Community based office and retail development planned for National Ace Hardware building

The owners of WiRED Properties and Phelan Development announced Tuesday that they plan to convert the National Ace Hardware property in Milwaukee into a “community based retail and office re-development.”

Hardware HQ LLC, a partnership formed by WiRED president Blair Williams and Phelan president Sean Phelan, recently purchased the National Ace Hardware store property at 1303 N. 4th St., just north of the Park East corridor downtown, for $2.5 million, according to state records.

The property consists of three buildings built between 1892 and 1910. Williams and Phelan plan to do a complete historic restoration of the buildings to create 40,000 to 50,000 square feet of office space and 10,000 to 20,000 square feet of retail space.

The development, which will be called Hardware Headquarters, will include a bar and restaurant on the first floor, traditional retail space and office space on the upper level floors. It will also include numerous shared amenities for the tenants, including a bier-garten gathering space, shared conference rooms, workout areas and a small theater.

“Our inspiration for the Hardware Headquarters is found in San Francisco and other markets where new work space environments are being created that are predicated on the creation of community within the building,” Phelan said. “The community brings creative companies from different industries under one roof, where they engage and collaborate with one another in a less formal way. The amenities are meant to engage those within Hardware HQ, as well as those outside the building. We are targeting local Milwaukee companies who share a vision for the city, creative energy, and a desire to be located in a building that provides more than just office space.”

“The over-arching ideal is to create a sense of community within the building,” Williams said. “We want to be able to provide space where individual companies’ productivity improves because their employees’ productivity improves because they like coming to work.”

The building is located just north of the mixed-use district that the owners of the Milwaukee Bucks plan to create around the proposed new arena.

“The arena district is an extremely high level amenity for our tenants,” Williams said.

Construction is expected to begin in late fall, with space to be available for tenants in the spring of 2016.

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