Serta to build new Janesville plant, add 100 jobs

The new facility will replace two current ones, in Janesville and Beloit.
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Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 7:08 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 13, 2022 at 11:10 AM CDT
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JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) - Serta Simmons Bedding plans to construct a massive new, state-of-the-art facility in Janesville, which is expected to bring scores of new jobs to Rock Co. soon after it opens, with the potential of more to come after that.

According to the company, the dual-branded manufacturing plant will open sometime next year and produce both Serta and Beautyrest branded items.

In a statement announcing the new half-million square foot facility, Serta’s vice president of operations Terry Litwiler said it promises to be one of the largest dual-branded plants in the company.

“This new facility is a critical part of our broader effort to optimize our manufacturing footprint to ensure we are delivering for our retail partners and consumers, while creating an industry-leading work environment for our employees,” he added.

The plant will require the shuttering of two current facilities, one that is already in Janesville and one in Beloit. However, Janesville City Manager Mark Frietag indicated that all the workers at those plants will move to the new one and the mattress maker plans to add 100 more workers. A spokesperson for Serta later confirmed that both Beloit and Janesville workers will be allowed to transfer.

After the plant opens, Serta expects to hire even more employees for its general production and warehousing needs.

“I’m proud of our team and partners at Rock County for diligently coordinating efforts between Serta Simmons Bedding, the developer, Zilber, and the City,” he continued.

The Janesville City Council approved three TIF Development Agreements on Monday night to support the construction of the project. One of the deals will offer an approximately $433 incentive per newly hired worker for each of the 100 projected new hires. To qualify for the incentive, each new position must meet the city’s Living Wage Equivalent, which is pegged at $20.81 per hour. The bonuses would be paid each year for nine years, with a maximum distribution set at just under $390,000 total.

“We’re opening a new chapter in our history and I’m excited to see how our teams will continue to grow and thrive in the new community, while also continuing to deliver our innovative products that help people sleep better so they can live healthier lives,” Serta Operations Leader Jim Fenton said, noting that the company is one of southern Wisconsin’s largest employers.

According to Serta, the extant Janesville plant is forty years old, having opened in 1982, and the Beloit facility is 35 years old. The company was founded in Kenosha in the 1870s, approximately 150 years ago.

The council also approved a pair of TIF agreements with TI Janesville X for two commercial spaces in the 200 block of Innovation Drive, on land currently owned by the city. One of the deals covers a 500,000 sq. foot facility, matching the size of the proposed Serta facility. It mandates that the development must be completed by the end of next year and the incentives, which are set to last for nine years, are based on the assessed value of the completed project. The estimate, which was based on a property value of $19.5 million, projected a $170,239 per year incentive that will not exceed an amount pegged at just over $1.5 million.

A second agreement with the same developer for the same swath of land was also approved Monday night. The facility cited in this arrangement is projected to be 286,000 sq. feet and it comes with its own incentives. While it is on the same parcel of land, the size of the property does not correspond with Serta’s projected new facility.

correction: The original version of this article identified Mark Frietag as the Janesville Mayor, rather than as the City Manager.

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