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10/31/2006

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WisBusiness Tuesday Trends
October 31, 2006

By Brian E. Clark

RISING

Gorman & Co.

A Madison construction company active around the state has been named developer of the year by the Wisconsin Builder and The Daily Reporter.

Gorman & Co. was picked for its neighborhood-revitalization efforts plus its effective use of state funds through partnerships with public organizations. This summer, Gorman opened Avalon Madison Village apartments, a $14.7 million project on the site a former supermarket near a low-income neighborhood in Madison.

That project was helped with $3.5 million in tax incremental financing from the city of Madison, $7.4 million in WHEDA tax credits and $68,000 from Madison Gas & Electric for energy efficiency.  Seventy percent of the 104 new apartments are priced for renters who make 60 percent of the county median income - about $43,920 for a family of four.

Gorman also has been active in the Milwaukee area. Earlier this year, the firm won the Business Journal Serving Greater Milwaukee's Real Estate Awards for its Historic Lofts on Kilbourn project, an adaptive re-use of the former Sinai Hospital in Milwaukee's Avenues West neighborhood.

MIXED

VC investing

Wisconsin firms drew 70 percent more in venture capital (VC) funds in the first three quarters of 2006 than they did during the same period in 2005, according to the new MoneyTree Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association. Badger State companies garnered $41.7 million through the end of September, with nearly $21 million coming in the third quarter alone.

Still, Wisconsin's VC take is tiny compared to the nation as a whole. State companies raised less than 1 percent of the $6.2 billion that young companies around the country raised in the third quarter. Wisconsin ranked 24th nationally in the third quarter for venture capital funding and lagged behind neighbors such as Minnesota, which had $110 million in venture investments, and Michigan, which had $28.7 million.

The company that garnered the most in VC funding is Port Washington-based Aquarius Technologies Inc. State companies raised just $24.6 million from January through September in 2005, the MoneyTree report said.

FALLING

Vegas flights from Madison

Earlier this year, Northwest Airlines trimmed service from Madison to Las Vegas to two days a week. Now that service is gone. Northwest’s last scheduled nonstop flight from the Dane County Regional Airport left Saturday.

A spokesman for the airline said the flights “did not meet our financial expectations.” Travelers who live in and around Dane County can still fly to Las Vegas by connecting through Northwest's Minneapolis-St. Paul hub. Northwest shares closed Monday at 70 cents, down from the 52-week high of 85 cents.

Though nonstop flights out of Madison are gone, Las Vegas remains the top destination for travelers from the Dane County airport, just ahead of New York City and Denver. Now the closest nonstop flights to Sin City are via privately held Allegiant Air from Rockford, Ill.


Written exclusively for subscribers. Tuesday Trends is Copyright © 2006.



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