Last spring, the city released news of a planned John Deere dealership near the Walmart Supercenter. The dealership, owned and operated by Tampa, FL based Nortrax, Inc., was planned to measure approximately 20,000 square feet, employ 15 full-time personnel in functional parts, service and sales with an annual payroll of $900,000.
The facility plans also included eight service bays and a paved lot as well and had a planned start date for this fall.
The Common Council green lighted the plans in March, along with approval of a petition for the company to annex 31 acres of land for the facility, approximately ¼ mile south of STH 64 near the Supercenter.
However, since that evening in March, there has been little word about further developments in the facility coming to fruition.
According to Ben Richmond, Chief Financial Officer for Nortrax Inc, plans are still in the works but have been delayed temporarily.
“We are a consolidated subsidiary of John Deere Company out of Moline, Illinois,” Richmond stated. “As such we must adhere to certain rules, so we cannot publicly disclose a whole lot in terms of details from a financial standpoint. But I can tell you we are still working on finalizing an engineering and plan design for a full service John Deere Construction and Forestry dealership and service facility in Merrill, Wisconsin. We are in fact very excited about getting started up there!”
As Richmond further explains, the company hoped to get started this fall as planned, however the permitting process has brought about the delay.
In terms of an updated start-date, the company is aiming for the spring of 2016.
“My guess will be sometime in the spring,” he added. “The winter weather will play a key role on exactly when we will break ground, unless there is some pre-work that can be done ahead of time.”
Richmond also indicated there hasn’t been any changes to the planned size of the facility, payroll or estimated number of new employees, nor is there any changes planned.
Upon completion of the Merrill facility, current facilities in Mosinee and Monaco will be closed and consolidated into the Merrill facility.
According to Merrill city administrator Dave Johnson, the permitting process Richmond refers to is regulated by the State of Wisconsin.
“The city has no part in permitting the construction of commercial buildings,” Johnson said, “that is all handled by the state.”