Aug 3, 2015

Sub-Zero/Wolf to build $62M plant addition in Fitchburg

Excerpted from Wisconsin State Journal

By Judy Newman

Sub-Zero Group, maker of the upscale Sub-Zero and Wolf kitchen appliances, will build a $62 million addition onto one of its Fitchburg plants and plans to hire 300 employees over the next three years.

Sub-Zero officials chose the Fitchburg site in July over a location in Kentucky that has been the anticipated home of a new dishwasher line for eight years.

Instead, the company’s new Cove dishwashers will be built here, along with expanded production for Wolf ranges.

The project includes the purchase of 33 acres, expanding Sub-Zero’s Fitchburg campus, southeast of the intersection of McKee and Verona roads, to 99 acres. It will add 400,000 square feet to the existing Wolf factory, more than doubling the size of the building to 755,000 square feet.

A total of at least $5 million worth of state and local incentives is part of the deal.

Site preparation is just beginning. The project, being built by Ideal Builders, is expected to be completed in fall 2016, with the Cove dishwashers debuting in 2017.

Privately owned Sub-Zero Group — one of Dane County’s largest employers — has been talking publicly about adding a line of dishwashers to its stable of high-end refrigeration and freezer units, ranges and wine coolers since 2007. But the plan was to manufacture the dishwashers in Richmond, Kentucky. The company had an 80,000-square-foot building constructed in Richmond, but it has sat vacant all this time, said Chuck Verri, vice president of human resources.

Verri said several factors prompted Sub-Zero Group to choose the Fitchburg location over Richmond, but the biggest was a new contract with Wolf employees.

“The six-year labor agreement extension that we received with Wolf (employees) last year was absolutely critical. It was the linchpin,” Verri said.

“We have an outstanding work force, Madison has a great labor pool for us to draw from, we have the land, and the assistance program. All of those pieces of the puzzle made the picture.”

As for the employee count, a presentation by Sub-Zero Group to the city of Fitchburg showed the company has a total of 1,052 employees in Fitchburg: 384 office staff; 316 in the Sub-Zero factory; and 352 in the Wolf factory.

“I think it’s huge that the company is investing in this community, in this future, versus going overseas or going down South. Sub-Zero has made a commitment to the community that’s pretty huge, I think,” Sullivan said.

Fitchburg Mayor Steve Arnold said he is delighted that Fitchburg won the project but not surprised.

“They make terrific products, hire skilled workers from around the region. Every municipality in the region rises and falls together. We all benefit from Sub-Zero.”

Read the full article.