Northwest Side Community Development Corporation (NWSCDC), established in 1983, is a Certified CDFI that provides mid-sized business loans to firms located on the northwest side of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The mission of the NWSCDC is to remake the northwest side of Milwaukee – once a booming industrial district surrounded by thriving middle-class neighborhoods – into a preferred destination for businesses and residents.
The Northwest Side Community Development Corporation (NWSCDC) has received numerous federal grants since 2000, and has used these funds to serve the economic development needs of Milwaukee’s low-income communities. These grants have supported our business lending capabilities to make over $10 million in loans, leveraging more than $35 million of public and private investment and created over 1,000 jobs in our service area since 2000.
In 2008, the NWSCDC closed a $580,000 loan to DRS Technologies. The loan was part of an $11 million facility upgrade that helped create 51 new manufacturing positions for low-income workers. DRS is a high-tech manufacturer of power and control systems for US Navy ships and submarines. The NWSCDC loan also fostered the creation of a business incubator within the DRS facility, which supported 22 jobs for low-income individuals at Universal Housing Systems (a tenant of the incubator).
The success of the DRS project was highlighted in the cover story of the September issue of Profitwise News and Views published by the Community Development and Policy Studies Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. The article, “The Northwest Side Community Development Corporation: transforming the approach to creating positive economic impact in distressed communities,” outlined how this unique collaboration could serve as a national template for community-corporate relations.
The NWSCDC closed a loan in 2009 to Capital Foods, the operator of Lena’s Grocery stores, for a retail expansion. Lena’s is an African-American owned local grocery chain in Milwaukee. Lena’s used the $600,000 loan from the NWSCDC to fund a redevelopment of its Midtown Center location. Lena’s separated 13,000 square feet of retail space and leased it to CitiTrends, a publicly traded, national retailer. The loan supported the creation of 40 jobs at CitiTrends and Lena’s (which now operates as a Piggly Wiggly). This loan marked the NWSCDC’s second loan to Lena’s. The first supported the build-out of Lena’s Food Market at a former Kohl’s grocery store in the Atkinson-Capitol-Teutonia triangle in 2007.
The Villard Square Grandfamily development provides an in-depth look at the NWSCDC’s efforts prior to and during 2010.
In early 2011, the NWSCDC closed on a $640,000 loan to Nature Tech as part of a $7.6 million deal. Nature Tech represents great potential for job creation in a growing, sustainable industry of “green” building products.
Nature Tech was one of the first companies to receive a loan from the State of Wisconsin’s Wisconsin Energy Independence Fund. The company also received a $381,700 Brownfield environmental cleanup grant for the 174,000 square-foot building they purchased in 2009. The building, located at 5400 W. Good Hope Road, formerly housed a printing operation.
Nature Tech makes extremely high-performing home insulation out of recycled paper. Nature Tech also owns the patent rights and equipment to develop and produce several other “green building” products. Our loan will help Nature Tech finish the rehabilitation of its property and hire 40 workers.
On February 15th, 2012, President Barack Obama recognized the innovative efforts of Diamond Precision, a manufacturing plant that received a loan from the NWSCDC to expand its operations and create jobs for low-income individuals in Milwaukee. In his speech at the Master Lock plant in Milwaukee, President Obama stressed the importance of “Insourcing” to American recovery efforts, praised Milwaukee’s impressive job-creation projects, and commended Diamond Precision on bringing work back to the United States that had been previously performed overseas.
In 2010, the NWSCDC was awarded a CED grant which was used to provide a $700,000 loan to Diamond Precision. The loan allowed Diamond Precision to continue its expansion by purchasing equipment and making improvements to its manufacturing facility. Two years ago, the company had 55 employees and was struggling to retain them. Today, between plants in Johnson Creek and Milwaukee, Diamond Precision has more than doubled its workforce. The company is an example of the critical role that manufacturing jobs will play in the economic future of Milwaukee and the nation as a whole. Diamond Precision plans to add up to 40 new jobs in the near future and as many as 100 jobs as a result of its expansion.
In early 2013 NWSCDC closed on a $628,750 loan to Tom Ryan, President of Jonco Industries, for the purchase and build-out of Century City Tower, formerly the Eaton Corporation headquarters. Jonco Industries has seen continual growth in recent years, adding almost 30 new jobs to date on Milwaukee’s northwest side. The success of Jonco Industries has been complemented by the growth and excitement occurring at Century City Tower, now a multi-tenant office space with lab equipment being utilized by the Midwest Energy Research Consortium’s Energy Innovation Center (EIC). The EIC will provide shared administrative and lab space for start-ups, as well as academic and industry research. In the spring of 2014 Jonco Industries received a Business Journal Central City Business Award for its dedication to creating jobs and economic development.
In 2014, NWSCDC received a financial assistance award of $309,188 from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. In late 2014, NWSCDC was awarded a CED grant that was used to close on a loan to HellermannTyton, in participation with the Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). The loan is part of a $10 million, 102,000-square-foot expansion of HellermannTyton’s facility at 6701 W. Good Hope Road. The project will create 125 jobs within the next 5 years. Hourly workers in the Good Hope Road building earn $11 to $32 an hour. HellermannTyton’s products are used in the automotive industry, and sales for renewable energy uses such as solar and wind power equipment are growing. NWSCDC will work with HellermannTyton to ensure a portion of the jobs created by the project are filled by low-income residents from the Northwest side of Milwaukee.
In 2015 NWSCDC was awarded a CED grant which was used to close a $700,000 loan to SIC Lazaro US, a manufacturer of crane and elevator counterweights located at 7044 N Teutonia Ave, just off Good Hope Road. This is the US headquarters for SIC Lazaro, a Spanish manufacturer investing and growing jobs here in Milwaukee. This project is expected to create 40 new jobs over three years, and the majority of these new positions will be filled by formerly low-income individuals. NWSCDC partnered with Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) in a shared participation loan to provide Sic Lazaro with working capital to increase production and hiring.
NWSCDC also completed a loan to the MidWest Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) in 2015. This loan supports M-WERC as it continues to grow the Energy Innovation Center (EIC) for the organization and expansion of businesses in the energy, power, and controls economic cluster centered in Milwaukee. The EIC’s location in the Century City Tower strategically draws on the rich experience of this facility as the former research division for Eaton Corp and Cutler-Hammer, and the continued proximity to universities and major energy controls firms including DRS Power Technologies.
In 2016 NWSCDC grew our business lending capacity and partnerships by accepting private investments from two banks into our business lending fund. This “patient capital” assists us to make business financing available which may be more creative or flexible than banks would traditionally provide. In late 2016 NWSCDC closed on a loan to PacLogix, helping the company grow and take on new contracts in their facility near Teutonia Ave and Hampton Ave. Also in 2016 a new CED grant was awarded to support a business expansion loan for Compo Steel Products, a custom metal fabricator.
In October 2016 we hosted a major event, “30th Street Corridor Like You’ve Never Seen It Before,” highlighting new catalytic opportunities to pair environmental remediation with business attraction and development in Milwaukee’s 30th Street Corridor area.
In 2017 NWSCDC completed two loans for over $1 million in financing. The first loan to Compo Steel Products was supported by a 2016 CED grant, and will allow the company to take on new contracts and grow 30 new jobs in welding, material handling and related positions. The second loan, later in the year, was supported by a 2017 CED grant. This new loan to Diamond Precision Products will allow the company to keep growing their Milwaukee operation to create 40 additional positions.
NWSCDC was also a sponsor of the 2017 Milwaukee Small Business Week, hosting a session on Small Business Capital and Financing on May 4th, 2017 at Century City Tower. Ten different small business financing entities presented information, including banks, non-profit lending funds, venture capital, and more.
In early 2018 we are planning to close on an expanded loan to M-WERC, building on our previous financing relationship and assisting M-WERC to continue build-out of the Energy Innovation Center inside the Century City Tower. M-WERC is attracting new businesses through its “WERC-Bench Labs” accelerator program and a new initiative called “Technology Acceleration and Growth” or TAG Korea, in which South Korean entrepreneurs and businesses prepared for US business capitalization and investment. Some of the Korean businesses have already expressed interest in locating in the 30th Street Corridor area.
We are always looking for additional projects, and welcome referrals for new deals!