Johnson Controls says streetcar vote could affect expansion plans

Johnson Controls Inc. is considering locating a major new office development in the Milwaukee area and said the Milwaukee Common Council’s upcoming vote on a financing plan for a downtown streetcar 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 Common Council could vote on a plan to finance the downtown streetcar plan as early as Wednesday. A group led by Aldermen Joe Davis and Bob Donovan, however, opposes the streetcar plan and is spearheading a drive to gain enough signatures on a petition to force a voter referendum on the proposal.

Johnson Controls spokesman Fraser Engerman issued the following statement on Jan. 15: “Johnson Controls is exploring a full range of options to address our expanding facilities needs in the area to support future growth. 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.”

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