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WisBusiness: Walker says $62.5M in tax credits tied to Kohl's job creation

By David A. Wise

Gov. Scott Walker today announced an agreement between Kohl’s and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. to provide the company up to $62.5 million in tax credits over 12 years, contingent on the number of jobs created.

To receive the full amount, the company has to retain its existing 4,500 jobs and add another 3,000. Those jobs, Walker said during a conference call this morning, are largely driven off of the corporate office expansion.

The deal includes Kohl’s taking ownership of about 100 areas of vacant land in a Menomonee Falls office park along with a small office building adjacent to it. The property will be used to create a second corporate campus not far from its current headquarters.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett had tried unsuccessfully to persuade the company to move its headquarters to the city’s Park East area.

Walker said while it was clear at the beginning of negotiations that Kohl's preferred to remain in Wisconsin, the company also entertained offers from out of state.

“Our number-one priority was keeping them in Wisconsin,” Walker said.

“While it was always our preference to remain in Wisconsin, Kohl’s took the needed time to study all of our options, including an assessment of developing a campus outside of the state of Wisconsin," Kohl's CEO Kevin Mansell said in a press release. "Our goal has been to find the location that best positions us to remain an employer of choice, retain and attract the best talent and to satisfy our responsibilities to our shareholders and associates. The Woodland Prime site accomplishes that goal and gives us the room we need to satisfy our business needs for decades to come.”

Walker said the company's decision is a good sign for the state and sends a message to other employers.

“I have to believe while the incentives are something they consider very strongly, in the end it's about business climate, it's about the ability to both retain and recruit the type of professional talent they need to be successful and grow at that site,” Walker said. “The fact that they're willing to do that, and do that in the state of Wisconsin, is a good sign about where we are headed and where other businesses can feel comfortable in growing in Wisconsin as well.“

In exchange for the building and land, Menomonee Falls will take ownership of Kohl’s 530,000-square foot former distribution center in the village.

Once construction begins, Menomonee Falls will provide road improvements and up to $12 million in incremental tax revenue generated by the development.

See the Kohl's press release

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