Komatsu plans March 12 construction start for new manufacturing facility

Office building construction slated to begin in May

Solvay Coke site, future home of Komatsu Mining
Solvay Coke site, future home of Komatsu Mining Credit: Jon Elliot of MKE Drones LLC

Last updated on March 17th, 2020 at 01:36 pm

Komatsu Mining Corp. plans to break ground on its new Milwaukee manufacturing building on March 12, and commence construction on its new headquarters office about two months later on May 22, according to a report filed with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Komatsu last year announced plans for a $285 million headquarters and manufacturing facility in the city’s Harbor District. The new campus would be built at a site located south of West Greenfield Avenue and east of South First Street, along the Kinnickinnic River.

The new campus will go up on two sites: The former Solvay Coke site now owned by We Energies and a parcel that’s owned by the city. Plans call for the 430,000-square-foot manufacturing building on the Solvay Coke site, and a 176,000-square-foot office building and 650-stall parking structure on the city-owned site.

The report filed with the DNR, dated October 2019, outlines the erosion control plan for construction activities related to the project. It also gives a proposed timeline of construction and other “major land disturbing activities” to take place at the project site between now and the project’s completion.

However, the actual dates provided may change due to weather and other unforeseen circumstances, the report notes.

Construction of the industrial building is expected to take just over a year from start to finish — 375 days, to be exact. The office building and parking structure is anticipated to take about a year and three months.

Other planned construction activities at the Solvay Coke site include construction of bio-retention basins, which would start Christmas Eve and take about 40 days; installation of site utility services, which is slated to start in early February and finish 35 days later; and site landscaping, which would commence in September 2021 and take about 75 days.

Meanwhile, installation of utilities on the city-owned site is slated to begin mid-March and take about 30 days, while site landscaping would begin in late June 2021 and last about 50 days.

We Energies is conducting cleanup work at the Solvay Coke site, which it is expected to substantially finish by the end of the year. The work includes excavation of possible contaminated soil and material containing asbestos, removal of piping and installation of a groundwater monitoring well network.

Komatsu representatives told the City Plan Commission this summer that the company plans to move its operations to the new campus by March 2022. Komatsu plans to have about 600 employees working at the new campus once it’s up and running. That number could eventually grow to around 1,000. About 70% of the employees would work in offices, and the remaining 30% would be manufacturing-related workers.

The new Milwaukee campus will allow Komatsu to combine operations currently located at its headquarters along West National Avenue in West Milwaukee and at the Honey Creek Corporate Center in Milwaukee.

A Komatsu spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Alex Zank, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.

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