Midway Business Park gets a business

Sandra ClarkEast Knox

A Wisconsin-based company will construct its fourth corporate campus at the Midway Business Park in East Knox County. Knox County Commission approved a tax abatement plan at its April 22 meeting.

Greenheck Group manufactures industrial ventilation systems and related equipment. It was founded by brothers Bob and Bernie Greenheck in 1947 as a sheet-metal shop in Schofield, Wisconsin. Now the company has manufacturing facilities in Schofield; Frankfort, Kentucky; Rocklin, California; Tulsa, Oklahoma; King’s Mountain, North Carolina; Shelby, North Carolina; Saltillo, Mexico; and Bawal, India; plus, five distribution centers.

“This is one of the largest economic development projects in Knox County’s history in terms of both land and capital investment,” said Doug Lawyer, Knoxville Chamber vice president of economic development. “The Greenheck team has been amazing to work with from the beginning, and I believe the positive relationship we have built is indicative of how they treat everyone they encounter.”

The contract has “two more steps” before closing, Lawyer said. Then he anticipates a ground-breaking in the fall and construction in 18-24 months for the first two buildings. Greenheck will occupy the entire business park.

A press release from the governor’s office said the project will create 440 new jobs and invest $300 million in Knox County initially with room for future growth.

The Midway campus will include manufacturing and warehousing facilities as well as a main office and dedicated space for training and research and development.

Greenheck Group CEO Rich Totzke said in the release that Knoxville’s innovative spirit aligns with the values the Greenheck brothers established more than 75 years ago. “We couldn’t be more excited to become part of the vibrant Knoxville community, which provides not only strategic proximity to our customers, but also talented people, outstanding community partners and a welcoming culture.”

Greenheck Group is one of Wisconsin’s largest privately owned manufacturers. Today, it employs more than 5,000 people across its operations worldwide.

The release contained quotes from Gov. Bill Lee and other officials.

The Midway Business Park has had a contentious history since land off Thorn Grove Pike was secretly assembled during the administration of Mayor Mike Ragsdale. Mayor Tim Burchett struggled with development of the tract amid opposition from the neighbors.

The resolution Greenheck passed unanimously by the county commission provides that ownership of the land will remain with the county’s Industrial Development Board. Ad valorum taxes will be assessed on the building and major equipment. Greenheck will get a 10-year tax abatement that could go to 15 years if metrics are met.


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