Irgens probable office building developer for Godfrey & Kahn

If Milwaukee law firm Godfey & Kahn S.C. moves its corporate headquarters to a new office building in downtown Milwaukee, that building will probably be developed by Wauwatosa-based Irgens Developer Partners LLC, according to several Milwaukee commercial real estate sources.
“We have been working with Godfrey & Kahn for some time to identify a new location for them,” said Irgens executive vice president Jackie Walsh.
Godfrey & Kahn is one of several Milwaukee law firms that has provided legal services for Irgens, Walsh said.
“We’re still waiting to see if a project comes together,” said Godfrey & Kahn managing partner Rick Bliss. “We have a very high regard for Irgens and that organization. They are just a very high-quality organization. If Irgens can put a building together we would be very attracted to that. We haven’t nailed anything down with anybody yet. We’re still waiting for something to come together.”
Godfrey & Kahn’s headquarters is currently located in the M&I Bank corporate headquarters building at 780 N. Water St. in downtown Milwaukee. The firm is out of room to expand there and has indicated for years that it will eventually need to move out of the building. The firm needs about 90,000 square feet of space.
Irgens had been planning to build an office building that would be anchored by Godfrey & Kahn next to the Milwaukee Athletic Club at 758 N. Broadway in downtown Milwaukee. However, that project has been put on hold and Irgens is looking for alternative sites, Walsh said.
Several commercial real estate brokers say the project at the Milwaukee Athletic Club site is “dead.” The property adjacent to the Milwaukee Athletic Club is a complicated site with a parking lot, parking structure and a fire station.
“In looking at the Milwaukee Athletic Club project, it’s not a simple deal,” Walsh said.
Irgens is considering several options for a downtown office building project, Walsh said. The company could identify another site to build an office building, or Irgens may partner with another developer for a project, she said. Several other developers have proposed office buildings in downtown Milwaukee.
One possibility is that Irgens will partner with developer Joel Lee, president of Van Buren Management Inc., on the Washington Square development southeast of Mason Street and Jefferson Street, which Lee has been working on for several years. However, contrary to a published report last week, Lee and Irgens have not formed a partnership to work on the project, Lee and Walsh told BizTimes Milwaukee.
If he builds Washington Square, Lee said he would add a partner for the project. He said there are three Milwaukee area developers that he would consider partnering with, and one of them is Irgens. He declined to name the other two.
The building would be 20 to 30 stories tall, but otherwise Lee said he has no specific plans and that he has no tenants committed to the project.
Lee said he has made numerous presentations about the project for years to potential tenants, including Von Briesen & Roper S.C., which is currently located at 411 E. Wisconsin Ave. and is considering several options to re-locate its headquarters.
“I thought we were very close two years ago with Associated Bank and it didn’t happen,” Lee said. “We’re no closer today with anybody else.”
Any of the downtown Milwaukee office projects will likely need two anchor tenants and about 75 to 80 percent of the space pre-leased to obtain financing, several real estate sources said. Besides Godfrey & Kahn and Von Briesen & Roper the other major tenant that is in the market for downtown office space is Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP, currently located in Honey Creek Corporate Park at 115 S. 84th St., on Milwaukee’s west side.

Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

No posts to display