TWO RIVERS – Two hundred new jobs could be coming to the Lakeshore. A local investor plans to buy an existing facility to produce energy drinks and coconut water.
Two Rivers City Manager Greg Buckley supports the proposal.
“This is one of the most significant green chutes we’ve seen come up in a long time, as far as local economic development,” said Buckley. “So we feel very good about it.”
The 317,000 sq. ft. building was home to Paragon Electric, but it shut down in 1999. Buckley expects it will be back in use by the end of this year.
Paragon Partners, a group that includes Manitowoc businessman Dan Wergin, plans to buy the building. The project is expected is expected to cost $21.15 million.
About $18 million will come from private funds. Manitowoc County is providing a $250,000 loan.
Paragon Partners is also asking for a $750,000 loan from the City of Two Rivers, and it’s requesting $2 million in loans or tax credits from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
“I think those are both integral to it and have every reason to expect that funding will occur,” said Buckley.
Elaine Stewart lives near the building.
“Primarily it was a nesting habitat for seagulls before,” said Stewart.
Stewart believes the plan is good news for her neighborhood and the entire Lakeshore.
“We’re right over there on the corner and we didn’t want to have any high-rise going in,” she said. “But it’s just primarily the jobs. That’s what’s important here.”
“Putting, we expect over the next two years, at least 200 people to work in an area that’s taken its share of blows in recent years,” added Buckley.
He says the facility has been maintained through the years so it is in good condition.
The plant also has easy access to fresh water, as it is just a block away from Lake Michigan.
“We hope this will be the catalyst for some other very good things to happen,” said Buckley.
The facility would produce and distribute products named Increase Energy Drinks and Danny’s Deliriously Delicious Coconut Water.
This would expand production to the United States. The drinks are currently made in Mexico and distributed in several regions in the country.