Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 04:59 pm
Once the new BMO Harris Bank office tower opens in late 2019 in downtown Milwaukee and employees are moved out of their current location at 770 N. Water, Milwaukee developer Mark Irgens, CEO of Irgens Partners LLC, can shift his attention to repurposing the 49-year-old building.
He is looking at various options for the building, besides traditional office use, which includes hospitality and multi-family.
“The building is in great shape and has been very well maintained,” Irgens said. “But it was built in the 1960s, and its floor plates are not necessarily conducive to office uses in the current time.”
BMO Harris executives unveiled plans Thursday to build a 360,000-square-foot office building, on the site of its current parking structure.
Irgens will take possession of the bank’s current office building and refurbish it in preparation for new tenants. He plans to begin construction on that building in 2020, after the new BMO Harris building is complete and the bank has moved out of the old building.
The 280,511-square-foot office tower at 770 N. Water St. was built in 1967 as the headquarters for M&I Bank. It is currently assessed by the city of Milwaukee at about $19.8 million.
The Godfrey & Kahn law firm moved out of the BMO Harris building in March to anchor the new 833 E. Michigan St. building, also developed by Irgens, after leasing 92,000 square feet in the BMO Harris building since 1968.
Irgens is working with Colliers International | Wisconsin and architectural firm Kahler Slater on alternatives to traditional office users for the building.
He did something similar in 1998 when Ivory Tusk LLC, a joint venture of Irgens Development Partners LLC and Williams Development, purchased the 400,000-square-foot former Marshall Field’s/Gimbles building at 600 N. Plankinton, and redeveloped it into the ASQ Center. Tenants include Residence Inn by Marriott, Planet Fitness and the American Society for Quality.
Currently, a connector building exists between the parking ramp and the existing BMO Harris building. That connector building will remain, Irgens said. He is planning to have a restaurant and supplemental services there for tenants, such as dry cleaning.
The 770 N. Water St. building will likely have retail, possibly in the form of restaurants on the first floor, Irgens said.
“I’m looking at the possibility of hospitality (at 770 N. Water) and also multi-family and I also believe that there could be some creative office use involved that could be good for the smaller footprints,” said Irgens, who added that he has hired consultants who specialize in hospitality and multi-family. “This is not necessarily my area of expertise and we want to make sure it works swimmingly.”