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County Executive Falk Announces Partnership to Bring Jobs, Promote Technology Businesses

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Sharyn Wisniewski
(608) 267-8823

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 7/26/2001

Issued By: County Executive
View only releases from County Executive
Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk today announced an innovative partnership to bring business, jobs and economic opportunity to an area of the county with low and moderate income citizens.

The Alexander Company, Madison, noted for its urban redevelopment projects, plans to develop the Novation Technology Campus, a $30 million project, on a former landfill at the corner of Rimrock and Badger Roads south of the beltline in the Town of Madison. The Town's Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy, developed with public input and funding from the county's federal Community Development Block Grant allocation, had identified the area as a priority for improvement.

However, overcoming the site barriers that have discouraged previous developers from redeveloping the 27-acre site, (with a potential 30-acre second phase), required a creative solution. Dane County, the Town of Madison and Madison Area Technical College are stepping in to help get the project off the ground and provide links to the surrounding community.

"This project has the potential to transform this area," said Falk. "It could bring jobs, clean up environmental contaminants, and attract New Economy businesses. Due to the risks and added costs that make this project a challenge, it needs both public and private investment to help it succeed."

The developers say the first phase would bring 400,000 square feet of biotechnology, high technology and other businesses and a minimum of 75 jobs of a range of skill levels from entry level to high skilled technology positions, with the potential for more in the future. Many of these jobs will be made available to low to moderate income people.

A retail component could bring potential businesses to serve the surrounding neighborhood, such as a small grocery store, restaurant, bank or gift store. According to the plans, the remainder of the buildings would house office buildings for accountants, insurance agencies, government services or other uses.

Proposed public sector support includes:

CDBG Loan: A resolution has been introduced to the County Board to provide a $350,000 low-interest loan for tenant improvements and to attract an anchor tenant. The Community Development Block Grant Commission reviewed the project, found it met criteria for use of CDBG loan funds, and included it as part of the package of projects recommented for this year's use of CDBG money.

Grant Application: Dane County has applied to the federal department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for $370,000 under HUD's Economic Development Initiative (EDI) grant fund. This would be used to construct, equip and furnish a 2,700 square foot training center at the Novation Campus. Operated by MATC, the training center would provide both customized technology and industry training to employees, and basic job skill training and English as a Second Language instruction to residents of the adjacent, low-income Southdale neighborhood. The Southdale branch of the Dane County Job Center would provide local residents with employment services and referrals to the training center and jobs.

Loan Application: The EDI grant would leverage $1.2 million in loans applied for to HUD. Of this amount, $500,000 would create a loan pool for tenant improvements at the Novation Technology Campus to support job creation. And, $700,000 would be loaned to the Town of Madison to fund building a bridge and extension of East Badger Road to make vacant infill sites accessible and suitable for commercial development. The new road would also make the neighborhood less isolated.

Construction of the road and bridge were priority items identified by citizens in the Town's Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy. The Town of Madison has set up a Tax Incremental Finance District for the Alexander development.

In her remarks, Falk thanked Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin and Senator Herb Kohl for their efforts as the county seeks the federal HUD funding.

Joining County Executive Falk at the press conference were Jim Campbell, County Board Supervisor and Chair of the Town of Madison, and representatives of MATC and the Alexander Company.
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