RACINE COUNTY — When Foxconn Technology Group hires 3,000, 8,000 or 13,000 people someday — where are all of those people going to live?
Surely, not every future Foxconn employee will live in Racine County. But an effort is underway to try to coax in as many of them as possible. That initiative is designed to prime the pump for the construction of a wide array of housing types in Racine County in the next few years.
Jerry Franke of Franke Development Advisors is leading the charge on behalf of Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave and Racine County Economic Development Corp., under the direction of RCEDC Executive Director Jenny Trick.
Franke’s work is to be capped off at a housing summit on Sept. 12, at which developers will be invited to consider building housing on any of approximately 10 potential local sites which Franke calls “development opportunity zones.”
On Tuesday evening, Franke presented his findings and recommendations to the Racine County Board. He had first shown the presentation, “Housing Impacts and Opportunities from the Foxconn Development,” to a gathering at Wingspread on June 25.
Franke calculates that 10,484 housing units will be needed to house all 13,000 future Foxconn employees.
And that doesn’t even take into account the roughly 10,000 construction workers that will be needed.
Franke explained recently that Delagrave “really wants to capture as much of the residential growth that will be generated by the Foxconn and related jobs for Racine County. Because people tend to spend most of their disposable income where they live. And so, Jonathan wants this to be a positive economic experience for the county.”
“The last thing we want,” Delagrave said, “is that we get all this ancillary development and then (people) go outside Racine County and spend that disposable income.”
Delagrave said Racine County needs to have “a continuum” of housing types developed. He also said planning and coordination are needed among the municipalities so housing is developed where the necessary infrastructure exists, for cost efficiency. Not doing so, he said, would make the developments more expensive — and likely rents and housing prices also.
“We want to make sure there’s a continuum of housing and that it’s located and developed as efficiently as possible.”
Franke made a startling statement about one particular type of housing and the greater Racine area. He said, “There has not been a market-rate apartment (modern apartment with no rent restrictions) developed east of the ‘I’ in Racine County in a year beginning with a 2.”
That means the greater Racine area is 20 years behind on supporting the creation of new multifamily housing, Franke says.
He asserts in his presentation that “Development is coming; it is time for our communities to guide the right type of development in the right places.”
Meanwhile, Franke said, since 2012 the construction of market-rate apartments has been one of the hottest types of commercial real estate investment and development. He cited Oak Creek, Kenosha, Pleasant Prairie, Menomonee Falls and Greenfield as places where the construction of market-rate multifamily housing has been occurring.
Franke said it’s not just millennials who choose apartment living. For example, at Drexel Town Square in Oak Creek, with hundreds of apartments being built there, “It’s not just millennials,” he said. “There’s a lot of (baby) boomers in there. … Many times they go back to a smaller home; many times they stay.”
“Now, that’s not the only thing we’re going for” with this Foxconn-related housing effort, Franke emphasized.
“But, the bottom line is: Many of these Foxconn employees will not come in and buy a single-family home. That takes a long-term commitment. I think with any new enterprise like we’re going to experience with Foxconn, everybody’s going to want to stick their toe in the water. So, you need to have a place for people to live.”
That means having as many housing options as possible, Franke said, including condominiums for sale or rent, townhouses and so on.
“We’re trying to begin the conversation,” Franke told the County Board.
Franke’s housing presentation identifies several challenges to creating the needed housing.
One is that, with a dearth of modern multifamily housing in eastern Racine County, it’s difficult to know how much people are willing to pay for that type. In Oak Creek’s newest apartment developments, monthly rents range from $1,100 to $1,400 for a one-bedroom unit. “In the communities that are adjacent to us,” Franke said, “they are paying that.”
Another is the REC, or residential equivalent charge, that developers pay to offset the costs of water and sewer infrastructure.
A third potential problem is inflated land prices driven by Foxconn-related land speculation. “Developers will not overpay,” Franke said. “They will just go out(ward).”
RCEDC and Delagrave have given Franke multiple tasks. He said the first is to get municipalities east of I-94 thinking positively about creating 21st century residential development, both ownership and rental.
“Too many of them are saying, ‘No apartments,’ and that’s just not the right answer,” Franke said. “If that’s the answer, then Oak Creek and Somers and points south and north will benefit, and Racine (County) just won’t grow. And we won’t get that disposable income that we’re trying to achieve.”
Franke said if the greater Racine area is to land future Foxconn employees, housing development projects must start next summer. That would bring new housing options into being by 2020.
He plans to share his housing study with any area public officials that are interested.
OAK CREEK — Amazon is not commenting on whether it may bring a four-story fulfillment center with more than 1,000 full-time jobs to a new business park being created along Interstate 94 in Oak Creek. According to regulatory documents filed June 26 with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources by Pinnacle Engineering Group, Ryan Business Park LLC has a potential construction project on the east side of I-94 at Ryan Road for a “commercial warehouse and distribution facility serving as an internet retail fulfillment center.”
Despite the seeming specificity of that description fitting Amazon, the key developer, Michael Faber, said in fact he’s been talking with two “very large” potential users and hopes to land one of them. The business park would only accommodate one of them, he said.
“I would love to have a big user like (Amazon),” said Faber, founder and owner of Capstone Development Co. which does business as Capstone Quadrangle.
“As of today (Wednesday), I have nothing signed with anybody,” Faber said. In addition to talking with the two very large prospects, he said he’s also been in talks with “several” mid-size prospects for his business park which has about 90 developable acres and about 105 total acres.
The 2.56-million-square-foot Oak Creek building referred to in the regulatory filing would be 80 feet tall with a footprint of 669,000 square feet.
If indeed Amazon did come to that site, it would be using a smaller footprint than Amazon’s Kenosha operations. There, Amazon has a 1-million-square-foot fulfillment center and an adjacent 500,000-square-foot sortation center.
The regulatory filing also perhaps hints the proposed building could be a project for Amazon because it is referred to as Project Arrow; Amazon’s logo incorporates a curved arrow.
The filing describes a parking lot for 1,800 automobiles.
Asked about the possibility of Amazon opening a new fulfillment center in Oak Creek, company spokeswoman Alyssa Tran responded, “Amazon is constantly investigating new locations to support the growth and increase the flexibility of its North American network to address customers’ needs. Amazon is not yet commenting on any specific plans in Wisconsin.”
Doug Seymour, City of Oak Creek director of community development, declined to say whether the city has had discussions with any particular potential occupant for Ryan Business Park.
“Amazon is not yet commenting on any specific plans in Wisconsin.” Alyssa Tran, Amazon spokeswoman
MOUNT PLEASANT — Paul Schumacher’s life was cut short on Sunday, exactly two months shy of the date set for his ordination as a deacon in the Catholic Church.
Schumacher, 58, of Mount Pleasant, was driving home from a visit with his father, who lives in the dementia ward of a nursing home in the Green Bay area, when his vehicle was struck by a motorcyclist in the Town of Morrison in Brown County. Both the motorcyclist and Schumacher died at the scene.
Schumacher’s wife, Lisa, said her husband and his classmates were looking forward to beginning their work in the diaconate.
“They could not wait to be ordained and get out there and get into the community and help people,” she said.
Paul Schumacher had been taking classes through the Milwaukee Archdiocese for the past four years, working toward that goal.
“He absolutely loved delving into his faith and learning how he’d be able to help others be deep in their faith,” Lisa said.
Father Ricardo Martin, pastor at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 2201 Northwestern Ave., where Paul Schumacher and his wife had been parishioners for about eight years, said the news of Paul’s death came as a “punch in the gut.”
Martin was excited to have Schumacher, whom he described as a “great friend,” begin in his new role with the church. Martin said Paul was “warm, joyful and a genuinely nice guy.”
“We have grief not only for what he was but for what he was going to be,” Martin said.
Paul was born in 1960 in Outagamie County. His passion for the church started early, and he spent his freshman year of high school at St. Lawrence Seminary. While there, he rethought his plans, deciding that he might want a wife and family, so he returned to his home in the Village of Kimberly. Soon after that, his mother died of cancer. Paul ended up graduating from West De Pere High School.
Paul moved to Racine with his first wife in the mid-1980s. Together, they had three children, but later divorced. In the mid-1990s, Schumacher met Lisa at a Halloween party in a barn in northern Wisconsin.
“I was dressed up as a Harley chick and he didn’t know if that was a costume or not and he didn’t have a costume and I wasn’t quite sure if that was a costume or not,” she said.
They started dating a few months later. On their second date, he showed her photos of his kids.
“One of the things when we dated that I found so attractive in him was his love for his children and that everything he did, every decision he made was with his children first,” Lisa said. “That was such a standout to me.”
Together the couple had one son, Henry, who is now 15. And, as one of 13 siblings, Schumacher had a large extended family, with six grandchildren and 53 nieces and nephews.
“Every single one of them were the lights of his life,” Lisa Schumacher said.
One of the things his wife appreciated most about Paul was his kindness.
“If he was talking to you, you felt like he was talking to you,” Lisa said. “He was never distracted. You were his focus.”
He would make coffee and bring it to her in bed in the morning.
“He treated me like a queen,” she said.
Instead of giving gifts for Christmas, Paul spent extra time with his children. He would have one-on-one dinners with each of them once a month.
“Those moments, I think, are what we’re going to miss because those were filled with love,” Lisa said.
Paul worked in client services for Leeward Business Advisers in Kenosha. He loved camping and bacon and was a fan of the Packers and the Bucks.
Lisa said she’ll also miss the conversations with her husband.
“He had an incredible sense of humor,” she said. “He made you laugh, and he made you smile and he made you feel so good. We’ll miss that greatly.”
An education fund has been set up for Paul and Lisa’s son. Contributions can be dropped off at the parish office or sent to Sacred Heart Parish, c/o Henry Schumacher Education Fund, 2201 Northwestern Ave., Racine, WI 53404.
This article has been updated since publication to correct funeral service information.
KENOSHA — A motorcyclist killed Sunday night in a hit-and-run crash in Kenosha has been identified as 19-year-old Sturtevant resident Zachariah Bulanow, Kenosha police said Wednesday afternoon.
Bulanow was killed at about 9:11 p.m. Sunday in the 6400 block of 75th Street (Highway 50) near Highway 31 when his motorcycle and a vehicle collided, police said.
The driver of the vehicle, Paul A. Turner, 29, of Kenosha, fled the scene but turned himself over to police on Monday.
On Wednesday, Turner, of the 2600 block of 29th Street, was charged with felony counts of homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle and hit-and-run involving death.
Turner was reportedly driving a friend’s SUV just after 9 p.m. Sunday when he pulled out of a gas station parking lot and headed east in the westbound lanes of Highway 50 just east of Green Bay Road.
According to the criminal complaint:
A witness who was driving behind the motorcycle said the driver of the SUV attempted to turn north into the Aldi grocery store parking lot and collided with the motorcycle. The witness reportedly told police the driver of the SUV “initially stopped, then fled the scene.”
That witness stopped and attempted to help, but Bulanow had suffered “severe lacerations to his neck” and died of blood loss at the scene.
A second witness, a friend of Bulanow who was also driving behind the motorcycle, saw the crash, stopped to check on his friend, then followed the SUV when he saw the driver flee. According to the complaint, that witness followed the SUV to the 3900 block of 55th Street, where the driver got out of the vehicle and left on foot.
Turner turned himself in to Kenosha Police the next morning.
Turner reportedly told police he had driven a friend’s car to get pizza. He said he had drank a small amount of alcohol before the crash. Speaking to police, Turner told a confused account of the crash, saying he may have driven into the westbound lanes “and turned in a circle and drove back in the driveway he had come out of and was struck by something at that time.”
Turner told police he fled because he thought he had been “rammed from behind” and that he thought someone was trying to kill him because cars were following him.
Defense attorney Kristyne Watson noted at Turner’s initial court appearance that Turner was a lifelong Kenosha resident and that he is employed at a food production plant. “I think it is important to note that he did turn himself in, and he was cooperative with law enforcement,” she said.
Retired Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge Barbara Kluka, acting as court commissioner Wednesday, set Turner’s bond at $75,000.
“This incident resulted in the death of another human being,” Kluka said. “You did not stay at the scene to see if this individual could have been helped.” She said that the fact that Bulanow could likely not have been saved “doesn’t make a difference as far as your conduct.”
Turner is next expected in court on July 19.