Oak Creek — The city can say "bye-bye" to one of its largest, vacant warehouses.
Joy Global Inc. publicly announced last week that it is re-purposing the former Allen-Bradley facility — a 300,000-square-foot building at 10001 S. Howell Ave., just south of General Mitchell International Airport, that has stood vacant for at least a decade — to open its largest distribution center in the world by July.
Under Joy's ownership, the warehouse and distribution center will take advantage of its proximity to the airport and Interstate 94 and will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Between 75 and 100 jobs will be created.
"This is obviously the best and most serious use of this building," said Mayor Steve Scaffidi. "To have it re-purposed and used for a company like Joy Global shows the strength of what we're trying to do here in Oak Creek."
Joy Global is a Milwaukee-based company that manufactures and markets parts and services for the mining industries, but Scaffidi said the company's culture offers something more to Oak Creek.
"They understand what it means to be a community partner with us," said Scaffidi. "They want to be involved, helping out at events, possibly sponsoring events. They're very community minded."
The purchase will also add strength to the 1-94 corridor, said Doug Seymour, director of community development. Not only will Joy help solidify the tax base but will also create a "domino effect," making Oak Creek's remaining industrial space more marketable, he added.
"From my perspective, the idea that they were able to re-purpose that industrial building is a really great story for Oak Creek because you have a choice: You can build or use existing space," said Seymour. "If you use existing space, that really helps out the community so you don't have large vacant space out there."
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