833 East breaks ground

Irgens will host a groundbreaking ceremony today to celebrate the start of demolition work for 833 East, the 17-story office tower that it will build at 833 E. Michigan St. in downtown Milwaukee.

Irgens has signed leases for 168,155 square feet of office space in the project. The building has a total of 358,017 square feet of leasable office space.

Tenants that have signed leases for 833 East include: Godfrey & Kahn (77,817 square feet), Irgens (25,328 square feet), Colliers International|Wisconsin (20,422 square feet), Jason Inc. (12,506 square feet), a confidential tenant (18,135 square feet), First American Title Insurance Company (5,952 square feet), another confidential tenant (5,479 square feet) and Cresa (2,515 square feet).

Irgens also still hopes to attract a high end restaurant to the building.

Construction for the $101.51 million project is expected to be complete in February of 2016. The general constractor for the project is Milwaukee-based CG Schmidt and the architect is Milwaukee-based Kahler Slater.

The project is being financed with a $24 million loan from The PrivateBank, a $24 million loan from Associated Bank, an $11.5 million loan from Bank Mutual and an $11.5 million loan from Anchor Bank. The remaining $30 million for the project is being provided in the form of equity financing.

Irgens originally sought tax incremental financing from the city of Milwaukee for the project. City officials were resistant to the request, so Irgens regrouped and found a way to finance the project without a significant public component. The only public financing for the project is a $495,213 land remediation grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

New office building developments in downtown Milwaukee often request TIF support from the city. Developers typically say they need a subsidy, particularty to cover the cost of structured parking, in order to complete with lower-cost suburban developments on greenfield sites.

“I’m particularly proud we figured out a way to make the project work by itself,” Irgens said. “Maybe that’s a good message to send to the market about Milwaukee.”

Also, Irgens hired Prism Technical to help insure that minority-owned construction firms are aware of opportunities to work on the project. Irgens has made voluntary commitments for the project including: 25 percent on-site project trade hours by minorities and/or Milwaukee County residents; and 25 percent participation of small, minority women-owned or disadvantaged busineses.

“We’ve asked (Prism) to do minority outreach to make sure folks know they will have a fair shake of getting work,” Irgens said. “It’s our company philosophy that we need to include all folks that are qualified to work. Sometimes people think they may not have a shot, even though they would have a shot. Prism will make sure they know they have a shot, if they are competitive and qualified.”

The 833 East building, and an adjacent existing parking structure, will have a total of 456 enclosed, climate-controlled parking spaces for tenants of the building. The building will also be connected to the U.S. Bank Center, including shops in the U.S. Bank Center Galleria.

Other features of the 833 East building will include: 26,000-square-foot floorplates, a four-story atrium, a fitness center for tenants, a 120-person conference center, private exterior terraces for select tenant suites, an electric car charging station and enclosed bicycle parking. Irgens said he expects the building to get a LEED Silver certification, if not better.

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