Rite Hite’s New HQ Approved
Plus: Walker's Point apartment plans dropped, while another neighborhood building sells.
Rite-Hite‘s plans for its new corporate headquarters were unanimously approved by the City Plan Commission. The company is planning to move from suburban Brown Deer to the Reed Street Yards business park at the north end of Walker’s Point near downtown Milwaukee.
The company would build a five-story, 137,347-square-foot building on the north side of W. Freshwater Way just west of S. 3rd St. A two-story, research-and-development building would be located on the south side of the street with 103,239 square feet of space. A parking structure with four levels and 450 stalls would be built immediately west of the building.
Rite-Hite designs and manufactures loading dock equipment, industrial doors, safety barriers, industrial fans and other products for warehouse operators.
Approximately 300 employees would be located in the 9.4-acre campus when it opens in spring 2022. The company said it currently has approximately 265 employees spread across four locations in the Milwaukee area that would be consolidated in the new buildings. Eppstein Uhen Architects is designing the campus.
Future phases would accommodate growth. “Once we build out this entire plan it’s going to cover anywhere from 80 to 90 percent of the street frontage,” said architect Greg Uhen in presenting the plans in early June. Future phases would include 110,000 square feet of office space according to design documents submitted to the city.
The glass-clad office building would present a convex shape towards the Menomonee Canal to maximize river and skyline views. The first floor of the building would rise 24 feet and the architect said it would contain active uses to better engage with the street. “A lot of transparency, a lot of opening, a lot of daylight,” said Uhen.
“The south side of the building is also a showpiece,” said Uhen of the research building. He said customers would be shown different technologies, including loading docks, on the non-street-facing side, a design decision that drew praise from the commissioners.
“I really applaud the pedestrian development you created along the street edge… but there wasn’t as much information about the riverwalk side,” said architect and Commissioner Allyson Nemec. The riverwalk segment dividing the site from the river is 40 feet deep and would not be owned by Rite-Hite. Members of the Eppstein Uhen team said access would be provided to the riverwalk, but a private area would be maintained on Rite-Hite property.
“Someone that is walking or riding a bike along there what they’re going to basically see is the water on the right, landscaping on the left, and then a low brick wall with an open railing to the Rite-Hite dining or courtyard area,” said Uhen.
“I would like to see good integration of those because that’s critical for both projects,” said Nemec of the riverwalk and corporate campus. She said her concerns related less to the design of the buildings than how the landscaping plan unified the elements. Nemec said the project was “exciting for the city of Milwaukee.”
Department of City Development planning manager Vanessa Koster said the firm and its design team had been responsive to city requests to modify the plans. “I think we worked well together to take what quite frankly was a [business] park with a different vision,” said Uhen of the original water-technology focus for Reed Street Yards. The architect said there was, ultimately, only one variation from the requirements of the special design district.
The variation would allow for a larger surface parking lot, 14 stalls versus the permitted 10. “There is a very choreographed approach to the building and to the campus. [Rite-Hite] really needed the parking to be very visible and the entrance to be very visible coming in from Freshwater Way,” said Uhen of how customers would use the lot.
The 15-acre Reed Street Yards has only attracted a single office tenant to date. Zurn, a subsidiary of Rexnord, relocated from Pennsylvania to a three-story office building in the business park. The Yards apartment building is under construction on the district’s eastern edge along S. 2nd St.
In late 2019 the Common Council approved a $4 million amendment to the tax incremental financing district used to create the business park to fund the relocation of two Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) sewers, that cross the Reed Street Yards business park, but don’t directly serve the 15-acre site formed from a former rail yard and trucking facility.
Commissioner Brianna Sas-Pérez asked about the company’s plans to engage with the neighborhood. Rite-Hite project director Ward Wojciehowski said the company is still developing its plan, but has been a strong community partner in Brown Deer.
“They’re really going to be a big boost for the Walker’s Point area,” said Uhen of Rite-Hite’s consumption of services, including dining, in the area.
“I think the development is great and I look forward to it coming into the area,” said Commissioner Catrina Crane.
The company would purchase 9.4-acres acres of land on along W. Freshwater Way from General Capital Group
Rite-Hite’s proposed location is in a design overlay district that does not require Common Council approval, but does require City Plan Commission sign off.
The 55-year-old company has over 2,300 employees across the globe.
The Barclay, Planned Walker’s Point Apartment Complex, Canceled
Plans to convert three former Pittsburgh Plate Glass (PPG) buildings in Walker’s Point into apartments have been dropped by Minneapolis-based Sherman Associates.
Sherman, with support from Milwaukee-based Continuum Architects + Planners, had planned to buy the three buildings at 300 S. Barclay St. and redevelop the multi-story buildings into a 115-unit, high-end apartment complex. It acquired the buildings in 2017 for $500,000.
“It is not likely that residential can be developed on the site, consequently, we are seeking alternative development options from interested developers and/or owner occupants,” said Kristian Sydow in an email to Daykin. Sydow is a broker at Cushman & Wakefield | Boerke which is listing the properties on behalf of Sherman.
The city issued a raze or repair order to the three buildings in early 2018.
Menomonee Valley Grain Silos Sold to Walker’s Point Marina Owner
Marina owner and operator Jerry Guyer plans to relocate his Walker’s Point operation, Jerry’s Dock, to 1,700 feet of water frontage on the Menomonee Canal. The business has been located on the Milwaukee River for decades.
As part of the move, necessitated by the Mandel Group‘s plans to develop the $150 million Harbor Yards complex, Guyer acquired the disused, 14-story grain elevators at 920 W. Bruce St. for $100,000 according to state records.
Visitors will have a tough time accessing the complex from W. Bruce St. and will instead need to approach via S. 19th St. that runs behind the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino parking garage, just north of the sizable Muskego Yard freight railroad yard owned by Canadian Pacific.
What’s next for the silos there was last used by Archer Daniels Midland? Guyer told real estate reporter Sean Ryan that he’s considering his options. “We spent half the day yesterday just bolting up the entrances,” Guyer told Ryan in an interview. “I’ve got one broker that’s telling me he’s working with China and says they need silos for grain. I’ve got another guy who tells me he can put apartments in them.”
For now he’ll use vacant land on each side of the silos to support his operation while leaving the silos for a future user.
Guyer also operates Pirates Cove Diving, a charter diving operation with a retail store at 1103 W. Oklahoma Ave.
The complex’s previous owner, Kansas-based Something Else LLC, had acquired the complex from Archer Daniels Midland for $625,000 in 2018.
Vetter Buys Walker’s Point Building
The architect, who has his offices at the north end of the neighborhood, called it a “fantastic opportunity to further enrich an already vibrant neighborhood” in an interview with Sean Ryan.
The group acquired the building as a condominium broken out from the larger property that also includes a structure on W. Washington St. The remaining property is owned by Eric Barthenheier‘s EPB Enterprises. EPB acquired the property from Federal Manufacturing’s holding company in 2016 and owns a number of other properties in the area.
A Bay View History Lesson
The Mann clan descended on Milwaukee from Raudnitz, Bohemia, in the mid-1840s. There were six sons and one daughter along with their aging parents. The siblings all worked in the retail grocery business until three of the brothers, Herman, Joseph, and Henry, branched into the wholesale food trade and other endeavors.
The three men formed the Mann Brothers Company which invested in factories that made wooden pails, tubs, chairs, and other products from pine timber. They founded a business in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, after the Civil War, as well as one in Chicago, where they also had a pine lumber yard. They invested in the Peshtigo Manufacturing Company in northern Wisconsin which made similar items from the coniferous tree.
Locally, they purchased over 100 acres of land adjacent to the newly created village of Bay View. Their holdings extended roughly from E. Russell Avenue south to what is now E. Oklahoma Avenue between the future S. Pine and S. Nevada avenues.
Renderings Released for New Bay View Building
Developer Scott Genke has released renderings, including floor plans, for his firm’s new apartment building under construction on Bay View‘s main street.
BV+ (pronounced Bay View Addition) will be a 17-unit apartment building formed with 15 “micro studios” and two one-bedroom units. The first floor will contain a commercial unit and a live-work unit.
Located at 2557-2565 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., BV+ is an addition to the Bay View Building at 2569-2573 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. which Genke acquired in 2019.
Housing Authority Accepting More Voucher Applicants
A highly sought-after housing program will accept new applicants for a period of three days next week.
The Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM) will accept new applicants for its Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Waiting List from June 23rd at 9 a.m. through June 25th at 6:00 p.m. With luck, some of the applicants may eventually get a voucher for subsidized housing.
HACM provides over 5,500 vouchers to low-income households on an annual basis that pays for individuals or families to live in private housing.
The voucher recipients are required to pay approximately 30 percent of their income in rent and HACM, with funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, pays the remainder, with an upper limit, to the building owner. The voucher is tenant-based, with the holders being able to move to a new building and take the subsidy with them.
City Offering New Subsidies For Homes In Two Urban Subdivisions
The City of Milwaukee announced a program Thursday that provides $30,000 grants for up to 10 new homes. It replaces an earlier offer of $10,000 per home.
The two subdivisions, located on multi-block lots at N. 12th St. and W. Lloyd St. and N. 20th St. and W. Walnut St., were created in the mid-2000s as part of an attempt to bring new, market-rate housing to the near west side.
Six homes have been constructed to date. The cost of a new home the subdivisions is estimated at $180,000 to $200,000 according to a city brochure.
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Related Legislation: File 200085