Jeramey Jannene
Friday Photos

Rite-Hite’s New Headquarters

Corporate campus filling city's Reed Street Yards as company relocates from suburb of Brown Deer.

By - Jan 14th, 2022 08:35 pm
The Milwaukee Skyline and the new Rite-Hite office building. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The Milwaukee Skyline and the new Rite-Hite office building. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

A new headquarters for warehouse equipment company Rite-Hite is is rounding into form in Walker’s Point.

The company announced in early 2020 it would relocate from suburban Brown Deer to the Reed Street Yards business park, bringing approximately 300 employees with it.

It is building three structures, beginning with a four-story, 159,308-square-foot office building along the north side of W. Freshwater Way on a site that overlooks the South Menomonee Canal and Harley-Davidson Museum. The signature curved shape of the building’s upper floors is now clearly visible.

A two-story, 108,552-square-foot office building, to be used for research and development, is being constructed on the south side of the street. The building, from the sidewalk architect’s perspective, appears to be the closest to completion with the glazing (window) system being assembled.

A parking structure with four levels and 450 stalls is being constructed immediately west of the R&D building. A skywalk, already partially completed, will connect the two office buildings.

Eppstein Uhen Architects is designing the buildings. CD Smith is leading the general contracting. The project was originally expected to be completed in early 2022, but despite substantial progress it appears likely to be many months away from opening.

Rite-Hite designs and manufactures loading dock equipment, industrial doors, safety barriers, industrial fans and other products for warehouse operators. The 56-year-old company has over 2,300 employees across the globe, including four locations in the Milwaukee area.

The new Milwaukee campus would be used for research, design, administration, sales and management, but not manufacturing.

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 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. The move was billed as clearing an impediment to development and city officials said it would be required whether the then-rumored Rite Hite relocation occurred or not.

The formerly water-focused business park only attracted a single office tenant prior to Rite-Hite’s announcement.

Zurn, then a subsidiary of Rexnord, relocated from Pennsylvania to a three-story office building in the business park. The Yards apartment building was completed in 2020 on the district’s eastern edge along S. 2nd St. A substantial amount of other development, including the Global Water Center, has taken place just outside the borders of the business park. A large Milwaukee Bucks mural just outside of the business park will be partially obscured by the new R&D building.

An affiliate of Rite-Hite purchased 9.4 acres of land from General Capital Group for $12 million. The riverwalk segment that borders the property remains open during construction.

The Rite-Hite development is far from the only construction project in the area. To the north, Harley-Davidson is adding a new event venue to its museum campus. To the east, Kelly Construction has started working on the redevelopment of a pre-Civil War building at 235 S. 2nd St.

Photos

Renderings

Pre-Construction Site Photos

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