FBI may relocate downtown office

The U.S. General Services Administration is considering plans to relocate the FBI’s downtown Milwaukee office, currently located in the Plaza East complex at 330 E. Kilbourn Ave.

The federal government is in the market for 160,000 square feet of office space for the downtown Milwaukee FBI office, said FBI spokesman Leonard Peace. The federal government is considering plans to relocate the Milwaukee FBI office because the office needs more space, Peace said. He declined to elaborate on the FBI’s specific space needs.

The FBI currently has 80,000 square feet of office space at Plaza East, said Ned Purtell, partner of Milwaukee-based RFP Commercial Inc., which represents the Plaza East building. RFP is trying to convince the federal government to keep the FBI office at Plaza East, he said.

The FBI may decide to keep its office at Plaza East, Peace said. If the office remains at Plaza East more space will need to be added, he said.

However, the FBI office could be moved out of downtown, Peace said. Sites throughout Milwaukee County are being considered for the FBI office, he said.

At 160,000 square feet the FBI would be considered a significant anchor tenant. The GSA will most likely pick an existing building for the FBI office, Peace said.

The Milwaukee FBI office serves the entire state of Wisconsin. It has 85 agents and 95 professional staff persons, or a total of 180 employees.
One important issue for the FBI office is that it meets modern federal security standards, according to sources.

“Security is always a concern,” Peace said. “There are no current security issues at our current location. There are some standards that we have in place.”

One of the federal government’s goals is to place the FBI office in a LEED certified “green” building, said Brookfield-based NAI MLG Commercial principal Jack Jacobson.

Possible locations downtown that could accomodate a 160,000-square-foot space for the FBI include the former Blue Cross & Blue Shield building (401 W. Michigan St.), the former Pabst brewery complex and Schlitz Park, Jacobson said.

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