Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Developer Delays Menomonee Valley Building

Westminster Capital puts speculative project on hold until at least late July.

By - Jun 22nd, 2022 09:45 am
841 W. Canal St. rendering. Rendering by Briohn Building Corporation.

841 W. Canal St. rendering. Rendering by Briohn Building Corporation.

The developer of a proposed building in the Menomonee Valley is asking the city to hold off on approving the necessary zoning change to enable its construction. Although why the developer is asking isn’t exactly clear.

Westminster Capital announced plans to construct a 180,469-square-foot industrial building as a speculative investment, hoping to land one or multiple tenants.

“We feel very confident that there is be demand for a property like this, especially in the Menomonee Valley,” said Westminster vice president Matthew Van Wie to the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee last week. “Obviously we think there is an opportunity here with it being one of the last sites in the valley where we can assemble enough land to build a building of this significance.”

With the council all but certain to unanimously approve the zoning change Tuesday, Westminster asked the legislative body to hold off until its July 28 meeting.

A representative of the Department of City Development said the hold was requested by Westminster so it could finalize its pre-acquisition due diligence.

Van Wie, via email, said that work is nearly complete. “The design of the proposed project remains the same as originally presented; there are no changes to scope,” wrote the developer.

Westminster needs to buy three oddly-shaped properties to create the 10.65-acre site. From We Energies, it would purchase the properties at 841 W. Canal St. and 131 S. 7th St. which appear today as a contiguous, vacant lot. It would also need to purchase a portion of the Lone Star Industries cement plant property, 643-745 W. Canal St., to square off the site.

The City Plan Commission, through a development incentive zone, has already approved the building’s design. Council approval is needed to unify the zoning on the two We Energies parcels, with the western one currently included in the Valley Power Plant‘s special zoning district.

The zoning change to remove the 841 parcel from the power plant zoning district and redefine it as the general “Industrial Light, IL2” is likely to be necessary for any future non-We Energies proposal at the site. But it’s now on hold until at least July.

Van Wie said last week that Illinois-based Westminster was on track to move forward. It’s the company’s fourth speculative industrial building in the Milwaukee area.

Westminster has developed two spec buildings in New Berlin and, most recently, one in Pewaukee.

“The first one leased up while we were under construction,” said Van Wie. The second one was leased within nine months after construction was completed. The Pewaukee building was finished earlier this year. “We are actually in discussions with several prospective tenants right now.”

The Illinois-based developer said there is a nationwide shortage of “Class A” industrial space, but it is particularly acute in Milwaukee.

Briohn Building Corporation is working as a design-build contractor on the building.


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2 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: Developer Delays Menomonee Valley Building”

  1. says:

    This site has access to rail service and navigable water. Either of these 2 assets is much more valuable than mere acreage.
    Why is Milwaukee allowing the squandering of these assets?

    The proposed building could be built on a lot of suitable sites elsewhere.

    When heat drives industries -and their jobs- North, this site will be attractive to the more economically robust in the group who need rail and/or water access.

    Aim high!

  2. says:

    Re: my previous comment-
    Sorry if I seemed to imply that climate would be the only or primary driver to selling this site.
    I missed one cut-and-paste.

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