Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Spec Industrial Building Approved

New Menomonee Valley building gets final city legislative approval. Cleared for development.

By - Jul 28th, 2022 12:45 pm
841 W. Canal St. rendering. Rendering by Briohn Building Corporation.

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

The Milwaukee Common Council gave final approval Thursday to a proposed industrial building for the Menomonee Valley.

Westminster Capital announced plans earlier this year 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 in June. “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.”

But the company had asked the council to hold off on approving the necessary zoning change so that it could complete more due diligence work on the underlying properties.

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.

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 in June. 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.

Van Wie was out of the office and did not provide an immediate comment following Thursday’s approval.


Site Photos

Site History

The property has been vacant for approximately two decades. It previously was the site of a Milwaukee Tallow Company rendering plant known infamously for its smell.

Allen Edmonds considered building a new factory on the property in 2001, but beyond initial grants for site cleanup, that project never progressed. Former Allen Edmonds owner John Stollenwerk maintained ownership of the site for the next decade and a half.

Lakefront Brewery considered building a new brewery on the site in 2013, but ultimately canceled those plans. Stollenwork then sold to We Energies in 2014.

Two baseball batting cages are about the only markers on the property today.

The southern edge of the site borders the South Menomonee Canal, once a key waterway to deliver coal to the power plant. In 2015 the plant converted to burning natural gas.

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