2013 Local Economy Predictions
Posted: February 1, 2013
I get asked on a regular basis what I think about the state of the local economy. For nearly 25 years, I've reported about business news in the Chippewa Valley and am fortunate to gain insight about what may or may not happen during any given year. A few years ago I decided to share my predictions with my readers about what I think could highlight the economic development activity for the rest of the year.
In my opinion, much of the positive development in Eau Claire County will occur in the River Prairie project in the City of Altoona. I will report in the next week about who will occupy a major portion of the financial services building on the northeast corner of the Highway 53 Freeway and River Prairie Drive. There will also be stories about development in that same area involving a motel, gas/convenience store and other commercial users.
There is a Fortune 500 company from the Silicon Valley that will be occupying space in a building in Eau Claire. I have a good feeling that the information will become public within the next few weeks. My guess is that the firm will start with about 30 employees with the potential to have up to 100 workers within the next few years.
In Chippewa County, I can confidently predict that the Stanley area will continue to see development within the alternative energy sector. The agreement reported recently between Ace Ethanol and Sweetwater Energy is the precursor to better things happening in that part of the county. Downtown Chippewa Falls is in the process of a positive transformation that should continue in the coming year.
In addition, I have a reliable source who tells me that the Lake Wissota Business Park will soon receive state certification as a shovel-ready development. That should assist with attracting more businesses and creating jobs. There is also the likelihood that an agriculture-related company will locate in the New Auburn area and that the former Pactiv complex could have a new user by the end of the year.
Dunn County should also experience significant growth in 2013. The new economic development director, Eric Turner, assures me that a large corporation and a smaller business are both looking to expand in the Menomonie area. He tells me there is a lot of "pent-up demand" from companies that have expansion plans and signs point to a good year for economic development in Dunn County.
There are stories on the horizon in the financial industry, grocery store sector and others that should make 2013 a great year for economic development. I look forward to relaying that information to readers.