Ending months of anticipation, Oshkosh Corp. presented a Thanksgiving gift to city officials Wednesday afternoon–an announcement that the Fortune 500 company will build a new global headquarters at the site of Lakeshore Municipal Golf Course.
“We are thrilled to start our next hundred years in Oshkosh,” said Wilson Jones, the company’s president and CEO. In a video posted to social media, he announced that the company’s board of directors had unanimously approved the choice of Oshkosh as the headquarters site at a meeting earlier this week.
“I am thrilled that the City of Oshkosh’s proposal was competitive with proposals that Oshkosh Corp. had been considering nationwide,” said City Manager Mark Rohloff. “I think that this speaks volumes about Oshkosh Corp.’s confidence that the city of Oshkosh will continue to be a great home to the global headquarters of a Fortune 500 company.”
He said he is looking forward to working with the company in the upcoming months on the specifics of the land sale agreement and the necessary development approvals.
“This is a defining economic development project for Oshkosh, the region and state of Wisconsin,” said Jason White, president and CEO of the Greater Oshkosh Economic Development Corp. “We appreciate Oshkosh Corp.’s loyalty to their home community as well as patience and collaboration with the process.”
White added: “The community support for Oshkosh Corp. is strong, and I believe that was clearly demonstrated. Oshkosh Corp. believes that the chosen site best addresses the question ‘Why Oshkosh?’ to their stakeholders and presents the perfect ‘Wow’ factor the company sought for accommodating their future growth.”
Ground is expected to be broken next year for the new headquarters with completion scheduled by the end of 2019.
The announcement means that Lakeshore will cease to function as a full-sized golf course after a century of operations. Some longtime members of the community mounted a campaign to block the sale of the land to a private company.
But in the end the economic arguments about the importance of Oshkosh, both as an employer and as a philanthropic supporter of local charities, won out.
The Common Council voted without opposition Nov. 8 to approve the sale of a portion of the golf course to the company.
Under the terms of the deal, the city will:
Sell 35 acres of the golf course to the company for $100,000 an acre, or $3.5 million.
Provide a grant of $6 million that the company would receive by not paying $500,000 a year in property taxes for 12 years under a tax increment financing arrangement.
Provide additional tax incentives for another eight years that would apply to the portion of the site’s value that exceeds a guaranteed minimum.
Construct $7.2 million in infrastructure.
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