GE Healthcare aims for early 2022 start on part of $50 million West Milwaukee expansion

Leased facility on Electric Avenue to be used to make PET detectors and systems

Rendering of proposed building improvements superimposed over Google Street View imagery. Credit: Eppstein Uhen Architects/Google
Rendering of proposed building improvements superimposed over Google Street View imagery. Credit: Eppstein Uhen Architects/Google

Last updated on September 15th, 2021 at 12:52 pm

The first component of GE Healthcare’s $50 million West Milwaukee expansion is under local review, with the company intending to start construction work early next year.

On Tuesday, the village Plan Commission will review proposed improvements to the building at 4775 W. Electric Ave. Commissioners will specifically vote on a site plan, plan of operations and exterior alterations.

GE Healthcare intends to use the building for designing and manufacturing PET detectors and systems, according to village documents. It will also have storage space, employee offices and areas for shipping and receiving products.

The company will lease the building from property owner Interstate Partners LLC.

“Our goal is for the commission to review and approve the plans as quickly as possible so we can apply for permits and begin our site updates in early 2022,” a GE Healthcare spokesperson said in an email statement.

It accounts for just one part of GE Healthcare’s plans in West Milwaukee. The company will also build a three-story engineering complex at the site of its existing plant, at 4855 W. Electric Ave.

GE Healthcare announced about a year ago its intensions to invest $50 million in its West Milwaukee complex. With that investment, the company plans to shift more than 1,500 jobs from Waukesha to West Milwaukee and Wauwatosa.

The 87,000-square-foot building at 4775 W. Electric Ave. will house at most 120 employees and operate 42 hours a day, seven days a week.

Proposed building improvements include, among other things:

  • Office space, a break room and outdoor patio on the first floor, and additional offices and lab space on a proposed mezzanine level.
  • New exterior windows to provide natural light to the mezzanine office space.
  • Additional loading dock births north of the building to support GE Healthcare’s shipping and receiving operations.
  • An outdoor mobile unit consisting of a semi trailer with PET scanner.
  • A 2,000-liter liquid nitrogen tank to support manufacturing operations.

The company said previously it expects the move to take two or three years. Negotiations with local unions has finished, marking at least one task complete in facilitating the relocation.

GE Healthcare will keep its Magnetic Resonance buildings and around 600 jobs at its Waukesha campus. But it plans to sell some of its other buildings there.

“We saw an opportunity to better use existing capacity and make significant investments that would both reaffirm our commitment to manufacturing and product development in the state, and create an advanced medtech hub in metro Milwaukee,” Tom Westrick, president and chief executive officer of Life Care Solutions at GE Healthcare, said in a previous statement.

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Alex Zank covers commercial and residential real estate for BizTimes. Alex previously worked for Farm Equipment magazine and also covered statewide construction news at The Daily Reporter. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he studied journalism, political science and economics. Having grown up in rural western Wisconsin, Alex loves all things outdoors, including camping, hiking, four-wheeling and hunting.

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