Agreement approved for Nouryon to develop OMNOVA site
By Kevin Boneske
HOWARD – An approximately 80-acre site in Howard where one company is planning to end operations has interested another company to take over.
The Howard village board unanimously voted Monday, April 22, to approve a development agreement between the village and Nouryon Pulp and Performance Chemicals LLC, which expressed an interest in bringing a chemical production process to the current OMNOVA site at 1701 Cornell Road.
Last June, OMNOVA announced it would be closing its site this year in Howard, which Village Administrator Paul Evert noted would result in the loss of 48 jobs and the village also losing one of its largest water and sewer customers.
To attract another company to that location, the village has designated the site as its ninth Tax Incremental Financing District.
The project plan that goes along with the creation of the TIF District includes a pay-as-you-go incentive over 20 years for Nouryon, which indicated in the development agreement the company would continue to use the facility as a manufacturing plant and invest at least $50 million.
That plan also calls for $750,000 worth of road and utility infrastructure improvements and another $250,000 for a roundabout extension to provide improved access that may spur the redevelopment of nearby properties.
Brad Migdal, senior managing director of business incentives practice for the commercial real estate service firm Cushman & Wakefield, appeared before the board to represent Nouryon to discuss the company’s interest in developing the property.
He said the intent is to close on the purchase in the second half of May.
Upon Nouryon obtaining the property, Migdal said the company plans to hire the same amount of employees, if not more, compared to the number OMNOVA has had at the site.
Migdal said the OMNOVA facility would be reconstructed “to manufacture a product that would be for the first time manufactured in the United States.”
“The amount of power and water that would be used is astronomical…,” he said. “They’re going to be using reactors, which will create a lot of power, so WPS (Wisconsin Public Service), your local power provider, has been extremely supportive of this project, as well as WEDC (Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation) in contributing to this project as well.”
Migdal noted Nouryon is a spinoff company from Akzo Nobel, which currently has a presence in Howard.
“The product that they make is unique, and I don’t even understand half of it,” he said. “I’m not a chemist, but I can tell you that it’s almost in every application used today.”
Migdal said Nouryon, which is looking to close on obtaining the OMNOVA site May 20, has been between looking at two other sites to locate, one in North America and the other overseas.
“It’s going to be a significant capital investment,” he said. “I can tell you that once we put it there, it’s not going away the next day.”
Though the figure of at least $50 million in new development is listed in the agreement, Migdal said the full dollar amount isn’t known at this point and could end up being more once the project improvements have been completed and the property is subsequently reassessed.
The base value for that property at 1701 Cornell Road is presently listed in the development agreement at just under $8.2 million.
Under the development agreement, Evert said the incentive the village would pay to Nouryon is slated to vary over 20 years with 100 percent of the new property tax revenue paid back in the first six years, then reduced to 75 percent in years 7-11, decreased to 50 percent in years 12-16 and lowered to 25 percent in years 17-20.