Bray Architects mulling expansion of Milwaukee office in Walker’s Point

Firm looks to add employees, expand building

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Milwaukee-based Bray Architects is planning to expand its Milwaukee headcount and its Walker’s Point headquarters office.

One option the company is exploring is an expansion of its building at 829 S. First St. onto the parcel immediately north, which currently houses an old duplex building, said company president Matt Wolfert.

“Specifically what’s going to happen is still in the works,” Wolfert said, adding that there are other expansion opportunities in the neighborhood beyond the next-door site. “So, we’re in the planning phases there, quite frankly exploring a variety of options.”

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According to city records, an affiliate of Bray purchased the 135-year-old building at 821 S. First St. in August for $200,000. Separate city records also indicate contractors in December filed an application for asbestos abatement to the building.

Wolfert said Bray will eventually have the building demolished “to support the future growth and expansion of the firm and of the (headquarters) building.”

But the firm is still working out the details. For one, it has to determine exactly how many employees it wants to add. This goes beyond new architects to include corporate support roles, such as marketing and human resources, said Wolfert.

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“If we could right now, we would probably hire between 10-15 architectural team members to support current and projected work moving forward,” he said. “We’re very fortunate and very happy about being in that position.”

Bray also has to figure out by how much to expand, both in terms of square footage and number of floors.

Wolfert said the expansion work would ideally begin sometime this spring, though there’s no guarantee that happens.

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The firm is also expanding in regions beyond Milwaukee, particularly in the Quad Cities area. Last month, it announced the opening of its new office in Davenport, Iowa, and the acquisition of Moline, Illinois-based architectural design and planning firm Bracke.Hayes.Miller.Mahon Architects.

Bray has about 71 employees with offices in Milwaukee, Sheboygan and Davenport.

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