U.S. Venture Inc., a leader in the distribution of petroleum and renewable energy products, lubricants, and tires and parts for the automotive industry, has announced its plans to build a new corporate headquarters on a portion of the Fox River bluff site in downtown Appleton.
Appleton’s Common Council voted Tuesday night to approve a development agreement with U.S. Venture that will move the project forward. Company officials and city leaders say the new office is expected to become a keystone that transforms downtown into a new center for business, residences and attractions. The facility will be located on a site previously occupied by Fox Banquets/Rivertyme Catering.
U.S. Venture’s current headquarters—off of County Road CE on the east side of Appleton—was designed and built in 2010 to house 280 employees, but today approximately 335 team members work between the corporate building and an offsite location. The company’s growth trajectory predicts corporate employment will exceed 500 within the next five years, which prompted the exploration of a new, larger office.
“Our workforce has experienced significant growth in the last five years, so we started to review the way in which we can accommodate that success,” said John Schmidt, CEO and president of U.S. Venture. “A downtown setting will offer our team members the opportunity to be front and center in the city and deepen our connections to the community. We are committed to building it right and making it a positive development for Appleton, which is on the cusp of great change.”
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is supporting the project by awarding U.S. Venture with up to $20 million in performance-based state income tax credits over the next seven years. The company can earn the Enterprise Zone Tax Credits based upon the actual number of jobs created and retained; the level of capital investment the company makes; the amount it spends on purchasing equipment, goods and services from Wisconsin companies; and the amount spent on employee training.
“With 600 employees in Wisconsin and a history that goes back more than 65 years, U.S. Venture continues to make a significant contribution to Wisconsin’s economy and I congratulate the company on its expansion plans,” said Governor Scott Walker. “As the state’s business climate continues to improve, U.S. Venture is among the growing number of companies who have made the commitment to expand here. This is good news for Appleton, northeastern Wisconsin and the entire state.”
In addition to the jobs expected to be created by U.S. Venture, an economic modeling study conducted by WEDC estimates the project could indirectly generate more than 200 additional jobs in the region—up to $6 million in state income tax revenue over a five-year period.
“This development is a great match for Appleton and U.S. Venture that is focused on attracting the next generation of talented workers,” said Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna. “U.S. Venture’s goals were for an urban setting that is walkable, bikeable and has access to an array of cultural amenities like art, music and entertainment. Appleton delivers on those goals and our common vision for growth will lead to further investment in our downtown in the future.”
The new building will bring local team members together under one roof, something Schmidt wasn’t willing to compromise on, adding, “Moving our headquarters downtown will increase operational efficiencies, as well as position U.S. Venture as a premier place to work in Appleton. We’re looking forward to supporting and engaging our employees, customers and community partners in a new capacity.”
U.S. Venture has hired Hoffman Planning, Design & Construction, Inc. to oversee the architecture, design and construction management, which is in the beginning stages. The property will be a part of the city of Appleton’s tax incremental financing (TIF) district 11, which includes redevelopment of the entire bluff.
Initial projections show that the new building—a $50 million investment—will be constructed to hold approximately 780 employees and include underground parking. The site, which is expected to be built in three years, would also allow for U.S. Venture to expand as needed in the future.