BROKAW, WI (WSAU) - The idle Brokaw Paper Mill has a new owner as of yesterday. Brokaw Development LLC is a new division of Niagara Worldwide, which manages and develops industrial property and assets around the world. It has purchased the mill property from Wausau paper for an undisclosed price.
President Eric Spirtas specializes in bringing new life to old manufacturing sites. He says, “We're looking for interested manufacturers, interested industrial players that want to get to the Wisconsin business region and they want to do business. They need rail, they need good water access, and they need good highway access, and we say “come to us.” Spirtas says the Brokaw site has all of these things.
Spirtas believes that all too often, people will look at the past and believe they are just suited to that one product they used to produce. “It doesn't mean that it's a paper town, it's an industrial town, and that town needs the work, wants the work, and can sustain the work.” He says it's important to think outside of what the site was used for and start asking what is needed, and what can you do with this property or that asset.
President Spirtas is very complimentary of Wisconsin's work force, having worked with another previous mill site in Niagara, Wisconsin along the upper Michigan border. He says, “The people and the hard workers in that Wisconsin town, as well as some of the other Wisconsin towns where I've acquired assets are so seasoned and able.”
The sale is also good for Wausau Paper. Perry D. Grueber is the Director of Investor Relations for Wausau Paper. Grueber is pleased the property is now in the hands of a an organization that's in an excellent position to redevelop it for the betterment of the community. He says “The sale of the industrial properties at Brokaw was key to Wausau paper from the standpoint that, as local residents, we are very interested in seeing that property redeveloped and put back into a viable commercial use for the local Wausau community and the region.” In addition to selling the mill, Wausau Paper will also save operating costs. Grueber confirms that the sale of the Brokaw property means that all maintenance and operations from a baseline level will be the responsibility of the new owner from now on.
There are no immediate development plans, but Spirtas has already been contacting potential manufacturers and business leaders that might be interested in all or part of the Brokaw site. He says, “Yes, we've got several different people that we are talking to, and there are certain people that are even interested in going under contract. It's moving so quick.” “There's very interested people that like parts, portions, and areas on that site already.”