Jeramey Jannene
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$30 Million Eagleknit a Game Changer

Wangard redevelopment in Walker's Point a technology hub that will train minorities.

By - Jan 10th, 2020 02:11 pm
Eagleknit rendering. Rendering by Gensler.

Eagleknit rendering. Rendering by Gensler.

A Walker’s Point warehouse will soon see new life as a technology-focused office building.

Wangard Partners, through general contractor J.H. Findorff & Son, is starting construction on the $30 million redevelopment at 507 S. 2nd St. Built in 1928, the building contains 107,000 square feet of space according to city records.

A four-story, 30,000-square-foot addition will be built on the southern end of the building, replacing a one-story garage. Originally rendered as a glassy addition, the newer renderings of the complex show the addition with a brick facade.

When complete, the building will be known as Eagleknit Innovation Hub, a nod to its longtime tenant Eagle Knitting Mills. Wangard’s plans for the building include a mix of incubator space and low-cost office space. “The Eagleknit Innovation Hub will offer game-changing career opportunities for the underserved inner-city minorities of Milwaukee County,” says Wangard’s website.

Tenants in the building will include skills training non-profit Building2Learn and adult technology training non-profit i.c. stars. CenturyLink will develop a 25,000-square-foot-data center in the facility.

The project is being designed by the Chicago office of San Francisco-based architecture firm Gensler. Approximately 102,000 square feet is available for lease in the complex.

The project’s leasing webpage promotes transportation access to the building as a key selling point, including an adjacent Bublr Bikes station, access to Uber and Lyft dropoffs and a future streetcar station (the current proposed extension does not go as far as the building). It doesn’t include the Milwaukee County Transit System, for which five routes servicing much of the city stop within a block of the building, including the busiest one in the system.

Eagleknit’s financing includes a combination of private equity, New Market Tax Credits, Historic Preservation Tax Credits, Opportunity Zone funds and PACE energy efficiency financing. Wangard acquired the property in 2017 for $3.5 million.

Students interested in the construction trades from nearby Bradley Tech High School were given a first-hand look at the project earlier this week. “This the first step toward making Eagleknit a real catalyst for job training and business development in an effort to provide professional training and job opportunities for those who need it most,” said Stewart Wangard in a press release announcing the tour. “From the actual construction work involved with rehabbing the building through the STEM-related businesses and organizations that will locate within the building, Eagleknit will be a catalyst for opportunity and advancement within the city’s minority community.”

A property listing on Loopnet says the first office space will be available in September 2020.



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