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Chr. Hansen takes another step to expand West Allis headquarters:

Monday, November 26, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
West Allis manufacturer Chr. Hansen Inc. is taking another step to prepare for a major expansion: rezoning the neighboring Knights of Columbus banquet hall.

Chr. Hansen develops and produces cultures, enzymes, probiotics and natural colors for a variety of foods, beverages, dietary supplements and animal feed.

The company is based in Denmark, and has over 3,000 employees across 30 countries. 

Its Milwaukee-area operations have around 300 employees. Most of them work at the company's U.S. headquarters in West Allis, at 9015 W. Maple St.

Chr. Hansen wants the West Allis Common Council to amend the city’s comprehensive plan and zoning map for the Knights of Columbus building at 1800 S. 92nd St.

That would change the land use classification from commercial to industrial and office, and rezone the site from neighborhood commercial district to manufacturing district.

That's according to a pair of resolutions which the Plan Commission is to review at its Wednesday night meeting.

The Knights of Columbus building is adjacent to Chr. Hansen's operations. It would apparently be demolished in late spring 2019.

The company is planning to expand on to that site, according to a Plan Commission report.

"Chr. Hansen cannot reasonably use the property as a continuation of its U.S, headquarters as it is currently zoned," the report said.

"The land use re-classifications and re-zonings are intended to lay the ground work for a larger vision for the Chr. Hansen site," it said.

The report doesn't provide any additional information about Chr. Hansen's future expansion plans.

A company spokeswoman has said more information will be released as the plans are finalized.

The Knights of Columbus banquet hall is still open, and will continue to host events through April, according to its manager.

The property is to be transferred to Chr. Hansen in May, she said.

The rezoning request comes after Chr. Hansen in October received city permission to raze some residential rental properties near its U.S. headquarters for a future expansion.

Most of those buildings are located between West Maple and West Mitchell streets, west of South 89th Street.

The other targeted buildings are located on the south side of the intersection of West Lapham and South 91st streets.

With the latest proposed rezoning, Chr. Hansen will control the entire area bordered mainly by the railroad tracks, as well as West Mitchell, South 89th and South 92nd streets.

The company's area facilities include two freezers at its New Berlin operations, 16300 W. Lincoln Ave., that are nearly 70 below zero — making them one of the coldest workplaces on earth.

The freezers store bacteria cultures used to make cheeses, yogurts and other dairy products, as well as wine and meat products.

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