees. The Eau Claire office will start with 30 jobs and grow to around 50.
Wall Street Journal Notes Eau Claire is a Great Place to Retire
The Wall Street Journal's Market Watch says Wisconsin is a great place for people to retire, and they name four cities in particular, one being Eau Claire.
Reprinted from the Wall Street Journal, by Catey Hill:
The first thing that attracts many retirees to Eau Claire is its affordability. The cost of living is nearly 10% below the national average and the median home costs just over $127,000. But the town has plenty going on, too, thanks in part to the presence of The University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. People 60 and up can audit classes at the university, and the school opens its planetarium and many of its music and speaking events to the public.
The city's arts offerings, including an 1,100-seat theater, symphony orchestra and free summer concerts, are big draws as well, says retired professor Miller, who relocated here 20 years ago. "In the past 10 days there have been 11 or 12 shows here; the local talent is quite good and we get traveling shows," she says. The best part: "You don't have to make reservations days in advance, you can just pop down to a show, and they're very affordable."
The downtown has experienced a rebirth in the past 10 years with dozens of new restaurants and shops, and you can take a roughly two-hour car trip to Minneapolis-St. Paul for more to do.
Eau Claire is a safe city that hosts two hospitals and a strong volunteering community. "I volunteer a lot at the state regional arts center, and there are so many other organizations you can help out with," Miller says. These include opportunities at the theater, library, parks and the visitor's bureau, says Linda John, the executive director of VISIT Eau Claire, the area's tourism office.
The city's senior center is open to people 50 and older; "you can take language and computer classes, dance and exercise classes and go on trips," John explains. The biggest downside of Eau Claire is its weather: The average January low is 4.7 degrees F., which is even lower than the state's average.
The Innovation Foundation of Western Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation team up in a Matching Grant Program
The Innovation Foundation of Western Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation have partnered together in a matching grant program to help entrepreneurs get the start-up capital they need. The funding will be available for all entrepreneurs in western Wisconsin, but the primary focus of the partnership is to seek product innovations that will sustain long-term job growth, increase per capita wages, and create new businesses and corporations in Wisconsin.
Recently, Barb Fuller of Chippewa Falls utilized funds through the Innovation Foundation of Western Wisconsin and its matching grant program to get the start-up capital she needed to turn her idea into a prototype. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation provided a $100,000 matching grant to set Fuller's idea into motion in Western Wisconsin. Fuller's "Neck Nap" device fits on beauty salon chairs and allows for a more comfortable experience while at the salon. The matching grant allowed her to take the design to a local company and send the prototype into production.
The purpose of the matching grant program is to help entrepreneurs identify gaps in resources, from business knowledge to capital, and to provide those resources so that business and product ideas reach their highest potential. The Innovation Foundation has $200,000 in funding available for projects, as well as a 1:1 dollar match requirement. With these tools, the Innovation Fund might be able to help advance your local projects.
2012 Building Valuation the 4th Best Ever
The 2012 building valuation of $152,778,798 was the fourth highest in Eau Claire. *Total building valuation for permits issued for each construction season for the last ten years are:2012 -- $152, 778,7962011 - $174,779,195 2010 - $78,381,9512009 - $197,605,369 2008 - $108,891,476 2007 - $106,977,537 2006 - $129,068,804 2005 - $123,586,137 2004 - $115,455,026 2003 - $116,926,259
*valuations are not adjusted for inflation
The top eleven building projects by valuation based on building permits issued for the 2012 construction season were:UW-Eau Claire -- $34,257,083 Eau Claire Board of Education -- $17,400,000Larson Oakwood Properties -- $8,600,000Sacred Heart Hospital -- $6,400,000Gerber Products Company -- $4,900,000Riverfront Terrace LLC -- $4,100,000Sam's Club -- $2,500,000Calvary Church -- $2,439,453Eau Claire Land Acquisitions -- $1,500,000Mayo Clinic Health Systems -- $1,500,000Sacred Heart Hospital -- $1,500,000
Downtown Eau Claire Inc. establishes Grant Program from donated funds from the Clearwater Development Corporation
Program Purpose: The Clearwater Development Corporation, funded by Xcel Energy and the City of Eau Claire, donated funds to DECI for the purpose of carrying out their mission by establishing a grant program for downtown businesses.
Northwest Wisconsin Participates in National Manufacturing Day Initiative
Menomonie, WI, Oct. 11, 2012 – More than 200 manufacturers across the nation opened their doors to the community last week to celebrate Manufacturing Day and will continue to do so throughout the month of October. Wisconsin manufacturers including Johnson Electric Coil and Nexen Group participated to help expand knowledge and improve public perception of manufacturing careers and manufacturing's value to the local and U.S. economy.
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the Manufacturing Institute, along with the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International and the U.S. Commerce Department's Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, were co-producers of the event. Locally, the Northwest Wisconsin Manufacturing Outreach Center (NWMOC), based at University of Wisconsin – Stout sponsored and promoted the initiative.
The City of Eau Claire Approves Revolving Loan Fund for ProVyro Waste Services
ProVyro Waste Services is a growing business. The company started in December 2010 and is co-owned by Eau Claire native Andrew Holland and Joe Craven, both graduates of UW-Eau Claire. In 2011, ProVyro started weekly waste removal services for residents and are already in need of an expansion.
In June 2012, the Revolving Loan Fund Committee and the City of Eau Claire awarded ProVyro Waste Services a $135,000 loan with a pledge from the company to create at least 14 jobs by the end of 2015.
In addition to the weekly waste removal service, ProVyro also offers full service junk removal for homes, businesses, estate clean-outs, and foreclosures, along with dumpster rentals for roofing, remodeling, new construction and general clean-out projects. They currently service Eau Claire, Altoona, Chippewa Falls, Lake Hallie, Lafeyette, and the Town of Washington.
GSI Commerce Offers Commuter Incentive Program for Employees
GSI Commerce, an eBay Inc company, offers its employees incentives to go green. Through its progressive employer-sponsored commuter program, GSI reimburses its employees 100 percent for public transportation costs and offers stipends for those who walk or ride their bikes to work. "It works great for us since we have a bus stop nearby, and it helps maintain open spaces in our parking lot for those who cannot participate in the program. Employees and the environment benefit from these incentives. It's really a win-win situation," states Mark Allen, site director at the GSI Commerce facility in Eau Claire.
Other well-known companies who offer great commuter incentives include Apple Computers, Best Buy, Google, IBM, Nike, and Yahoo. Join these companies by establishing a Commuter Program at your company!
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation offers a RideShare Program, along with information and resources for employers on transportation incentive options.
JAMF Software - A Growing Eau Claire Business
JAMF Software, originally founded in Eau Claire in 2002, has been dedicated to making software to manage Macs for a decade. JAMF now employs over 150 people and has locations in Eau Claire, Minneapolis, New York, Cupertino, and is continuing to grow.
During college, co-founder and Eau Claire native Zach Halmstad worked in the IT Department at UW-Eau Claire and oversaw the school's Macintosh computers. He found that the software for PCs was much more efficient and there were not any similar products designed specifically with Macs in mind. That motivated the creation of the tools that grew to be JAMF Software's flagship product, the Casper Suite.
When JAMF Software started, Microsoft was in its prime and Apple had not yet even developed iPads, iPhones, or had any Apple Retail Stores. However, once Apple products became more popular, the demand for JAMF's software increased and they were able to start expanding their business.
JAMF Software's core product, the Casper Suite, expanded to include iOS management in 2010. Today it is the leading management tool for Apple's products. JAMF Software has recently partnered with Aerohive and together they have streamlined the management and network solutions for Apple devices in schools and businesses. In fact, JAMF Software's clientele is almost equally divided between the education market and corporate businesses and continues to expand as new customers seek Apple products.
JAMF has over 65 full time employees that work in downtown Eau Claire. Over 50 UWEC graduates work at JAMF, some who have relocated to other areas of the country. JAMF also has an internship program with UWEC and other area universities. They currently employ 12 interns from the University, and have hired 14 full-time employees from the intern program in the past.
Wisconsin Manufacturers Tax Credit
A powerful income tax credit has been included in the State Budget to encourage and strengthen manufacturing in Wisconsin. The WMC-backed credit, which will be phased in over a period of four years beginning in 2013, will virtually eliminate the tax on income derived from manufacturing activity in Wisconsin. It will effectively reduce the rate of tax on Wisconsin manufacturing income from 7.9 to 0.4 percent.
Clearwater Development Corporation Donates Funds to Downtown Eau Claire Inc.
EAU CLAIRE, WI -The Clearwater Development Corporation has donated over $30,000 to Downtown Eau Claire, Inc. (DECI) for the purpose of establishing a grant program for downtown businesses to use toward existing buildings, renovations, and other bricks and mortar type projects. The expectation is that the majority of the funds will be distributed within three years.
"We are very honored to receive the donation and are excited to create a grant program that will help our downtown businesses. We appreciate the confidence that Clearwater has shown in DECI by awarding these funds to us," stated Ken Van Es, Treasurer of DECI. DECI is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the development of business, housing, and cultural resources and activities within downtown Eau Claire.
The Clearwater Development Corporation was formed in 1996 as a partnership between the City of Eau Claire and Xcel Energy. Its purpose was to improve economic and business conditions in the City Center of Eau Claire and it carried out this mission through a loan program. Upon dissolving the corporation, the board decided to make a donation with its remaining funds to continue advancing the growth and development of downtown Eau Claire.
City of Eau Claire Commercial Façade Loan Program Helps Local Business with Makeover
EAU CLAIRE, WI - Local business owner Kay Vande Loo saw the revitalization happening on Hastings Way and wanted to be a part of it. She came to the City of Eau Claire for help with that vision. Vande Loo owns Impact Advertising and the former Army Navy store building located at 1612 S. Hastings Way. She was recently approved for a Commercial Center Façade Loan that helped her secure the financing needed to give her buildings a "facelift."
The City's Commercial Center Façade Loan Program was established to offer businesses financial assistance to revitalize old commercial strip centers by upgrading their facades. The $5,000 - $30,000 loan boasts zero percent interest for up to 15 years to help renovate the outside of the building.
Limited funds are still available for this type of loan. If you are interested, please contact Mike Schatz at 715-839-4914 or email@example.com. Or learn more online at www.EauClaireDevelopment.com.
U.S. News Again Ranks UW-Eau Claire Among Top Five Public Universities in the Midwest
From UW-Eau Claire - September 12, 2012
EAU CLAIRE — U.S. News & World Report magazine has again named the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire among the best public regional universities in the Midwest.
The 2013 edition of "America's Best Colleges" ranks UW-Eau Claire No. 5 among the top regional public universities in the Midwest and 31st among all private and public institutions in the Midwest. Every year since 1995, U.S. News has consistently ranked UW-Eau Claire among the top five public institutions in the Midwest and in the top third of public and private Midwestern regional universities.
Eau Claire Recognized as a Leading Location for Economic and Job Growth
Area Development, an executive publication covering site-selection, facility planning, and relocation, recently ranked Eau Claire 61st out of 365 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) in the United States for Economic and Job Growth.
The study used 23 economic and workforce indicators that originated from three sources: the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the U.S. Census American Community Survey. Some indicators include prime workforce, job growth, wage and salary growth, unemployment rate, and per capital GDP.
In the "Recession-Busting Cities" category for mid-sized cities, Eau Claire ranked an impressive 8th place overall, demonstrating our resiliency in productivity during a recession. The study states, "The top performers (in this category) include many Midwest cities that...are now creating jobs and attracting business as U.S. manufacturing comes back shore."
Eau Claire Named One of the Best Places to Retire by U.S. News and World Report
In a recent article by Yahoo Finance, Eau Claire was named in the top ten cities to retire on $100 a day. The list, compiled by AARP Magazine, focused on areas where retirees could live comfortably and affordably on a budget.
Eau Claire's low cost of living, easy access to high-quality healthcare, recreational opportunities and cultural events make Eau Claire one of the Best Places to Retire.
Nestle Expansion -Nutrition Division in Gateway Industrial Park
The Plan Commission recently approved a 24,000 sq. ft. office expansion for the Nestle Nutrition Division in the Gateway Industrial Park.
The new office will be designed so that a second floor could be added in the future. Nestle projects employment totaling 62 by the end of the year, with the potential to add an additional 40 jobs next year.
Plank Enterprises Awarded Loan from City
Plank Enterprises, a holding company consisting of four firms that primarily manufacture and distribute products to the industrial and commercial market worldwide, received a $22,000 forgivable loan with the promise to create at least 22 jobs at their Eau Claire location in the next three years. The Eau Claire City Council agreed in a 10-0 vote to provide the loan as long as Plank Industries reaches its goal of 22 new jobs at an average wage of $21.50 plus benefits.
Plank Enterprises will create a mix of industrial work and management positions, and if the jobs are not created within the three year period, the city loan must be repaid plus interest.
Plank Enterprises plans to spend around $900,000 on the new equipment for its manufacturing plant. Formerly located in Banbury Place in Eau Claire, Plank Enterprises relocated to their current facility at 4404 Anderson Drive in 2008, increasing from 70,000 to 125,000 square feet.
Expansion for Five Star Plastics
Expansion is in the works for Five Star Plastics as they land swap and create 22 new jobs. The Eau Claire City Council approved the swap of land in the Sky Park that will lead to a 25,000 square foot addition to current facilities, located at 1339 Continental Drive in Eau Claire. This approval will create jobs in Eau Claire instead of Kansas, as Five Star Plastics was looking to purchase a building there to expand.
In order to expand locally, Five Star Plastics wanted to trade land that it already owned for the same amount of land owned by the City of Eau Claire. This facilitated the expansion project and allows them to not only keep jobs in Eau Claire but also expand their current operations here.
Forbes Recognizes Eau Claire as One of the Best Small Places for Business and Careers
EAU CLAIRE, WI - Forbes recently released its annual Best Places for Business and Careers, naming Eau Claire 66th out of 184 "Small Places" with a population under 250,000.
The study used 12 metrics relating job growth, costs, incomes growth in the last five years, educational attainment, and projected economic growth through 2014. Forbes also considered quality of life including crime rate, cultural and recreational opportunities, and net migration patterns. Nearby college rankings were also factored in, but most weighting was given to business costs and educational attainment.
In the "Small Place" category, Eau Claire ranked 101st in Cost of Business, 93rd in Job Growth, and 48th in Education.
TV Show Hosted by Terry Bradshaw Features Eau Claire
A television program, hosted by former football star Terry Bradshaw will feature Eau Claire. The program, called "Today in America," showcases cities across the country by highlighting them as "hidden gems to live, work, and play."
Eau Claire Ranks 23rd of America's Brainiest Cities
A study used a new metric developed by Lumos Labs, and is based on brain performance and cognitive capacity. To measure the smartest cities, scientists tracked over a million individuals and rated them in five areas: memory, processing speed, flexibility, attention, and problem solving. The information was then linked with education attainment, knowledge, and creative work.
Downtown Master Plan Unveiled
May 3, 2012: A conceptual plan of Downtown Eau Claire was unveiled to the city on May 3, 2012. The plan includes ideas such as a boutique hotel, a "Live on Grand" promenade, and developing a public space with access to the river and the potential for a pedestrian/bike bridge to Phoenix Park from what they call the Haymarket lot, off of Graham Avenue.
The plan was commissioned by Downtown Eau Claire, Inc. and the South Barstow Business Improvement District and included the following design committee: Phil Johnson of Ayres Associates, Kristen Fish, Deborah Ersland, and Mike Morissey of Redevelopment Resources, and Garret Perry of Design Studio.
Eau Claire Ranks the Best in Wisconsin
The Milken Institute published the 2011 Best Performing Cities Index and ranked Eau Claire 39th out of 179 small metro markets. In 2011 Eau Claire's ranking topped all other small metro Wisconsin cities.
Eau Claire Named 7th Best City for Cheapskates
May 2012: Kiplinger.com names Eau Claire 7th Best City for Cheapskates! This means your dollar will stretch a lot further in Eau Claire compared to other cities. The study looked at metropolitan areas where the cost of living is low, but income levels are high relative to those costs. Kiplinger also considered the amount of free (or almost free) things to do that the area has to offer, citing the Chippewa River Trail System and Lake Wissota specifically.
Eau Claire Performs Well Above Average in State Comparison
Eau Claire County ranked 19th overall for 2012 Wisconsin County Health rankings according to the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Eau Claire performed particularly well in clinical care ranking 5th among 72 total counties with 92% of the population receiving diabetic screenings, 80% of the population receiving mammography screenings, and a primary care provider ratio of 1:468.
Eau Claire also stood strong in social and economic factors at 12th among 72 total counties. The high school graduation rate for the county stands at 87%, the percentage of the population with some college education is 71%, and the violent crime rate is just 119 per 100,000 people.
While Eau Claire had strengths it also demonstrated distinct weaknesses in areas such as binge drinking, tobacco prevention efforts, child and adult obesity rates, health and wellness, land use policies, and proportion of fast food restaurants. By identifying and improving on these weaknesses Eau Claire County can increase its quality of life and the overall health of the community.
CVTC Celebrates Manufacturing
In March 2012, the Chippewa Valley Technical College held a manufacturing show to present the benefits and innovations of an often misunderstood sector of the economy. The event featured demonstrations in electromechanical engineering, industrial mechanics, nanotechnology, machine tooling, engineering technology, and welding.
Eau Claire based Realityworks demonstrated its teachWELD program at the event. The program trains students welding skills through the use of curriculum, software, and hardware including a welding gun, helmet and gloves. Realityworks developed the program in coordination with CVTC to provide job training for skilled work. teachWELD is an excellent example of a program meant to bridge the gap created in Wisconsin when job seekers do not have the skills needed to fill job openings. This disparity, known as "skills mismatch" is often blamed for persistent jobless numbers.
New Gordy's Location to Replace Ron's Castle Foods
Gordy's County Market, the Wisconsin-based grocery store chain, recently acquired Ron's Castle Foods. This purchase marks the third Gordy's County Market in the City of Eau Claire and the eighth location total in Western Wisconsin. Overall, Gordy's employs nearly 800 people.
The acquisition will incorporate Ron Kielpinkski, the owner of Ron's Castle Foods as well as all of the employees of Ron's Castle Foods. Kielpinski is optimistic that the same level of excellence and service provided by Ron's Castle Foods will be offered by the new Gordy's County Market.
Eau Claire Automotive Group Building
Eau Claire Automotive Group is building a new Dodge, Jeep, and Ram sales facility at its current location on Golf Rd. During the construction process the Eau Claire-based dealership is offering a "Construction Reduction Sale". For more information, construction updates and sales details please visit http://www.eauclaireautogroup.com/.
National Presto Gets Army Deal
AMTEC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Eau Claire's own National Presto Industries, announced this month that it has been awarded an $81 million option in its current Department of the Army contract. This is the first award in the 2012 government fiscal year. However, the company explained it expects more awards in the future. The five year contract for 40mm ammunition is now valued at $364.7 million.
Eau Claire FedEx Ground Expanding
The Eau Claire Plan Commission approved a 12,420 expansion to the Eau Claire FedEx Ground and Home Delivery location in March. FedEx explained that it had maximized its capacity and needed to add extra space. The location in the Gateway Northwest Business Park will feature a drive around the building for increased access and safety.
2010 Census Data Released
Eau Claire remains Wisconsin's ninth biggest city with 65,883 residents, according to the recently released 2010 Census. This population count is a 6.8% increase over the last decade, slightly more than the state average of 6%. "One of the things that's been advantageous for Eau Claire is that we've enjoyed real growth, but it hasn't been at either extreme. That allows a community to plan for and absorb that growth," says Mike Huggins, Eau Claire City Manager.
All of Eau Claire's census data can be found at www.census.gov.
6th Lowest Crime Rate in the Nation
In the U.S. Crime Rate Ranking in annual publication from CQ Press, Eau Claire, WI MSA ranks #6 in the list for lowest crime rate ranking among the 332 U.S. metropolitan areas that are ranked. Read the full report
Eau Claire's Healthcare ranked #1 in Wisconsin
The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute ranked Eau Claire County #1 in physical environment, including measures of environmental quality, and #6 in access and quality of Healthcare in Wisconsin in 2010. Overall Eau Claire ranked #13 in Health Outcomes and #4 in Health Factors compared to all 72 Wisconsin counties. Review the detailed report
UW-Eau Claire ranks #5 in the Midwest
The 2012 edition of "America's Best Colleges" ranks UW-Eau Claire #5 among the top regional public universities in the Midwest and 32nd among all private and public institutions in the Midwest. The U.S. News and World Report has ranked UW-Eau Claire among the top public institutions in the Midwest every year since 1995. Rank details
January 2018 Building Permits Summary Report
February 2018 Special Edition
© 2013 City of Eau Claire Economic Development Division
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