Irgens to buy 25 acres at UW-Milwaukee Innovation Campus

Developer plans to put up offices, seek out technology-based tenants

UW-Milwaukee Innovation Campus in Wauwatosa. (Credit: Google)

Last updated on June 24th, 2019 at 04:16 pm

Milwaukee-based Irgens Partners LLC is planning to buy about 25 acres of land at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Innovation Park in Wauwatosa as part of plans to develop more office buildings there.

UW-Milwaukee Innovation Campus in Wauwatosa. (Credit: Google)

Tom Irgens, vice president of Irgens, said an investment affiliate of the firm has entered into a contract to purchase the 25 acres, but did not provide specifics of what might eventually be built on that land.

“There is much work to be done with respect to project approvals and collaborating with various community stakeholders and neighbors,” he said in an email. “The project will employ environmentally sound development techniques.”

Dave Gilbert, president of the UWM Real Estate Foundation, said the initial options for Irgens to purchase is for 12 months, but the developer could extend that up to 18 months. Gilbert said this gives the firm time to do its due diligence and fully study how the land would best be developed. It also gives Irgens time to reach out to prospective tenants.

“We really just viewed them (Irgens) as the perfect partner for this project,” Gilbert said.

The Innovation Campus is a public-private research park designed to provide industry and academia opportunities for collaboration. The site is located northeast of Interstate 41 and Watertown Plank Road, near the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center and the Milwaukee County Research Park.

Since the park launched in 2011, it has so far attracted one private-sector office building development: A 95,000-square-foot class A office building for ABB Inc., developed by Zilber Property Group. Other developments at the campus include UWM’s Innovation Accelerator building, a Residence Inn by Marriott hotel and the Echelon Apartments.

The remaining 25 acres represents what remains of the sites identified for private corporate development, said Gilbert. If the land is developed, that would fully build out the innovation campus.

Gilbert said if the land purchase is eventually finalized, the foundation would still own the academic and research facilities at the campus, which comes out to about 10 acres.

Irgens also had a hand in developing the Milwaukee County Research Park just southwest of the Innovation Campus. Tom Irgens noted the developer has been involved with 10 projects that created about 1.5 million square feet of office space with an economic value exceeding $260 million.

Tom Irgens said his firm will pursue technology-based companies for the Innovation Campus similar to what has been recruited at the nearby research park, such as GE Healthcare, Zywave Inc., Advicent Solutions and the Medical College of Wisconsin, among others, as well as company headquarters for organizations similar to Wipfli LLP and Serve You Custom Prescription Management Inc.

“Uses complementary to the regional medical center due to its adjacency will also be pursued,” he said.

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Alex Zank
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.