Marquette land deal includes two Zilber buildings

Marquette University’s seven-acre campus expansion is being fueled by two transactions totaling about $9 million.

The expansion, which university president Michael Lovell, Ph.D., announced during his inauguration address on Friday, will extend the university’s footprint on its eastern border in the 800 block of West Michigan Street in downtown Milwaukee.

The university’s new property, directly south of Straz Tower residence hall at 915 W. Wisconsin Ave., encompasses a 132,334-square-foot office building owned by Zilber Property Group. The building is located at 801-03 W. Michigan St. in downtown Milwaukee. UMB Fund Services recently vacated 70,000 square feet of space at 803 W. Michigan St. when it moved to the Schlitz Park complex.

The property Marquette is purchasing from Zilber Property Group also includes a 7,200-square-foot building at 521 N. 8th St. occupied by Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee.

The two buildings cover about 1.6 acres.

Additionally, Marquette is buying a vacant 4.6-acre site from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. That site, south of Michigan Street and west of North James Lovell Street, was previously part of the Marquette Interchange.

Marquette has not yet decided how it will use its new space, said university spokesman Brian Dorrington.

Lovell plans to have more detailed discussions with the campus community “to determine what the best uses are,” Dorrington said.

Lovell called the purchases a “once in a generation opportunity” for Marquette and Milwaukee.

Universities, particularly those in urban settings, don’t often have real estate opportunities of this magnitude, Dorrington said.

The acreage will help Marquette “with the long-term growth of the campus,” he said.

Marquette expects to close on the sales later this month, but that could change, according to Dorrington.

The university’s expansion was one of several key priorities Lovell called out during his inauguration on Friday. The new president is also charting plans to introduce a university presence at the Global Water Center in the Walker’s Point neighborhood as well as at Innovation Campus in Wauwatosa.

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