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(Beloit WI) Shaun Zinck, Beloit Daily News

IPM Foods has leased the entire JRT Building in Beloit.

Tom Lasse, owner of the building, at 2555 Kennedy Drive, said the company was interested in a lease prior to his development team purchasing the property in June.

Lasse, along with his development partner Terry McGuire, purchased the 72,590-square-foot building on June 17 for $1.5 million from Coldwell Banker.

The warehouse has been vacant for about two years since Kettle Foods moved out. IPM Foods did not return several messages seeking comment.

According to its website, the Beloit-based company claims to be the only contract foods manufacturer and co-packer in the country. In addition to co-packing, the company’s services include product development and testing and short-run manufacturing of products for consumer trials and research.

Lasse said the lease was approved last week but declined to discuss details of the agreement or how long the lease would run.

He said the agreement came together very quickly, and going from closing on the purchase of the property to leasing the building in 60 days is nearly unheard of in the business.

“There aren’t a lot of choices in the market right now and the building worked well for them,” he said. “Any time you have something that comes together like this it is kind of a home run. They are moving stuff in the building right now.”

The building is located in Beloit’s Willowbrook Business District, and only one other vacancy remains in the district in part of a building on Reynolds Drive.

Lasse said previously there were two businesses interested in leasing out the entire building. One was from Beloit and the other from outside the city.

Due to the fast nature of the agreement, Lasse said his company is considering building on properties in Beloit and Janesville. He said they are in the beginning stages and haven’t picked any specific property.

“We think the market is good enough to build, which is a long ways away from where we were at in the middle of the recession,” he said. “We’re having to pinch ourselves to make sure we aren’t screwing up, but the market seems to be there for both Beloit and Janesville. So we’re doing some preliminary work on that.”

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