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Laser Express Inc.

Laser Express Inc. is currently headquartered in a 38,000-square-foot building at 1002 Stewart St. on Madison's South Side. The company also rents a 45,000-square-foot warehouse at 500 S. Division St. in the Waunakee Business Park. A move to Middleton would consolidate the two facilities.

Middleton officials appear poised to spend $1.3 million to help a printer supply company move from Madison.

The Middleton City Council on Tuesday granted conceptual approval for $1.3 million in developer-financed tax incremental financing (TIF) that would be used to help Laser Express Inc. build a consolidated office, manufacturing and warehouse space off the 8000 block of Airport Road.

Council members still need to approve a development agreement to finalize the TIF, but the preliminary action is an indication that the council intends to provide that level of financial support to lure the company to Middleton.

Founded in 1998, Laser Express is currently headquartered in a 38,000-square-foot building at 1002 Stewart St. on Madison’s South Side. The company also rents a 45,000-square-foot warehouse at 500 S. Division St. in the Waunakee Business Park.

Laser Express wants to build a 60,000-square-foot facility in Middleton and move 47 of its 49 employees to the site. The $7.3 million structure would include 10,000 square feet of office space and 50,0000 square feet of manufacturing and warehouse space.

In its TIF request to the city, Laser Express cited $253,338 in construction costs related to stormwater management and use of energy-efficient materials.

The remaining $1.06 million of the request was for environmental remediation at the site, including lead removal and retaining walls. The property used to house a firing range for the Middleton Gun Club and city administrator Mike Davis said in a memo to council members that it still contains lead from ammunition.

In its request, the company said consolidating its Madison and Waunakee facilities would help the company grow its revenue by about $3 million to $5 million annually from the roughly $9.5 million it currently grosses.

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The Middleton location also would allow the company to enlist a logistics company to manage its supply chain from one place. That could eventually require a second, 60,000-square-foot warehouse on the site, the request said.

It’s unclear whether the company considered moving within Madison. Laser Express owner and CEO Brian Faust could not be reached Thursday and Madison’s TIF coordinator Joe Gromacki did not respond to an email seeking comment.

The TIF for the project would be developer-financed, meaning Laser Express would front the money for the project and Middleton would pay back its commitment using increased tax revenue from the development. The company projects incremental tax value from the project would allow the city to pay back the TIF in eight years.

Council members also considered an agreement Tuesday that would provide $653,562 in TIF for Mazur Realty’s Cardinal Row Apartments but delayed action to address language in the pact.

The developer wants to construct a 16-unit building at 2317 Parmenter St., which would contain a mixture of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. The tentative agreement calls for the city to pay $137,520 to subsidize one three-bedroom unit that would be reserved for renters earning 50 percent of the area median income or less.

The remaining portion of the TIF would help finance underground parking, demolition of an existing building and high-efficiency heating, ventilating and air conditioning equipment.

The TIF for Cardinal Row would also be developer-financed.

Davis said he expects both projects to return to the City Council for final approval on June 7.

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