Oscar Mayer

In 2017, Kraft Heinz announced the closing of Oscar Mayer, which at its peak employed 4,000 people on 72 acres. The closing created challenges but also presented significant opportunities to leverage key assets, allowing it to be reinvented as a new hub of Madison's northside.  The City of Madison is in the midst of a two phase planning process to guide and support the redevelopment of this site.

Phase 1:  Strategic Assessment (2018)

The Strategic Assessment, the first element of a two-phase planning process, took a "big picture" look at the study area to understand its role within the region and the ways in which redevelopment could most effectively contribute to the well-being of the community. The Mayor and Common Council appointed a 13-member committee which met 10 times to guide the development of the report and public engagement activities.

The Strategic Assement defines a vision, 10 redevelopment objectives and 15 specific recommendations, and was approved by the City of Madison Common Council on February 5, 2019.

EQT by Design Final Report on Focus Group Sessions

Racial Equity and Social Justice Analysis

Meeting materials from the Strategic Assessment Committee meetings in 2018 can be found on Legistar.

Phase 2:  Special Area Plan (2019)

The City of Madison is preparing to begin the Special Area Plan proccess, which is expected to take between nine months and one year.  

Strategic Assessment Plan

Welcome to the project page for the City of Madison's Oscar Mayer Strategic Assessment Plan.  This effort will result in a Strategic Assessment for the reuse of the former Oscar Mayer headquarters and food production facility.  The Strategic Assessment of the site and surrounding area will explore its role in the region's economy, appropriate boundaries for future more-detailed planning, long-term redevelopment objectives, equity and social justice impacts, transportation linkages, infrastructure needs, natural resources, and other related topics that arise during the process. It will allow for a "big picture" community conversation about the possibilities of the site, while also understanding the economic, political, and other realities to set this process off on the right track and frame the more detailed planning effort that will follow. 

The City has appointed a 13-member Oscar Mayer Strategic Assessment Committee comprised of Common Council members, neighborhood residents, and persons with labor and business experience.  The Committee will oversee the public process and provide guidance in developing the Strategic Assessment Report.

Oscar Mayer was located on Madison's north side for 97 years as a food production and headquarters facility.  The Oscar Mayer site is generally bounded by Commercial Avenue on the south, Packers Avenue on the east, Aberg Avenue on the north, and Canadian Pacific Railroad tracks on the west.  The Strategic Assessment will also consider additional parcels in the immediate area determined to be important in accomplishing the development objectives of the area.

At its peak, Oscar Mayer employed approximately 4,000 people at this location, and 1,000 people at the time its closing was announced in November 2015.  Oscar Mayer's owner, Kraft Heinz, vacated the 72-acre site in June 2017 and in October 2017 executed an agreement with the Reich Brothers Holdings, LLC to purchase the property.

This site occupies a key position in Madison's north side, as well as in the city and region.  During its nearly century in operation, the Oscar Mayer facility has had an immeasurable positive economic impact on the community in the many well-paying jobs it provided, as well as the businesses that were supported by the company, its employees, and their families.  Much of the north and east sides of Madison developed around Oscar Mayer and the neighborhoods in these areas were home to many of its employees.  Many of the homes that were built and stores that were opened catered to Oscar Mayer's workforce.  This contributed to a great sense of pride and social cohesion that is still present in these areas.  As such, the City is placing a strong emphasis on the future reuse of this site and emphasizing its continued future positive impact on the surrounding area, economically, socially and physically.  The City views this site as a key redevelopment opportunity and feels strongly that the predominate use continue the location's tradition as a location for well-paying, family-supporting jobs.

Aerial image of Oscar Mayer site

Last Updated: 04/15/2019