Expanding Premium Water’s operation in Chippewa Falls would add 21 jobs and allow the company to double its production of single-serve water bottles from 15 to 30 million cases, Plant Manager Bill Mercer said Tuesday.
Mercer said the good work ethic of the company’s Chippewa Falls employees was a factor in the company’s expansion plans.
The firm wants to set up a new bottling line in a building it leases on Olson Drive and would eventually buy from WOW Logistics.
The Chippewa Falls City Council advanced the expansion plan Tuesday by deciding to have financial consultant Quarles and Brady come up with a developer’s agreement and financial incentives for the expansion.
The council made the decision after 26 minutes in closed session. Council President CW King said he hopes the consultant will make a presentation to the council at its Aug. 7 meeting.
Premium Waters Inc. produces bottled water under about 300 different labels, including Chippewa Springs, which started in Chippewa Falls 110 years ago.
The company’s building at 600 E. Park Ave. would not be expanded.
Mercer said Premium Waters would expand the Olson Drive building by 40,000 square feet, bringing the total expansion to 160,000 square feet.
The expansion would include what Mercer called a “low-fill” line, allowing the firm to produce 900 bottles of water a minute compare to today’s 600.
No tax levy money would be used for the incentives. Instead, the incentives would come from an existing TIF district.
With a TIF, municipalities with taxing authority agree to freeze the area’s tax base. Then the city or village uses taxes from the area’s growth to help private projects or pay for public improvements such as streets.
Council members Brian Flynn, Chuck Hull, Jane Lardahl, Bill Hicks and George Adrian voted in favor of having a consultant come up with an incentive package.
Mike Hanke was absent from the meeting, as was Mayor Greg Hoffman. King filled in for Hoffman.
In other council action
-- Despite some opposition by neighbors, the council voted 5-0 to approve a rezoning of 6 1/2 acres off of Wisconsin Street from agriculture to two-family residential.
Real estate agent Ray Myers said the current land owner has been unable to sell the property for more than 10 years. A developer wants to build upscale “twin homes” that would sell for $170,000 apiece. Myers said the intent is for one part of the home to be occupied by the owner.
Neighbor Patricia Dineen said there are already multi-family homes in Chippewa Falls that are not filled.
“I still have a concern about traffic,” said her sister, Cicely Dineen, who also lives in the area.
John Krista said he’s lived on Marilyn Street since 1970, and opposed the project. “I like it the way it is,” he said.
-- The council also approved a recommendation by the city’s Public Safety Committee to sell 17 acres Chippewa Falls owns in Menomonie to that city for $40,000.