Johnson Controls to expand into West Allis

Glendale-based Johnson Controls Inc. plans to expand into West Allis with a 143,000-square-foot lease of office space in the Renaissance Faire II building at 801 S. 60th St.

The building is owned by Milwaukee-based Van Buren Management Inc. The firm was informed recently that Johnson Controls had selected the Renaissance Faire building for the expansion, said Van Buren Management President Joel Lee. Mike Fardy of Colliers International|Wisconsin brokered the deal for Van Buren Management, Lee said.

Johnson Controls will have about 800 employees in the building.

A spokesperson for Johnson Controls confirmed that the company is leasing space in the West Allis building, but provided no additional information.

“The City of West Allis can say that it is pleased that Johnson Controls has leased office space in West Allis,” said Patrick Schloss, community development manager for the City of West Allis. He provided no additional details. West Allis Mayor Dan Devine could not be reached for comment.

On Monday, West Allis officials scheduled a press conference for 2 p.m. today to announce the deal, but this morning they canceled the event.

Van Buren Management recently announced plans to build a 630-space parking structure at the Renaissance Faire complex. The parking structure was planned in anticipation of the Johnson Controls deal, Lee said.

“If they come in with 800 people, we don’t have enough parking,” he said.

Van Buren Management is seeking new markets tax credits, or tax incremental financing, or a combination of the two, worth about $2 million to the firm to subsidize the $6 million parking structure project. The deal for the subsidy is still being worked out with city officials, Lee said.

“West Allis is extremely helpful,” Lee said.

The Johnson Controls deal will fill all of the available space in the 200,000-square-foot Renaissance Faire II structure. The entire Renaissance Faire complex has 400,000 square feet of office space, and will only have about 30,000 square feet of available space after the Johnson Controls deal is finalized, Lee said.

The complex was originally a manufacturing structure built in 1945. Van Buren acquired it in 1985 and converted half into 200,000 square feet of office space, known as Renaissance Faire I. The other half was occupied by a 100,000-square-foot Sam’s Club store from 1985 until 2010. Then Van Buren Management added a second floor to the former Sam’s Club space and converted it into 200,000 square feet of office space, known as Renaissance Faire II.

Existing tenants in the Renaissance Faire complex include U.S. Bank, Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare and CBS TV-58.

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