Johnson Controls plans major new office development

Johnson Controls Inc. is considering locating a major new office development in the Milwaukee area and said the city’s proposed downtown streetcar project will be a factor in determining the site of the project.

The Glendale-based company is interested in a downtown Milwaukee site near the lakefront that will become available when the ramps of Interstate 794 are reconfigured, sources said.

The company has not publicly disclosed any details of the project.

One source said the scope of the Johnson Controls project, “will surprise a lot of people when they do announce it.”

Ald. Nik Kovac, on the floor of the Common Council today, referred to the project as, “Johnson Controls world headquarters consolidation.”

“Johnson Controls is exploring a full range of options to address our expanding facilities needs in the area to support future growth,” Johnson Controls spokesman Fraser Engerman said. “These include options within Milwaukee, the surrounding communities and potentially elsewhere. These efforts are focused on growth and would not entail displacing our current local workforce. As we are evaluating options, a key consideration is a vibrant community with convenient transportation and easy access to our facilities. As a result we also have a keen interest in the downtown streetcar project and are monitoring that situation closely.”

A source said the downtown streetcar is not a requirement for Johnson Controls to build on the lakefront but the streetcar projects is a “very important factor” for the company’s decision.

Johnson Controls CEO Alex Molinaroli was one of nine prominent Milwaukee business and civic leaders who signed a letter Tuesday to Mayor Tom Barrett and the Common Council in support of the streetcar.

Last year Johnson Controls leased a 143,000-square-foot office space in the Renaissance Faire II building at 801 S. 60th St. in West Allis.

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