By Neil Johnson - May 16th 2023
Activity in Milton’s Crossroads Business Park — from both its railroad spurs and the surrounding roadways — will get busier under a company’s plans for a new truck-to-train intermodal warehouse off County M and Putman Parkway.
Under a plan approved Tuesday, Signature Warehousing would operate a 101,000-square-foot motor and rail freight terminal at 1745 Putman Parkway that its builder said would operate under contracts to transfer farming implements and some lumber between rail cars and semitrailer trucks.
Plan and conditional-use permit application approved Tuesday by the Milton City Council and Milton Plan Commission appear to show a warehousing terminal that would house 20 trucking bays. Those would be part of a train-to-semitrailer truck transfer of implements that project’s construction manager said would include implements for harvest combines and other farm machinery.
The city of Milton had previously approved a 1.5 million tax incentive deal including loans and land value of the 26-acre site more than , a final regulatory hurdle that city officials said was required because the building would be larger than 100,000 feet.
The main user of the trucking side of the terminal would be a regional shipping company with an outlet in Janesville, said Mike Davis, a Janesville-based attorney representing the warehouse’s developer.
Randy Fago, the project’s construction manager, said the warehouse will not be set up to handle the transfer and transport of livestock, explosives or hazardous chemicals. Fago said some Canadian lumber will pass through the warehouse, but none of that material would be stored outside.
Clasen Quality Chocolates
The terminal would tie into a rail spur also used by a new industry in the Crossroads Business Park — Clasen Quality Chocolates.
A Clasen company official on Tuesday told the city council at a public hearing that it seeks to know more about the volume of rail use that Signature Warehousing would require. The Clasen official declined further comment when asked by a Gazette reporter.
Fago didn’t give a clear indication of daily volume. He indicated the warehouse likely could draw less use of the business park’s rail infrastructure than the neighboring Clasen plant, which has a shipping facility built on site, and would receive materials by rail.
The city of Janesville has been in discussions over a small-scale intermodal operation with the out-of-town owner of the 250-acre former General Motors site on Janesville’s south side and off over a potential intermodal user.
Two 1-million-square-foot warehouses — Beloit’s Amazon distribution center and Janesville’s Dollar General distribution center — employ hundreds, making warehousing, distribution and intermodal one of the fastest- growing labor sectors in Rock County.
The Milton transfer facility would be Signature’s third intermodal site, including locations in Alabama and North Dakota. Rock County is between those hubs, a chief reason why the company chose the business parcel.
“It’s the location. The area (Rock County) is a central hub going north, south, east or west. It’s in the exact right spot,” said Fago.
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