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Oneida County Eyeing Foster & Smith Site For Some Departments

Wikimedia Commons Corey Coyle

The Oneida County Board will be forming a committee to look into the possibility of the county buying all or part of the Foster and Smith property that soon will be mostly vacated.

Petco announced recently it would be closing it's large facility on Rhinelander's far west side. Two small operations would remain, but the majority of the space would be vacant.

Supervisor Bob Mott and other recently toured the buildings. He says the amount of available space surprised him...

"..It's much larger than it appears from the outside. There's 179,000 square feet of space, 25 acres of land are being sold, 24 loading docks with three drive-ins. It breaks down to 150,000 square feet of warehouse space according to the materials we've gotten from Petco, 20,000 square feet of office space that is also a call center. 9,000 square feet of outdoor cold storage building. "

The resolution forming the study committee also brought in a couple other possibilities: moving the Highway Department, Oneida-Vilas County Transit and other county, local and regional organizations into the facility.

This also brings up the possibility of asking Kwik-Trip for a reconsideration of buying the current Highway facility. The county and the firm could not agree on a deal three years ago because of having to build a new highway facility. The transit commission could use up to 7,000 square feet to store and maintain their buses.

Mott says another revenue generator might also be possible...

"..That would leave over 70,000 square feet of quality commercial rental that is not available on that scale in this area. That, and the office space call center could provide an income that could offset rising costs and help pay for the cost of the building..."

The committee will meet over the next two months and report back to the full board whether such a large and costly move would be feasible.

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