Milwakee Mayor Tom Barrett released a statement Tuesday night regarding MillerCoors' relocation to Chicago. His comments were mixed, unlike the mostly upbeat statement by Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker.
Said Barrett, "Look, I'm not going to sugar coat this. I wanted it all. I wanted the headquarters and I wanted the expanded brewery.
"Early on, I made it clear that Milwaukee would do whatever it takes to be the new MillerCoors home city. I have no doubt we would have been able to put a competitive package for MillerCoors either in the current Miller Valley location or any other place in the City, just as we have done for Manpower, Bucyrus, Palermo's and others.
"That was not to be. The new MillerCoors board was committed to a neutral site. Throughout my conversations with Leo Kiely and Tom Long over the past nine months, they have been candid, professional and sensitive to Milwaukee's brewing history.
"It's a tough business -- both nationally and internationally. St. Louis is feeling the shock waves as InBev announced its intent to take over Anheuser-Busch. Companies throughout the country are feeling the effects of an increasingly flat world economy.
"At the same time, I want to put this news in context. In the last month alone, I've made announcements about four business expansions that will bring $114.3 million to Milwaukee's economy.
I've been told that MillerCoors will maintain significant operations at the current Milwaukee office and $50 million in investments at the brewery will add positions and take Milwaukee brewery production up to levels not seen since the 1970s.
"While it remains unclear how many corporate jobs are moving to the new HQ, I want to turn my focus to keeping the talent here in Milwaukee. Even though the brewery operations will grow significantly as a result of this joint venture, creating new jobs, my concern is the unintended effect on the many sales, marketing and other corporate positions whose jobs may be eliminated or moved to Chicago.
"Chicago is a higher tax city in a higher tax state. Real estate is more expensive; commutes are longer. For those professionals who are committed to the high quality of life, affordability and ease of Milwaukee, I'm asking companies here to reach out to them with available jobs so we can keep them here and avoid the dreaded 'brain drain.'
"As Forbes Magazine recently noted when placing Milwaukee on its list of 'Best Places for Young Professionals,' Milwaukee is a spectacular place to live and do business.
"With the fifth-highest concentration of top companies in the country, a below-average cost of living and salaries paid to professionals comfortably above the national average, it's no surprise that many of the displaced MillerCoors employees will be looking to stay in the Milwaukee region. I will help them do just that.
"While I am extremely disappointed that Milwaukee is not going to be the official MillerCoors headquarters, I am confident that the expansions at the brewery and the creation of a stronger, more competitive operation will make MillerCoors a better player in the beer business and the economy."