Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 05:03 pm
For the first time since its conversion to an office park, Schlitz Park in downtown Milwaukee is 100 percent leased.
VCPI, a health care IT company, has signed a long-term lease and plans to relocate 150 employees from the former Extendicare Health Services building at 111 W. Michigan St. in downtown Milwaukee to the Schlitz Park by July 1.
Markham, Ontario-based Extendicare Inc. closed the headquarters of its Milwaukee-based Extendicare Health Services subsidiary last year.
VCPI, a subsidiary of Extendicare Canada, will lease 20,000 square feet on the second floor of Schlitz Park’s RiverCenter building at 1555 River Center Drive.
The lease brings the original 400,000 square feet of available space at the 46-acre riverfront office complex to 100 percent occupancy, three years after the park’s owners, The Brewery Works, Inc., invested $62 million to renovate the property.
Schlitz Park developer Gary Grunau said all of the leases at the complex are “pretty long term,” with the average lease 8.5 years.
Dan Weise, chief executive officer of VCPI, said being located at Schlitz Park, will add value to the company’s identity and employee brand. The company plans to add more than 25 employees during the next few years, with most of that growth planned for the Schlitz Park office.
“We’re one of Milwaukee’s largest IT companies and we want to attract and retain the area’s best technology talent,” Weise said. “This area is booming, especially with the new entertainment district the Milwaukee Bucks are developing, and we can’t wait to be a part of it.”
The space VCPI is vacating on Michigan Street is one of the downtown Milwaukee locations that Master Lock is considering for its corporate headquarters, which could be relocated from Oak Creek.
Now that Schlitz Park is fully leased, attention is being turned to converting 80,000 square feet of former warehouse space in the RiverCenter building into office and storage space. That space, formerly occupied by Assurant Health, will be converted into office suites totaling 50,000 square feet, along with 30,000 square feet of storage space with a loading dock.
Grunau anticipates the office space will be ready for occupancy later this year after substantial remodeling. An open house was held for brokers recently and three to four tenants are already interested in the space, Grunau said.
“These (potential tenants) were people from all over, other parts of the country and the suburbs,” he said. “No one from downtown.”
Last summer, Grunau announced plans for a $76 million, multi-phase mixed-use expansion over the next five years for Schlitz Park. The warehouse conversion is phase one. Other projects include a a 140-room hotel and 140 apartments.