City plans TIF district for Menomonee Valley project

City of Milwaukee officials are planning to create a tax incremental financing (TIF) district for the City Lights development project planned in the Menomonee Valley.

The City Lights project is a planned redevelopment of a seven-building complex on a 25-acre property along the north side of the Menomonee River, southeast of West Greves Street and North 25th Street. Most of the buildings are about 100 years old and were originally used by the Milwaukee Gas Light Co. for the coal gasification process of burning coal to create gas to light the city’s street lights. The property is owned by Milwaukee-based Mallory Properties.

The city plans to provide $2 million in assistance for the $7.3 million City Lights development. Of the city funds $1.5 million will be TIF funds and $500,000 will be public works funds. The city funding will be used to extend a road through the property, to add a public riverwalk segment and to upgrade sewer and water infrastructure.

Zimmerman Architectural Studios Inc. plans to move its corporate headquarters, previously based in Wauwatosa but now temporarily based in Glendale, to occupy about 30,000 square feet of space in one of the historic buildings in the City Lights development.

An additional 30,000 square feet of space in other historic buildings on the site is expected to be occupied by commercial tenants by 2013. Mallory Properties also plans to prepare some of the vacant land on the property for new buildings.

The City Lights project will create a commercial campus on the property.

"It’s a highly visible location, it’s historic and we’re bringing in Zimmerman," said Department of City Development spokeswoman Andrea Rowe Richards. "We think (the redevelopment project) sets the stage for continued development in the rest of the (Menomonee) Valley).

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