Proposed Strauss Brands slaughterhouse on Milwaukee's north side drops plans
The company released the following statement on Monday, Oct. 21.
"It was our hope that Strauss Brands' move to Milwaukee’s Century City neighborhood would have created jobs, provided an economic boost, and inspired other businesses to follow suit. We honor and respect the opinions of the community and don’t want to make our home in a place where our presence would not be seen as a benefit. We are no longer pursuing relocation to Century City."
The facility would have created 250-500 jobs in one of Milwaukee's poverty-ridden neighborhoods, and could receive a more than $4 million subsidy from the city.
The Century City redevelopment plan was approved 14 years ago, since then the park has been waiting for opportunities to bring in businesses.
The Mayor says the slaughterhouse not moving forward is a missed opportunity. Mayor Tom Barrett believes the slaughterhouse would have eased the lack of blue collar jobs in the area.
”Of course I’m disappointed," said Mayor Barrett. "Strauss was moving there for all the right reasons, it was moving there because it wanted to be closer to a workforce."
Last week Ald. Khalif Rainey was in support of the slaughterhouse coming to his district, but changed his tune after he got overwhelming opposition to the project.
"I have long been a supporter of the Century City development, and believe it represents an opportunity to align the city’s north side with the economic drivers of the future, not those of our past. In keeping true to the vision of Century City, and standing for the interests of the people in the neighborhood, I do not believe the Strauss meat processing plant is a good utilization of that space. I am listening to the voices in my community, and I expect the administration to do same and withdraw their push for this proposal. I will also be asking the same of my colleagues, to support the will of my constituents," said Ald. Rainey, who represents Milwaukee's 7th district in a statement released Friday.
Ald. Bob Bauman is not surprised, he claims many didn’t know a slaughterhouse was coming.
”We basically knew about this company when it was announced in the media," said Ald. Bauman, who represents Milwaukee's 4th District. "No one ever used the term slaughterhouse until the zoning committee meeting.”
The Mayor believes the plan was always transparent to the public.
"That is completely false, that’s part of the false information narrative that’s out there. There were open meetings, and it was open to the public,” says Mayor Barrett.
In 2005, Bauman says the council banned ‘manufacturing intensive businesses’ which includes slaughterhouses, steel mills and oil refineries to come to Century City.
Now a possible change in zoning by the Redevelopment Authority may be coming, opening doors to more businesses.
”I hope it isn’t because I frankly agree with the phraseology of the original development plan,” adds Ald. Bauman.
”If somebody is bringing me 250 union jobs where people can support their families, I’m going to listen,” said Mayor Barrett.
Bauman knew the business park was going to take time to fill because of its location and crime rates in the area, but says it deserves better.
”It’s been vacant for a long time, it’s shovel ready and we’ll continue marketing it,” said Ald. Bauman.
”I’m hoping that this puts a gigantic spotlight on this site and there are other employers who are gonna say, 'okay that was a missed opportunity,' maybe we can come in and create family supporting jobs," Mayor Barrett says.
With Strauss Brands pulling out, Mayor Barrett says he’s going to make lemonade with the lemons he’s been handed, and now wants to come back harder than ever in creating jobs for that area.