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If Milwaukee Tool expands again, I honestly hope it’s into Hub640. I’m okay with us renovating underused office space and having new construction being residential.
How much extra office space is currently un-leased there though? I would absolutely not be OK with using the street level Boston Store space as an office. It needs an active use of some sort.
 

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How much extra office space is currently un-leased there though? I would absolutely not be OK with using the street level Boston Store space as an office. It needs an active use of some sort.
It’s mixed use and only 20% occupied. I meant Milwaukee Tool expands into the office portion and it makes the retail more desirable for big box.
 

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I'm itching for the Third Street Market to re-open with that food hall. Folks are absolutely right that the Avenue absolutely needs a high-volume retail establishment like a Target, Meijer, Trader Joe's etc. I realize we're still in COVID, still working from home, and it was really cold on Wednesday - but man...downtown Milwaukee just felt incredibly dead. Even the neighborhoods (aside from around Gloriosos which is always hopping) seemed to have all the energy sucked out.

That's why announcements like Milwaukee Tool are so important. That's why (IMHO) the Convention Center is so important. Ditto to the proposed hotel projects and the JS Block rehabs. The Neutral Project tower could really be an important gap-filler. Walking around there really reinforced how underbuilt the Riverwalk is currently. All of those underutilized office buildings and surface lots really do suck the life out of a downtown. I like that the Edison lot could finally start getting some life, but it really is begging for something catalytic. As a downtown, Milwaukee has come a long way - but it's hopefully just on the cusp of getting started.
 

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Things were pretty bumping a week or two ago when it was 70. I think a lot of it is just having really nice weather for a month and than it just got randomly cold out of nowhere.
 

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I think the city is willing to pay what they are because as it says in the article this is results in 375,000 square feet of what I would assume is Class A rental space coming off the market. I am not sure how many other tenants are currently looking around for sizable amounts of Class A space, but if there are this could spur the development of a new office building which would in turn create new tax revenue for the city. Plus there are the ancillary benefits of this like the restaurants and other local businesses that having this many new workers downtown could support. In the long run if this spurs enough new development I don’t think the price is too bad for the city, especially if Milwaukee Tool expands their presence at the site in a few years. The one thing I am not sure it will do though is lead to the development of more housing options in the immediate area.
Definitely not Class A office space. Demand for Class A space is high right now. This is Class B, and maybe even B-. Which very few companies want. Additionally, there is absolutely nobody locally that could fill 375,000 SF except maybe them and Kohl's. And we don't get many national tenants either that would fill that either. Which makes what the city is doing frustrating. I agree that the $20 million should come with some agreements, but I agree more with Lafayette Crump and David Crowley. A growing list of of more and more aggressive mandates is only going to scare them off. Milwaukee needs to be seen as open for business. All these mandates will do is scare off other companies. Crump said it best: “I don’t want us sitting here in this meeting thinking that Black and Brown people only have $15 an hour or less jobs”. Just the presence of Milwaukee Tool in downtown Milwaukee opens the doors for so many minority professionals. Think of all the minority engineering students at places like UWM or MSOE that maybe couldn't travel to Brookfield for an internship before, but now would have the opportunities. This is going to open the doors for a ton of minorities to make +$75k, not $15 an hour. I get the sentiment of their argument, but sometimes you just need to let it go. We're not in a bargaining position. We desperately need this deal. Because I do think this would lead to a ton of ancillary development and encourage Marquette to get going on their site.
 

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If Milwaukee Tool expands again, I honestly hope it’s into Hub640. I’m okay with us renovating underused office space and having new construction being residential.
But does it make more sense to convert old office space into residential and erect new office space? I assume that this is why so many class B and C buildings are being converted. It has to be easier to add new plumbing fixtures and dry wall as opposed to having to recable an entire building.

Also the extent of renovation to create a class A space out of a B or C, given the extensive renovations of building materials and decor, would likely cost a fortune.
 

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But does it make more sense to convert old office space into residential and erect new office space? I assume that this is why so many class B and C buildings are being converted. It has to be easier to add new plumbing fixtures and dry wall as opposed to having to recable an entire building.

Also the extent of renovation to create a class A space out of a B or C, given the extensive renovations of building materials and decor, would likely cost a fortune.
I was more specifically talking about HUB640 since it was already built out as a speculative office space before covid 19. My brain just went general. Instead I should have said, I hope they choose HUB640 since it’s built, along with newer residential constructed where the Ramada is.

I’m a big fan of 310 West Wisconsin, old BMO and old Johnson Controls going residential so downtown feels less like a suburban office park.
 

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I think you'll get two of three there. I don't foresee the "Blue Behemoth" becoming anything other than office. I know it's possible to convert more modern office (like the Buckler for example), but I just don't see it here. It's really an ideal office building in terms of location and visibility. Obviously losing JCI is a big blow (and they're permanently on my shit list for all but signaling a new tallest, and then leaving the city completely), but adding residential could be really important at that site for retail and 18 hour activation. I also really like the old BMO for housing and just updating the façade a bit without dramatically changing it.

Does anyone know how many people actually live downtown? Because it feels like a lot, but I'm just not sure.
 

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I think Johnson Controls leaving while it sucks in terms of people & jobs downtown in the near term, it is a huuuuge opportunity to add hundreds if not more residential units while adding tons of street fronting retail to activate what are probably the two most depressing downtown streets (Michigan and Clybourn).
 

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I was more specifically talking about HUB640 since it was already built out as a speculative office space before covid 19. My brain just went general. Instead I should have said, I hope they choose HUB640 since it’s built, along with newer residential constructed where the Ramada is.

I’m a big fan of 310 West Wisconsin, old BMO and old Johnson Controls going residential so downtown feels less like a suburban office park.
I hope its a combination residential and hotel, for both properties. I like the extra street activation that hotel guests provide with their shopping, eating and entertainment needs.
 

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I think Johnson Controls leaving while it sucks in terms of people & jobs downtown in the near term, it is a huuuuge opportunity to add hundreds if not more residential units while adding tons of street fronting retail to activate what are probably the two most depressing downtown streets (Michigan and Clybourn).
Johnson Controls made me realize residential is king. You look at every neighborhood along the lake that isn’t downtown and it’s buzzing because you have strong neighborhoods. That Johnson Controls building had 900 employees and I was shocked because it was almost always empty outside of it since most people drove in, probably ate at a company subsidized cafeteria and went home. Maybe it’s enough people to support a restaurant in the area and a few hotel rooms.

Now it offers jobs for people who may want to live downtown, and a tax base but I think the office tower ratio is way to high for a busting downtown.
 

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Yeah the problem with the 501 W Michigan building is that it really can't be converted into residential. It's floorplates are literally twice the size of the Buckler Apartments. It has one of the largest floorplates of any office building downtown. If it were long and narrow, maybe, but it's a big square. They would have to carve out a massive window well/courtyard in the middle of the building. HUB640 won't have a problem attracting other tenants as it has already been multitenanted and is in a great location. Milwaukee Tool moving in there would prevent a lot of other smaller companies from doing so. And those smaller companies won't be going into the 501 Michigan building. This is in every sense of the phrase "a best case scenario". This building will sit vacant for another 10 years if this falls through.
 

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Johnson Controls made me realize residential is king. You look at every neighborhood along the lake that isn’t downtown and it’s buzzing because you have strong neighborhoods. That Johnson Controls building had 900 employees and I was shocked because it was almost always empty outside of it since most people drove in, probably ate at a company subsidized cafeteria and went home. Maybe it’s enough people to support a restaurant in the area and a few hotel rooms.

Now it offers jobs for people who may want to live downtown, and a tax base but I think the office tower ratio is way to high for a busting downtown.
There is a SEVERE shortage of apartments downtown. I'm not glad to see them go, but in reality, office buildings usually have very little impact on the streetlife and economic vibrancy surrounding their buildings. I can't tell you how many times I grabbed lunch at City.net Cafe or Red June Cafe and I was like the only one in there for the full hour. City.net has a dedicated clientele and I'll see the same office workers occasionally, but Red June was mostly like college students studying. Office workers are pretty boring and will usually pick one place and keep going there. Water Street Deli does well with office workers. So does Shah Jee's. But yeah, usually they will eat lunch in their building and then go home. I'll take a full mixed-use apartment building over a Johnson Controls office any day.
 

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I know things are improving along Clybourn (especially when and if the Couture happens) - with the hotels, HuschBlackwell, and the bar (can't think of the name of it), but I think it still makes sense to concentrate all the retail / restaurants to be fronting Michigan. JCI vacating and potentially hundreds of apartments will do wonders for that street - but so would an appropriate tenant instead of FoxConn and a demolition for the US Bank (5 story) immediately south of it.

I think we'd all debated out "wish list" vacant and surface parking lots ad nauseum. The real missing piece(s) for me are the Broadway / Michigan lot and the Chase riverfront deck. It just makes way too much sense for a nice residential tower there right on the existing Hop line, across from the Public Market, and yes - ideal highway access. You'd probably need to go pretty tall to have any view either East or West, but I think that southern view directly into the Third Ward would be really unique.
 

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That’s part of the problem with Johnson Controls, offices take up multitudes more parking than residential. The Johnson Controls Building has around 1k spots under contract including a ton of spaces on Broadway and Michigan in that red parking structure. Even if the new owners take some of that parking, a residential repurposing would mean 300 spots tops. If I bought it, I would demo the loading docks and maybe part of the annex on Clybourn and just put a small parking structure there since on-sight parking is more appealing and simpler.
 

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I agree that residential is massively important to the vitality and livelihood of downtown. Having a good mix of uses ensures the neighborhoods downtown will be activated throughout all hours of the day. I've mentioned it before but the loop in Chicago was notoriously bad for activation in anytime not between the hours of 9-5pm M-F. Things have gotten a bit better there but that's because they are adding residential use.

I think Madison has been doing a great job at mixing together uses along its Capitol East Corridor. They have retail on the ground floor, a few floors of office space topped off with residential space. This sort of incorporates all users into the same building. I'd like to see Milwaukee sort of follow the same scheme if possible. Urbanite is a great local example of the same concept.

Going forward, I feel like most of our chances at larger scale buildings are going to come from residential. I could see a solid tower or two rise each year. I imagine we will also see some more multi-tenant office buildings constructed every couple of years continuing the trend (833 East/BMO Tower).
 

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Can the common council screw this up?? If they chase away Milwaukee Tool...it will be embarrassing. Hopefully, this is just posturing


Milwaukee Tool deal with city 'in trouble' at Common Council over labor issue: Bauman

 
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