Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Committee Okays Douglas Dynamics Expansion

Company expects to add up to 50 manufacturing jobs at expanded N. 76th St. campus.

By - Oct 30th, 2019 03:59 pm
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Douglas Dynamics expansion plan. Image from Douglas Dynamics.

Douglas Dynamics expansion plan. Image from Douglas Dynamics.

Douglas Dynamics, a manufacturer of work truck equipment, is planning to expand its Milwaukee manufacturing facility and headquarters. It has acquired a car dealership bordering its N. 73rd St. campus and is planning to redevelop the site as an expanded manufacturing plant with space for up to 50 more employees.

The publicly-traded company is the leading manufacturer of snowplows and ice removal equipment. It traces its history back to the formation of Western Welding and Manufacturing in 1950 and Fisher Engineering in 1948.

“I’m probably the only person in the room that was glad it snowed last night,” said company engineering manager Jim Smith on Tuesday morning at a meeting of the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee. The company is pursuing a zoning change to accommodate the expansion.

Douglas Dynamics paid $2.2 million in April for the 8.9-acre property at 7676 N. 76th St. that was most recently occupied by a Russ Darrow Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram car dealership. It will repurpose the buildings on the site for its use. Approximately 42,000 square feet of space would be used for manufacturing and assembly, with the remaining 10,000 square feet used for offices.

“We have reached out to many neighbors and so far no opposition or questions about this,” said Smith to the committee. He detailed how the company would reduce the number of entrance and exit points onto N. 76th St. in order to improve traffic flow and reduce the impact on N. 76th St.

Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II asked how many jobs are planned to be added and what types. “We plan at the onset about 20 or so and we hope to double that quickly over time,” said Smith. He said that would include everything from packaging to welding jobs. Stamper asked for more information when it was available so he could promote the openings to his constituents.

Smith said that green space on the south end of the site would be maintained.

Douglas Dynamics currently has about 300 employees at its headquarters at 7777 N. 73rd St. and 1,600 employees nationwide. It will hire between 20 to 50 people at the new facility, said Smith.

The committee unanimously endorsed the change. The proposal will be reviewed by the full Common Council next week. The City Plan Commission unanimously endorsed the change in early October.

Darrow has relocated the dealership to the Metro Auto Mall near Interstate 41 and W. Good Hope Rd.

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Related Legislation: File 190781

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