Milwaukee Tool could bring 2,000 employees to former Assurant building in downtown Milwaukee

Rapidly growing company already adding space in Menomonee Falls, West Bend

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Brookfield-based Milwaukee Tool could bring up to 2,000 employees to downtown Milwaukee as part of a proposed redevelopment of the former Assurant building at 501 W. Michigan St.

City of Milwaukee officials are proposing a $12.1 million cash grant if the company brings at least 1,210 employees to the facility. A second grant of $7.9 million would be available if Milwaukee Tool brought another 790 employees to the facility.

The plan, detailed in a public notice on Wednesday, will receive a public hearing at the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee on April 15.

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The 370,000-square-foot building was rebranded as HQ501 in late 2019 when Milwaukee-based F Street Group acquired the property for $4 million. At the time, F Street officials said they would create a new form of urban campus and conduct a national search for a corporate tenant, with the goal of finding one within six to 18 months.

For its part, Milwaukee Tool says a downtown Milwaukee site is its “first choice” for additional space to expand its corporate operations.

“As we continue to grow our presence here in southeastern Wisconsin, we are looking into additional space to expand our corporate operations. A site in downtown Milwaukee is our first choice. At this time, we have no other details to share,” Ty Staviski, chief financial officer of Milwaukee Tool, said in a statement.

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Tim Sheehy, president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, said Milwaukee Tool’s interest is a sign downtown’s pre-pandemic momentum still exists.

“Milwaukee Tool is a cornerstone of our regional economy, and their continued rapid growth is a terrific example of the kind of success that’s possible here,” Sheehy said in a statement on behalf of MMAC and Milwaukee 7, the regional economic development entity. “Having Milwaukee Tool considering a significant presence in downtown Milwaukee shows us that all the momentum we had prior to the pandemic is still there for us to reclaim. This is the kind of opportunity that we can’t afford to pass on.

Mayor Tom Barrett said the company “is part of this city’s history, and it’s certainly part of our future.”

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“I enthusiastically welcome Milwaukee Tool, and I am delighted Milwaukee is their first choice as they look to expand their corporate operations within the region.”

Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp. started in Milwaukee in 1924 and moved to Brookfield in 1965.

The designer and maker of power and hand tools and other jobsite products has been among the fastest growing companies in the region in recent years. It has repeatedly reported year-over-year revenue growth of 20% or more. The company first crossed $2 billion in sales in 2015 and is now on pace to top $6 billion this year.

Advancements in battery and cordless power tools drove the initial surge in Milwaukee Tool’s growth, but the company has also placed an emphasis on innovation and expansion into other product categories.

The company first made two significant investments to expand its Brookfield headquarters and then in late 2019 and early 2020 announced plans for a second corporate campus in Menomonee Falls. It’s also building a manufacturing facility in West Bend.

News of the potential expansion was first reported by TMJ4 News. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was first to report on the location under consideration.


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