Jeramey Jannene
Friday Photos

Rexnord’s Secret Headquarters

Company is moving HQ downtown, but still hasn't publicly announced deal.

By - Mar 13th, 2020 04:44 pm
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105-111 W. Michigan St. redevelopment works nears completion. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

105-111 W. Michigan St. redevelopment works nears completion. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Construction work continues to roll along on a new headquarters for industrial conglomerate Rexnord Corp., even though the company has yet to publicly confirm the project.

Urban Milwaukee broke the news in February 2019 that the company would move workers to an office building complex at 105-111 W. Michigan St. And building plans filed with the city months later show executive offices, a fitness center, a new staircase, repaired parking structure and bigger windows. Just over a year later, construction looks like completion in the coming months.

Monday afternoon representatives of building owner 111 Michigan Partners LLC and Eppstein Uhen Architects were before the City Plan Commission to secure approval for alterations to the riverwalk along the property’s east side.

Did the commissioners ask who the changes were for and force a public disclosure? Nope.

They did ask questions about the design. A rebuilt segment running from W. Michigan St. to W. Clybourn St. will reflect the Historic Third Ward riverwalk design said Eppstein project manager Peter Kucha. Beyond changing things aesthetically, the project will address cracking concrete and rusting base plates on guard rails.

Kucha said guard rails would be replaced, as would select harp lights. The new harp lights would be anchored to the building instead of the ground, creating a wider riverwalk. Accessibility improvements are also planned, including new ramps.

Commissioner Darryl Johnson asked who would pay for the improvements. The Milwaukee RiverWalk business improvement district will pay for 50 percent of a new ramp that is replacing an elevator said Department of City Development economic development specialist Alyssa Remington. “It’s about a $430,000 overhaul,” said Remington. Five elevators were added to the system after the riverwalk was constructed as a result of a legal challenge over compatibility with Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

Kucha said a private deck, effectively a second level of the riverwalk that floats above the lower level riverwalk, would also be rebuilt.

Milwaukee Boat Line, which docks multiple vessels along the riverwalk segment, will remain at least through the end of its lease said building ownership group representative Joe Klein.

Exterior construction on much of the office building complex is nearing completion. This includes a 100,250-square-foot, five-story building at the corner of N. Plankinton Ave. and W. Michigan St., as well as a 10-story building with three floors of office space atop a seven-story parking garage located immediately east. The second building contains 50,618 square feet of office space according to city records. The parking garage is listed at 660 stalls.

Rexnord, currently headquartered in the Global Water Center in the Reed Street Yards, has more than 8,000 employees worldwide. The company’s website boasts manufacturing, warehouse and repair facilities on six continents.

The complex Rexnord will soon occupy is largely vacant today. It was recently home to long-term care center operator Fortis Management Group, which filed for receivership in 2017. Fortis, formed from an acquisition of previous complex tenant Extendicare, announced it would close the Milwaukee facility by September 2018 as part of selling off its 65 care centers.

Rexnord, which can trace its history back to the 1892 formation of the Chain Belt Company in Milwaukee, operates through a number of divisions including Rexnord Gear (formerly Falk). The company built a new headquarters for its water solutions division, Zurn Industries, in the Reed Street Yards business park in 2015. In addition to Zurn, the company lists key offices in Downers Grove, Illinois (aerospace) and 4701 W. Greenfield Ave. in West Milwaukee (power transmission).

The riverwalk design change, approved unanimously by the City Plan Commission, does not require Common Council approval.

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One thought on “Friday Photos: Rexnord’s Secret Headquarters”

  1. kmurphy724 says:

    Excellent reporting and insight. This is great local journalism. Thank you.

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