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Community spotlight: The Janesville-Beloit MSA in Rock County, Wisconsin

This roughly 720-square-mile area at the confluence of Interstates 39/90 and 43 is one of Wisconsin’s significant economic engines. Many firms with industry and global recognition call Rock County home.

Close in proximity to both Chicago and Milwaukee, the Janesville-Beloit Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) also offers businesses and residents access to five airports that provide commercial passenger service. Plus, there are Class 1, 2 and short-line rail carriers that facilitate freight movement among a network of barge, intermodal and port operations that extend from the Mississippi River to the Great Lakes. These natural and strategic assets position Rock County within reach of one-third of all U.S. manufacturing operations within a single day’s commute.

Business environment

Part of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail system, Rock County’s rich soils and abundant water resources are the primary reasons for large-scale crop production operations and handling facilities throughout the area. There are also businesses that specialize in food and beverage processing; defense contracting; medical production, research and development; cloud-based software; machinery and equipment production; aerospace and transportation applications; pharmaceuticals; nutraceuticals; and just-in-time order delivery and fulfillment. An increasingly diverse collection of components and finished products, designed, manufactured and distributed through domestic and international supply chains, originate from the Janesville-Beloit MSA.

Multi-generational families remain critical to fueling Rock County’s business community. At the same time, private equity and publicly traded firms increasingly drive investments. These trends keep the area’s industrial and warehousing market very strong – and one that consistently supports speculative building projects, from 50,000 to 500,0000 square feet.

Occupiers and end users alike need to move fast; these properties are generally leased before their concrete floors are cured. Industrial vacancy rates have hovered around the 2% mark since 2018. This is despite the many publicly owned business and industrial parks that dominate the county’s more than 375-acre, ready-to-build land portfolio.

In addition to this sustained industrial surge, commercial investments have increased as well, particularly in entertainment, hospitality and recreation. For example, the $34 million ABC Supply Stadium in downtown Beloit opened a year ago as the new home of the Sky Carp, a Miami Marlins High-A affiliate. In Janesville, a $10 million public-private partnership transformed the city’s downtown into a pedestrian-friendly, outdoor event and festival venue.

From 2019 to present, the area has averaged approximately 1.2 million square feet of newly constructed industrial and commercial space. During this same period, the average square footage leased or sold annually equals about 560,000. In turn, these investments create a more diverse employment base.

Are you interested in joining the investment movement in the Janesville-Beloit MSA?

Contact Coleman Peiffer, senior business attraction manager.

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