CALEDONIA – Scannell Properties, a commercial real estate developer, plans to build a 323,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution center in the DeBack Farms Business Park and General Mills is expected to be their first tenant.

The Racine County Economic Development Corp. (RCEDC) and the Village of Caledonia announced the project as part of a three-phase development of a 65-acre site in the park by Scannell Properties. The company, based in Indianapolis, plans to construct two buildings by December 2023 and a third by December 2025. The three buildings are expected to total nearly 1 million square feet.

“General Mills is proud to be an active member of the Milwaukee community for over 20 years,” Orric Browning, plant manager for General Mills in Milwaukee, said in a news release. “The new Caledonia facility allows us to add warehouse and distribution capacity to better service the Milwaukee plant and broader business needs to make more of the food the world loves – and needs – right now.”

Learn more about TIF District #4

DeBack Farm’s proximity to the Milwaukee facility, speed to completion, and ease of access to I-94 were essential considerations for the company.  General Mills will work with a third-party logistics provider to operate its facility.

“Just over five years ago, the Village of Caledonia, Racine County and Wispark partnered to create the DeBack Farms Business Park to attract new development to Racine County,” Caledonia Village President Jim Dobbs said in the release. “Now, we are pleased to work with Scannell and General Mills to facilitate further investment in the park, resulting in a new tax base and jobs to benefit Southeast Wisconsin.”

The Village of Caledonia Board of Trustees approved an incentive to Scannell Properties at its March 15 meeting. This incentive will offset infrastructure costs for road, water and sewer improvements. Funding for the incentive is delivered through the village’s tax increment district (TID) #4 on a pay-as-you-go basis for ten years. Total assistance from the village is estimated at $3.8 million.

What is a TIF district?

A TIF district is a development tool municipalities can use to attract business. The way it works is that a financing district is created and a base value of that district is established by the taxing jurisdictions. The increased value of the property is still charged at the base rate, but the district uses the increased tax revenue to pay for the infrastructure projects.

This means those taxing entities (Village, County, Racine Unified and Gateway Technical College) still receive the same amount of tax revenue before the district was created, but the increased tax revenue pays for the infrastructure costs over a 20-year period.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.