Alro to double warehouse space at former Central Steel & Wire building in Milwaukee

Addition, renovation work could finish by fall 2020

Former Central Steel & Wire Co. building
Former Central Steel & Wire Co. building.

Last updated on September 3rd, 2019 at 12:21 pm

Alro Steel Corp. is putting forward extensive work on the former Central Steel & Wire Co. facility on Milwaukee’s south side, including a 96,000-square-foot building addition.

A company official says Alro will move its Wauwatosa distribution center and roughly 80 employees there, hopefully by late 2020.

The Michigan-based distributor of metals, industrial supplies and plastics purchased the 108,000-square-foot facility at 4343 S. Sixth St. early this year for $7.1 million.

According to an application filed with the Department of Natural Resources, the company plans to add on 96,000 square feet onto a portion of the western side of the building.

Additionally, Alro is remodeling the existing office and industrial space, reconstructing and expanding the parking lot and adding stormwater features, according to DNR application and permit applications filed over the last few months.

“We’re completely remodeling the office and doubling the size of the warehouse,” said Bob Bates, regional vice president with Alro.

Specifically, alterations are being made to 10,800 square feet of office space and the 95,900-square-foot factory space, according to city permit records. The parking lot will be expanded to the north and south and increase from 74 to 125 spaces.

The result will be an expanded roughly 203,100-square-foot facility, a permit application states. The cost for the building addition is $10.5 million, and the cost of the renovations is $1.5 million.

The existing Milwaukee-area Alro distribution center is located at at 3000 N. 114th St., Wauwatosa. Bates said Alro brings in metal products from different mills and performs first-step processing, such as cutting and lasering, to sell to its Milwaukee-area customer base.

However, the expanded facility in Milwaukee, near the southwest corner of where Interstate 43 meets Sixth Street, will allow the company to keep more inventory and therefore offer more to its customers, he said.

So far, only demolition work has taken place at the Milwaukee facility. Bates said the offices have been gutted down to the concrete walls and the slabs in the building that need to be replaced are currently being broken apart.

Bates cautioned that the timeline for the work is not final, but said he hopes the work will finish by early fall of next year. Alro would move in shortly after that.

Alro may add to its Milwaukee workforce depending on how much business picks up due to the expanded facility, said Bates.

He added that Alro was attracted to the building for a number of reasons.

“The location’s good,” Bates said. “It was a metal distribution center with Central (Steel & Wire), so that worked out well. A lot of good pluses. We were very fortunate to get that building.”

What Alro will do with its Wauwatosa building is still undetermined, Bates said.

Central Steel & Wire, a metal service center with six locations around the country, was acquired last year by Chicago-based Ryerson Holding Co. for $163.5 million.

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Alex Zank
Alex Zank covers commercial and residential real estate for BizTimes. Alex previously worked for Farm Equipment magazine and also covered statewide construction news at The Daily Reporter. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he studied journalism, political science and economics. Having grown up in rural western Wisconsin, Alex loves all things outdoors, including camping, hiking, four-wheeling and hunting.