MSOE Buys Homeland Security Building
University will use 22-year-old office building for unspecified academic use.
The Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) continues to expand the footprint of its downtown campus. On Wednesday, the university purchased a three-story, 59,429-square-foot office building at 310 E. Knapp St.
“This strategic acquisition will support our academic mission, further strengthening our ability to deliver a top-tier education and the development of the MSOE Mindset in our graduates,” said school president John Y. Walz in a statement. “As demand for our graduates grows, so too should our curricular and co-curricular offerings and campus infrastructure to meet their needs.”
Completed in 2001, the building is currently leased to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and its U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The university said it is “considering several potential academic uses” for the building, which now forms the northeast corner of its campus. Viets Field, a parking structure and athletic field, is to the west, the Kern Center wellness facility is kittycorner to the southwest and the Rader School of Business is located a half block to the south.
The university, according to state real estate records, paid $1.09 million for the property. It acquired the parcel from real estate developer and MSOE regent Kendall Breunig.
Breunig, who leads Sunset Investors, bought the facility in 2021 for $4.75 million from New Jersey-based Morristown Plaza Associate as part of a larger tax deferral strategy after selling six self-storage facilities in the Milwaukee area. The property is currently assessed for $9.3 million.
The developer received a bachelor’s degree in architectural and building construction engineering technology from MSOE in 1979. He was given an honorary doctor of engineering degree in 2017 and added to the university’s “Alumni Wall of Distinction” in 2021. He also holds a master’s degree in civil engineering from Marquette University.
The university will need to have the property rezoned for educational use. The Redevelopment Authority of City of Milwaukee is expected to hold a hearing on designating the property as tax exempt at its March 16 meeting.
MSOE announced plans last month to convert a recently-acquired duplex, located one block to the south, into a home for the university’s growing music program.
Last year, it started construction on a softball stadium at 408 E. State St. and expanded locker rooms at the Kern Center. The projects are intended to grow the university’s female athletics program and attract more female students.