Komatsu to build $285 million HQ complex at Solvay Coke site

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Komatsu Mining Corp. will consolidate two of its Milwaukee-area operations in a $285 million headquarters and manufacturing facility at the former Solvay Coke site in the Milwaukee Harbor District, the company, state and local officials announced.

Komatsu plans to add 443 jobs over the next 12 years at the new headquarters, where employment is expected to eventually exceed 1,000.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is providing $59.5 million in state income tax credits to support the project and the City of Milwaukee is expected to provide $25 million in assistance through a developer-financed tax increment financing district.

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The company plans to build 170,000 square feet of office space, a 20,000-square-foot museum and training building, and 410,000 square feet of manufacturing space on the 47-acre site, located south of West Greenfield Avenue and east of South First Street, along the Kinnickinnic River.

At the new South Harbor Campus, Komatsu will combine operations currently located at its headquarters along West National Avenue and at the Honey Creek Corporate Center in Milwaukee.

The project is expected to be complete by 2022.

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Komatsu is the second major project to be announced along the Kinnickinnic River this year. In August, Brownsville-based construction company Michels Corp. said its regional office would anchor a $100 million mixed-use development at the former Horny Goat Hideaway property in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood.

“The new campus provides us opportunity for advancement in state-of-the-art facilities that expand our capabilities on a global scale,” said Jeff Dawes, president and chief executive officer of Komatsu Mining Corp. “Our new facilities will be designed to enhance safety, efficiency and environmental sustainability – all top priorities of Komatsu worldwide, allowing us to better serve our customers and deliver innovative solutions.”

Komatsu America Corp., the Rolling Meadows, Illinois-based subsidiary of Japanese heavy equipment maker Komatsu Ltd., bought Milwaukee-based mining equipment maker Joy Global Inc. in 2016 for $3.7 billion. Joy was then rebranded as Komatsu Mining Corp.

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The new headquarters campus will be located about a mile from the location of one of the original Pawling & Harnischfeger machine shops, built in 1886 near South First and East Oregon streets, according to the Wisconsin Historical Society. P&H was the surface mining segment of Harnischfeger Industries Inc., which rebranded as Joy Global in 2001 after emerging from bankruptcy.

A far cry from the original machine shop, the new headquarters will have advanced machine, heat treat and fabrication shops, state-of-the-art research and development and robotics labs, a purpose-built office complex, a data solutions center, and a global training and conference center.

Komatsu says the new facilities will be built with the goal of having near zero emissions. Solar panels; wind spires; a remotely operated, closed-loop heat-treat system; green spaces; LED lighting; and other sustainability efforts will help the company reduce energy consumption by 75 percent and water consumption by 80 percent compared to current operations.

BizTimes Milwaukee reporter Corrinne Hess contributed to this report.

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