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Portage County and Berkshire Hathaway lease approved by board


STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) -- A Stevens Point business property will soon by owned by Portage County and leased to an area business.

The office building at 1039 Ellis Street was once occupied by other businesses, including Travel Guard Insurance.  County Corporation Counsel Michael McKenna says Portage County is purchasing the property next to the County Annex building, but they don’t need it right away. McKenna says the county board has authorized him to lease the building in the short term.  “We’ve been working hard with both the entity we’re purchasing the building from, which is Associated Bank, and that sale is scheduled to be completed on June 1st. Shortly thereafter, we anticipate a two year lease with a group known as Berkshire Hathaway. They were formerly known as the Noel Group. They’re going to be occupying the third floor of the building and may well occupy the second floor of the building.”

Noel Group founder John Noel sold the specialty insurance businesses of Insure America LLC and MyAssist, Inc. to Berkshire Hathaway in late January. They have been looking to build a new facility, having outgrown their present location.

McKenna says leasing part of the building to Berkshire Hathaway is a win-win situation, giving them space they need as they make long term plans, and it offsets some of the expense of the county buying the building.

The Corporation Counsel is pleased the lease deal will help both the county and a growing business.  “We’re happy to contribute and hopefully, this fits with one of the county’s goals of assisting the businesses where we can to promote economic development in the county.”

Another property that is owned by Portage County is the never-finished H2O water park development southeast of Plover where Tree Acres Golf Course used to be. McKenna says he is still looking for a new buyer after a previous deal fell through.