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Construction on a $6.5 million warehouse in the Lake Wissota Business Park is officially underway.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Wednesday for the DHL Supply Chain’s 124,000-square-foot warehouse. Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which purchased Silicon Graphics International in 2016, will be leasing the building. It is expected to employ 30 to 40 workers, with possibly more added with an expansion.

Several area business leaders praised the new development as vital to the growth of the city.

“It’s a great day for the entire Chippewa Valley when we can celebrate a project like this,” said Scott Rogers, government affairs and workforce director with the Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce.

Chippewa Falls Mayor Greg Hoffman said new buildings like this have a long-lasting impact on the community. But it took several partners to make the deal happen, he added.

“The theme is this is a team effort,” Hoffman said.

State Sen. Kathy Bernier, R-Lake Hallie, said she is impressed with the continued growth in the business park, located in the northeast corner of the city.

“It’s kind of exciting, for this and other projects in the Lake Wissota Business Park, to see these projects move along,” Bernier said. “When I was (Chippewa) County clerk, this was just a farm.”

The DHL warehouse is along Commerce Parkway, between the Star Blends feed plant and the $69 million Mills Fleet Farm distribution center, which also is operated by DHL, now with 500 employees working in that building.

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“This is exciting, because DHL is already part of the community,” said Charlie Walker, Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation executive director.

Walker thanked Chippewa Falls city officials and the work in having a ‘shovel-ready’ project ready to go.

“Without the boots on the ground, this wouldn’t happen,” Walker said.

The building should be finished next summer. It is designed for a potential 94,500-square-foot expansion.

In August, the Chippewa County Economic Development Committee approved an agreement to sell the 14.8-acre parcel to DHL Supply Chain for $518,000, days after the city approved a developer’s agreement with the company. The county owns the business park, which is entirely in city limits.

While DHL Real Estate Solutions is constructing the building, the goal is to sell it to a third party.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s manufacturing building is located at 100 Cashman Drive, a couple miles south of the new warehouse.

HPE purchased SGI for $275 million in 2016. In May, HPE announced plans to purchase Cray Inc. for $1.3 billion. Cray Inc. also has a facility in Chippewa Falls. HPE already has about 300 workers in Chippewa Falls.

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