Sobiek discusses business happenings in city | Portage Area Chamber of Commerce

Sobiek discusses business happenings in city

Sobiek discusses Portage business developments

Steve Sobiek, City of Portage Director of Business Development & Planning, was the featured speaker at the Portage Chamber February (virtual) Business Luncheon on Tuesday, February 9, 2021.

Once a year the Chamber welcomes Steve to give an update on business happenings in the city as part of the Business Luncheons. Here are the highlights from this latest luncheon with Steve:

Late 2020 saw the following new developments and businesses reach completion:
• K & M Tire Distribution Center, a new 50,000 sf Phase 1 development, 2500 Boeck Road
• S & L Co. (Culver’s Franchise) headquarters 6,600 sf expansion, 2651 Kirking Court
• Burger King, a new 3,300 restaurant, 2960 New Pinery Road
• Arby’s, 2921 New Pinery Road
• The newly redeveloped Portage Mart, a Liberty Kwik Stop, has opened at 601 E. Wisconsin Street.

Construction of a new Alliant Electric Substation on Cemetery Road, an impressive 15 acre development, is currently underway. Once completed, this new electric infrastructure development will help meet Portage’s growing electrical needs, particularly industrial, in the years ahead. It will also house a new 5MG battery, storage from solar generation.

Portage Lumber is redeveloping and has consolidated two parcels on Wauona Trail and Thompson Street to facilitate an addition.

Nine new single family homes were constructed in 2020, a record number in recent history. This new home construction has been led by Valido Homes, Pewaukee, recruited to Portage in late 2019. Homes built by Valido Homes were constructed on Moorland Circle, Eagle Ridge Court and W. Slifer Street.
City of Portage discussions with both single family and multi-family developers are currently underway to bring new residential construction to Portage.

UW-Extension Columbia County is facilitating an Affordable Housing Task Force for the Portage area to assist with more affordable housing here.

Upcoming Developments:
• Dollar General will construct a new 9,800 sq. ft. store on a newly configured -and soon to be redeveloped 38,000 sq. ft. parcel at Brady Street and E. Wisconsin Street in the Spring.
• Former Divine Savior Healthcare Nursing Home, 715 W. Pleasant St.–New owner and developer JD Kath is working with a Milwaukee development firm to put together a redevelopment proposal for this site, including residential.
• Several manufacturing businesses will be expanding in 2021 with  planned additions or new product lines.
• Development of a new industrial facility is expected to move ahead on a 20 acre site in the Portage Industrial park. The multi-phase development, including
a rail spur, is expected to start later in 2021.
• Remediation and renovation/redevelopment of former Antique Mall/Strip It Shop, 114 W. Cook Street, is expected under the helm of the Community
Development Authority (CDA) in partnership with a private developer. The City applied for and received a DNR WAM environmental assessment grant as
Columbia County is moving to foreclose on the property for delinquent property taxes, transferring title to the City.

New Businesses:
• MSH Auto Sales has opened at 515 E. Wisconsin Street
• Portage Motors has relocated to 116 Brooks Street
• Main Street Consignment opened at 13 Main Street
• Framery at R. Condon Gallery at 223 W. Cook Street
• Fisher King Winery distribution center has relocated from the Madison area and opened in the Portage Enterprise Center
• Sadly, Stock+Field will close all stores, including Portage, in 2021
• The Portage Enterprise Center will see four additional new welding stations (for a total of 10) have been added to the Advanced Manufacturing Training
Center. This will allow for more welding class capacity and training and an additional two welding camps for middle school students in the coming years.

Columbia Power Plant will close by December 2024 to achieve renewable electric power generation goals. A third party contractor will be brought in to assist with a plan for the reuse of this facility that includes a rail spur.

Sign Code
After a year-long process, including a significant public engagement process, the Plan Commission and City Council have adopted a sign code update, now in effect. The sign code revision was necessary to comply with the Reed v. Gilbert Supreme Court decision and Wisconsin State Statutes. In addition, it reflects modern business sign practices and new sign technology, and increase user-friendliness and administration. An effort was made to keep the existing rules that were working, but provide additional clarity to sign regulations.

Seven new permitted sign types added: Marquee, Blade, Menu Board, Order Board, Flag, Building Management ID, and Feather
The updated sign code can be viewed here.

CGI Community Video Project. The City of Portage will participate in a community video project to promote the City through CGI. This project will produce five 2- minute promotional videos on Portage, with no cost to the City. Business sponsorships will underwrite the cost of the project. Thank you to all Portage businesses who are sponsoring this project to benefit Portage! CGI, a New York state-based community video production company, is currently working with City Staff, including department heads, to produce the five videos promoting Portage. CGI will film actual footage for the videos, supplemented by still photo shots, in Portage this Spring.

Portage COVID-19 Business Relief Loan Program
The City of Portage COVID-19 Business Relief Loan program is available to Portage businesses that have been adversely impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible businesses must have less than 20 employees, have a physical presence in the city of Portage, and have been in business at least two months prior to March 12, 2020. The maximum loan amount is $2,000 with a 0 percent interest rate. The City’s Community Development Authority (CDA) serves as the loan committee with authority to approve or deny the loans on a case by case basis. Information, loan program guidelines and an application form for this business loan program and an application can be accessed here and here.

Contact Steve Sobiek for questions or further info at:    608.745.0038

COVID-19 Business resources are available through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp at:

Federal COVID-19 Business Relief Programs
The Federal government offers a variety of Coronavirus relief programs available to small businesses through the Small Business Administration, including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans, and Express Bridge loans. THE SBA is preparing to offer Shuttered Venue Operators Grants and Targeted EIDL Advance (Limited eligibility) in the future.

For more information, visit:

Brad Conrad