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Is Bishops Bay Back? Terrence Wall Thinks So...

Terrence Wall has a well-known reputation as a fierce competitor and an ambitious capitalist. But sitting in his modest office in downtown Middleton, speaking with earnest enthusiasm in a soft-spoken voice, there is a hint of dreamy, boyish sentiment in the way he talks about Bishops Bay, the uber-development that is once again under his control.

Surrounded by a noticeably youthful staff, the veteran developer pauses for a moment when asked if it is gratifying to have his hands back in the sprawling, multi-use project’s nuts and bolts.

“Yes,” he acknowledges, but not for the reason one might suspect.

“It’s not about wanting to be in charge,” Wall states. “It’s about once again having the ability to execute on the vision and quality of the development. It’s about re-establishing credibility with builders and realtors.”

Both his critics and his supporters agree, Wall simply doesn’t do small.

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Spectrum Brands Opens New Headquarters

Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SPB) announced Tuesday its world headquarters, several North American divisional operations and its technology center, in all totaling more than 500 full-time employees, have moved into a newly built and more economical and energy-efficient facility in the Discovery Springs area of Middleton. In January 2012 the company announced plans to move to the new facility before the end of 2013.

The company, which considered moving its world headquarters (relocated from Atlanta in 2010) and North American Remington(R) personal care operations to Miramar, Florida, where its Russell Hobbs home appliances subsidiary acquired in June 2010 already occupied a suitably sized building, decided to stay in the greater Madison area due to major space efficiencies and other cost savings, as well as Tax Increment Financing from the City of Middleton. The new building can accommodate as many as 675 full-time employees.

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Bishops Bay Back in Wall's Hands

As citizens and politicians in Middleton debate a controversial Erdman Holdings development on the other side of the community, local developer and former Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate Terrence Wall last week announced that he has regained control of the Bishops Bay development to the city’s north.

Wall is the man who first pitched the massive uber-development to the Middleton City Council, but he was later deposed when the T. Wall Properties Board of Directors voted to remove him from his position as president and CEO.

Last week’s announcement was somewhat convoluted, however, as Wall’s office made the news public in a press release sent to news outlets but later attempted to retract the statement.

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Jeweler Celebrates 80 Years

Goodman's Jewelers is celebrating an important milestone this weekend: its 80th anniversary.   

Founded in 1933, the shop is the legacy of two brothers: Robert and Irwin Goodman.

After its founding in the middle of the Great Depression, Goodman’s grew to be a thriving and vital part of the Madison business community, renowned not just for providing excellent jewelry, but also for making generous and important donations of funding support to many community staples. 

The Goodman brothers stood apart in the community as two of the most socially proactive entrepreneurs around, having made substantial contributions in multiple parts of Dane County life.  A list of all the contributions Goodman's has made to the community would take pages, but a few highly visible organizations are the Goodman Community Center and the Robert and Irwin Goodman South Branch Library, both of which bear the family name to this day.

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MOM Gives Backpacks To Students As School Year Begins

On Thursday, Aug. 22 and Friday, Aug. 23, more than 600 kids from around the West Madison and Middleton areas received a gift from Middleton Outreach Ministry and the community that will give them a boost of confidence on their upcoming first day of school.  In its 14th year, the School Supply program provided 630 school-aged children and teens with items that they will need to be successful in the upcoming year.

“Each child received a backpack filled with supplies that is customized for the grade that they will be entering,” said Judy Kujoth, Case Manager for Middleton Outreach Ministry.  “Our goal is to provide more than the basics so that they are truly prepared.  The program also supplies relief to families worried about the extra expense of the often costly supplies.”

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Hall Lumber Tax Saga Winding Down


The Middleton Common Council on July 16 approved a settlement that will give a local lumber company a property tax refund for 2011 and 2012. 

The resolution accepted by the council will give a refund totaling $7,925 payable to Hall Lumber. The contested valuation for those years was $1,167,700. A revised property valuation amount of $969,700 was determined by the Board of Review at its 2013 hearing for this year, and the city elected to settle its ongoing dispute with Hall Lumber for the years 2011 and 2012 as well. 

“We decided to settle those prior years on the same basis as the board’s 2013 determination,” said city administrator Mike Davis.

The plan approved by the city on July 16 also includes forgiveness of a $755 judgment for costs in one of multiple lawsuits filed during a three-year dispute between Hall Lumber and the city over the value of the land.



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City Board Of Review Lowers Assessment In Latest Chapter Of Hall Lumber Saga

It’s often said that a good compromise sends both sides home a little unhappy. If that’s the case, a recent decision by the Middleton Board of Review was a good compromise.

The board lowered the assessment for a local lumber yard in the latest development in a saga that will cost both the city and the business far more in legal fees than they could hope to recoup through the difference in taxes.

The board voted 4-1 to set the value of the land at $869,700, in agreement with city assessor Paul Musser. However, the board decided to only value improvements on the property at $100,000, a figure $200,000 lower than the one set by Musser.

Arguing on behalf of the city, attorney Matt Fleming contended Hall Lumber had failed to provide enough hard evidence to convince the board of review to overcome a legally required assumption that the assessor’s findings are correct.

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Once Mulling Middleton Expansion, Capital Brewery Instead Chooses Sauk

Plans to expand Capital Brewery in Middleton appear to have fallen by the wayside as multiple media outlets early this week reported that the business plans to build an $11 million, 50,000 square foot production facility in Sauk City.

Former Capital Brewery general manager Carl Nolen had been in talks with city leaders in Middleton about expanding the brewery here. But after Nolen was let go by the brewery’s board, and longtime, iconic brewmaster Kirby Nelson departed to found the Wisconsin Brewing Company with Nolen in Verona, negotiations with the city languished. 
The city at one point considered providing Tax Increment Financing to ensure that the expansion occurred here.
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Owen Tries To Lower MG&E Rates

A Middleton-based energy consultant doesn’t think MG&E’s requested yearlong rate freeze goes far enough. He believes the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) should cut the utility’s electric rates this summer.

Robert H. Owen Jr.’s degrees in meteorology, mechanical engineering and law from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and decades of work in utility regulation led him to oppose MG&E’ electric rates based on its coal-fired generating plants, he argued.

“That’s where [MG&E] distinguishes itself as the most costly utility in Wisconsin and possibly the Midwest. I haven’t found comparable ones,” Owen said in a phone interview.

Owen quotes MG&E’s 2012 annual report, in which revenues per customer reach 15.8 cents per kilowatt hour. The closest other utility is Westfield Milling and Electric at 14.3 cents per kwh, he said.

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Museum Will Go Subterranean: City Council Approves $10,000 For Moving Expenses

The National Mustard Museum is down but not out. Literally.

The Middleton Common Council voted 5-2 to provide an additional $10,000 in Tax Increment Financing for the kooky but financially troubled museum, which will soon move into the basement of the building at 7477 Hubbard Ave. where it is currently located.

Barry Levenson, owner of the National Mustard Museum, which includes both a for-profit store and a non-profit collection of memorabilia, said the money will be used for “reimbursable moving expenses.”

The city recently approached the property’s owner, Anchor Bank, in an attempt to maintain street level access for the museum. However, Levenson said the move to the basement, which currently houses a collection valued at $100,000, is not being forced upon the business.

“The bank did not in any way force us into this,” Levenson said. “It is a rational and reasonable business decision that we have made in consultation with Anchor Bank and the city.”


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