By Dan Rafter

It’s little secret to commercial real estate pros who do business near the Illinois/Wisconsin border: There’s a war going on between the states to attract new industrial projects. It’s no secret, either, which side is winning most of these battles.

“If there’s a project that can go in Illinois or go north of the border to Wisconsin, there is always a competition,” said Bob Smietana, chief executive officer and vice chairman of HSA Commercial Real Estate. “And Illinois is certainly not winning more than the other guys.”

What makes Southeast Wisconsin so attractive to industrial users? Taxes are lower in Wisconsin. The state has a reputation as being pro-business. Public-private partnerships are strong here. And Southeast Wisconsin boasts a strong workforce and easy access to much of the rest of the country.

There’s one other thing, too: “It is not Illinois,” Smietana said. “That is helpful these days.”

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