Cargo Hub Planned For Milwaukee Airport
Former Air Force base along College Avenue would be redeveloped.
A former U.S. Air Force Reserve base on the edge of Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport is to be replaced by an air cargo facility.
Known as the South Cargo Logistics Hub, the 288,000-square-foot facility would have direct access to the airport tarmac. It’s being positioned as a state-of-the-art shipping center that would avoid higher costs and congestion associated with shipping through O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.
The facility would be developed at the site of the General Mitchell Air Reserve Station, long home to the 440th Airlift Wing. The U.S. Air Force closed the station in 2008 after approximately 60 years of use. The 102-acre property was transferred to Milwaukee County ownership in 2010.
“This rare opportunity to occupy a Class-A, on-airfield product at a major airport will stand out to a great deal of potential tenants,” said Prell in a press release. “Being able to meet the needs of modern users will put a new spotlight on the Airport and the strategic advantages it presents.”
The planned facility will include 74 docks and 99 trailer stalls. CBRE’s announcement notes that industrial properties near airports command an 18.8% rent premium.
Crow hopes to open the facility in the second half of 2024. It reports undergoing nine months of due-diligence work with officials from the airport, U.S. Air Force and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The site is contaminated by PFAS chemicals. “Any documented environmental issues with the site will be fully addressed and remediated as part of this redevelopment,” says the release.
The airport’s most recent master plan contemplates cargo-focused redevelopment options for the site. The existing buildings at the site have been recently leased as part of what is known as the “MKE Regional Business Park.”
The site is located at the southwestern edge of the airport, just north of E. College Ave. and between the north-south runway and S. Howell Ave. S. Jasper Ave. is the central road in a network of small streets that serve the former base. The property is addressed as 5950 S. Howell Ave. in property records, and 300 E. College Ave. in marketing materials.
Crow Holdings, named for founder Tramell Crow, operates a number of real-estate-focused subsidiaries and reports $24 billion in assets under management. It was the master developer of the Associated Bank River Center complex in downtown Milwaukee. A number of Milwaukee real estate executives, including Barry Mandel and Jon Hammes, formerly worked for the company.
Specific details about the nature of a lease of the former base were not available by the time of publication.
The Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 128th Air Refueling Wing continues to operate on the east side of the airport.