November 1, 2016
By next spring Dr. Steven Kraus plans to turn a blighted region of downtown Carroll, one tied to a long-shuttered coal-fired energy plant, into a medical technology hive humming with 21st century activity, spinning out products for global consumption.
Kraus, 52, a Carroll native, Kuemper Catholic High School alum, chiropractor and entrepreneur, in August purchased land west of Clark Street between Fourth and Fifth streets to locate a $1.2 million building now under construction.
“I love downtown Carroll, always have,” Kraus said. “I also love the history of Carroll. I don’t know why I do, I just do.”
The east-facing, 17,000-square-foot, two-story structure (211 E. Fourth St.), expected to be completed in April, will house Biokinemetrics.
That holding company’s first venture will be with ChiroSight, a digital X-ray assembly and marketing company Kraus is bringing to the United States from Quebec, Canada.
“We bought the assets of the company and are moving the assets here,” Kraus said in an interview Monday.
ChiroSight is expected to employ 12 people in Carroll, The company will build and market the digital technology in Carroll.
“We manufacture the hardware and the software,” Kraus said.
The Biokinemetrics building is being constructed to hold 35 employees in a modern, tech-savvy environment, one Kraus said is inspired by workspaces at Google, Facebook and other companies, albeit on a smaller scale.
Kraus said he has plans to bring more technology businesses to the Biokinemetrics campus in Carroll.
He’ll be recruiting marketing and software and assembly technicians, among other people.
“I’m hearing a lot of kids saying they want to come back,” Kraus said of Carroll’s potential draw. “I think there’s a generational shift that really involves family.”
In addition to the new building, Kraus plans to remodel a former utility on Clark Street, one now used by the Bierl family, previous owners of the land, for Carpet One storage. Kraus is leasing space for that purpose.
In the future, though, he sees a rehabilitated building serving as a location for a microbrewery or restaurant or other businesses.
“I’ve been approached by a number of interested parties,” Kraus said.
He added, “My goal is to preserve that building.”
Kraus noted that tax increment financing, a policy instrument that leverages increased value of property for economic development with an eye on long-term tax-base expansion, is essential to the medical technology center.
“I would not have built a structure in Carroll like this without the Carroll City Council implementing tax increment financing in this area,” Kraus said.
Kraus is the founder of Future Health Inc. and the Family & Specialty Medical Center on Main Street. Dr. Aaron Pick purchased the latter in 2011, and Kraus sold Future Health to a California investment group.
In developing those Main Street properties, once owned by this newspaper, Kraus recharged buildings dating back to the 1880s.
Kraus recalls seeing coal connected to the plant on Clark Street in the city as a boy. Now, he said, Biokinemetrics is planning to use solar-energy panels on its roof.