Five-story addition proposed for Mercantile Building in Third Ward

Would be located at northeast corner of Water and Buffalo streets

Rendering of the Mercantile Building addition

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 05:03 pm

A 35,000-square-foot, five-story addition is planned for the Mercantile Building in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward.

The addition would connect to the existing building at 220 E. Buffalo St., and be built on the surface lot at the northeast corner of Water and Buffalo streets.

The Third Ward Architectural Review Board gave the project conceptual approval Wednesday, however asked Tim Dodge, president of Hanson Dodge Creative and one of the owners of the Mercantile Building, to come back later this month with updated architectural plans.

Dodge is hoping to start construction this summer and have the addition complete by the end of the year.

He is still working on financing for the project and lining up tenants.

The building will include 5,000 to 6,000 square feet of first floor retail space and a rooftop balcony. The remaining floors would be office space that would connect to the 48,000-square-foot Mercantile Building.

Dodge said he is hoping to consolidate Hanson Dodge Creative onto one floor – the marketing agency currently leases 18,000-square feet on two floors of the Merchantile Building – and attract “Tech-driven tenants to the new building.”

The addition will eliminate about 10 parking spaces from the Third Ward, Dodge said.  A second surface lot with 40 spaces will not be affected.

Members of the Third Ward Architectural Review Board asked Dodge about parking and he said he is talking to neighbors about building a possible structure, but he is planning to build the addition regardless of parking.

“I’m just a small business owner, not a developer, who is trying to do this in the Third Ward,” Dodge said. “People have said I won’t get the rents to support this, but I think the financials will come.”

This is not the only office space project planned in the Third Ward. Tom Irgens, with Milwaukee-based commercial real estate development firm Irgens, has an option to purchase a property at 143 N. Milwaukee St. in the neighborhood and is also planning to develop a building there that would have up to 150,000 square feet of office space.

His proposal is expected to include parking and will be reviewed later this year at a Third Ward Architectural Review Board meeting.

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