Dave Reid
Plats and Parcels

A Week of Ground-Breaking News

Announcement of Johnson Controls' 50-story lakefront tower is week's biggest development.

By - Jan 26th, 2015 11:54 am

Lakefront Gateway Project before and after view. The after view shows the possible site for the JCI Headquarters and the site of The Couture development.

Lakefront Gateway Project before and after view. The after view, on the right, shows the possible site for the JCI Headquarters [L] and the site of The Couture development [R].

In what was quite literally the largest piece of development news last week, Ald. Robert Bauman detailed recent news that Johnson Controls Inc. was planning a downtown office building on land being opened up by the reconfiguration of the lake interchange.  Bauman told The BizTimes that the office building being planned is a 50-story, 1.2 million-square-foot corporate headquarters.

“This is maybe one of the biggest deals ever for downtown,” Bauman told the BizTimes.

Talk of the potential project had entered the streetcar debate the previous week as Johnson Controls spokesman Fraser Engerman explained part of the site selection processs in Journal Sentinel story by Tom Daykinsaying: “a key consideration is a vibrant community with convenient transportation and easy access to our facilities. As a result we also have a keen interest in the downtown streetcar project and are monitoring that situation closely.”

Despite the implication that the construction of the streetcar could play a role in JCI’s decision to build Downtown, during Wednesday’s council meeting members of the common council used a parliamentary procedure by Ald. Tony Zielinski to delay the approval of the streetcar project until February 10th, 2015.

Business Journal reporter Rich Kirchen broke another of the week’s big stories. Kirchen reported that Gov. Scott Walker will include a ‘jock tax,’ the diversion of players income tax to help pay for a new NBA arena, in his upcoming executive budget proposal.

Kirchen also reported last week that local firm Eppstein Uhen Architects is part of a team which is competing to work on the new NBA arena project.

And yesterday, Journal Sentinel reporter Don Behm reported that Preserve our Parks is asking the Wisconsin Supreme Court to halt the county land sale for The Couture, a 44-story lakefront tower, by sending the county’s request to circuit court, arguing it violates the state constitution as part of the land is former lake bed which is protected by the Public Trust Doctrine.

Rendering phase 1 and 2 of the Innovation and Wellness Commons.

Rendering phase 1 and 2 of the Innovation and Wellness Commons.

On the neighborhood redevelopment front, Walnut Way Conservation Corp’s first phase of The Innovation and Wellness Commons project, which will be located at 1609-1615 W. North Ave., officially broke ground. The $2 million first phase is being led by Juli Kaufmann’s Fix Development and will include a complete redevelopment of an existing building and a substantial addition. Outpost Natural Foods, Milwaukee Center for Independence, Fondy Food Center, and The Juice Kitchen have signed Letters of Intent to occupy space in the building. Fundraising for the $4 million second phase, which would include a new building with Outpost as the anchor tenant, is still ongoing.

Groundbreaking Photos

In other news…

Apparently, Northwestern Mutual’s needs for office space can’t wait until the Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons project is finished. Sean Ryan, of the Business Journal, reported that NM recently leased two floors in the 411 Building in downtown Milwaukee.

One other new project was announced; The BizTimes reported that the Milwaukee franchise of Sign-A-Rama plans to move into a new $1.7 million building to be built in the Menomonee Valley Industrial Center.

And in case you missed it, Friday Photos featured the 700 Lofts, a 49-unit apartment building under construction in Westown.

2 thoughts on “Plats and Parcels: A Week of Ground-Breaking News”

  1. John G. says:

    Would be a massive coup for the City. Crossing all digits.

  2. Paul says:

    If the Couture project could be stopped by Preserve our Parks wouldn’t the JC project also be in trouble seeing it’s on the same filled lakefront?

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