Jeffers reveals Huron Building in downtown Milwaukee, with anchor tenant soon moving in

Ground-floor restaurant slated for spring opening

Huron Building
Huron Building

Last updated on October 7th, 2020 at 01:04 pm

The Huron Building, downtown Milwaukee’s newest office building, is expecting its anchor tenant to begin moving in this month, and is anticipating its ground-floor restaurant to open in the spring.

Josh Jeffers, president of Milwaukee-based J. Jeffers & Co., which developed the Huron Building, said law firm Husch Blackwell will begin moving its Milwaukee office into the building near the end of the month. Build-out work is still occurring, and the firm hasn’t yet obtained occupancy permits.

North Carolina-based restaurant Tupelo Honey is meanwhile forging ahead with its new location in the Huron Building as well. Jeffers said the restaurant will open in the two-story retail space facing Clybourn Avenue in late spring. The opening was pushed back from October due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he added.

The 11-story, roughly 287,000-square-foot Huron Building sits at 511 N. Broadway, northwest of Clybourn Street and Broadway. It has roughly 163,000 square feet of office space, 8,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space and 240 interior parking stalls across five floors.

Guiding a media tour of the building on Monday afternoon, Jeffers pointed out features such as the tenant lounge, 2,000-square-foot fitness room and a 2,000-square-foot outdoor terrace on the eighth floor, “gray” boxed office spaces ready for tenant build-outs, the interior parking garage and the two-story retail space.

Jeffers showed off the building roughly a year and a half after construction began. Jeffers & Co. and Madison-based contractor Stevens Construction Corp. ceremoniously broke ground on the project in May 2019.

Construction of the building was completed five weeks ahead of schedule. Jeffers said this was from a number of factors, including some related to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the pandemic delayed some projects, causing contractors to focus their attention on ongoing projects like the Huron Building. He also noted no one working on the job site got sick, which meant the project didn’t lose any days.

Stevens Construction also shrank the time it took to complete pile driving by having more people on site than normal performing the work. Jeffers said it also helped that the contractor was also heading up construction of three new hotels just east of this project site.

“We’ve consistently been ahead of schedule for over a year,” he said.

Husch Blackwell is leasing 71,000 square feet on the top three floors. There is still more than 78,000 square feet of office space available in the building, according to marketing materials from Founders 3. The Milwaukee-based brokerage firm is representing Jeffers & Co. in leasing out the building.

There are still two retail spaces available for lease, said Jeffers. One space, perhaps best suited for a coffee shop, faces Broadway Avenue just off the building lobby. The other is on the west side of the building, and is drawing interest from banks for retail branches, Jeffers said. Each retail suite totals roughly 2,500 square feet.

Ned Purtell, principal with Milwaukee Founders 3, said there has been interest in the Huron Building from prospective office tenants — just not as much as there would be normally due to the pandemic.

“The volume of people looking is less than what it is in normal times, but we still have a very good list of prospects,” Purtell said. He added that many office users are holding off on making big changes for a year or two, until the world is more certain.

“We (Jeffers & Co.) are probably not going to do a tremendous amount of leasing in the next six months or 12 months, but we do have a lot of great interest in later ’21, and beyond,” Jeffers said.

Jeffers said the $60 million development has 475 investors. This includes more than 400 investors who contributed a total of $14 million through crowdfunding site Crowdstreet.

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Alex Zank, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.

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