Kenosha-based Bear Development has purchased the land containing a parking structure in the Historic Third Ward as part of the firm's plans to eventually redevelop the Johnson Controls office complex in downtown Milwaukee. Johnson Controls plans to leave that complex to consolidate offices at its Glendale operating headquarters.
Bear affiliates purchased the property at 212 N. Milwaukee St. from Johnson Controls for $6.92 million, according to state records. This comes after Bear's $24 million purchase of the Johnson Controls downtown Milwaukee office complex at 507 E. Michigan St. last fall.
S.R. Mills, chief executive officer of Bear, said his firm specifically bought the land underneath the parking structure. The Historic Third Ward Business Improvement District No. 2 owns the parking structure on top of the land, and has a ground lease through 2044. Mills said included with the land sale was Johnson Controls' lease for 192 of the structure's 550 parking stalls.
Mills said the parking property was part of the original deal to acquire the Johnson Controls complex. But due to some timing issues, the deal had to be separated into two transactions.
His firm plans to incorporate the parking spaces into the redevelopment project. The stalls would provide parking to future tenants.
Meanwhile, his firm is still working out specifics of the downtown complex redevelopment. Johnson Controls will remain there for the next 20 months, he said, before moving all of its employees to its Glendale campus.
"We're slowly going through the steps and figuring out how we're going to redevelop each of the component parts," Mills said.
The future project could result in a mix of uses at the downtown complex, including offices, residential and hospitality, Mills has said previously.