Master Lock signs lease at former Caterpillar complex in Oak Creek

Company considered moving to downtown Milwaukee

The former Caterpillar facility in Oak Creek.

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 05:01 pm

Master Lock Co. signed a lease on Aug. 5 and will move its headquarters into the former Caterpillar mining division headquarters complex on Howell Avenue in Oak Creek in early 2017.


The lease ends months of speculation as to where the manufacturer would relocate when its lease at its current location at 137 W. Forest Hill Ave., Oak Creek, expires on March 1, 2017. The company considered at least three sites in downtown Milwaukee before deciding on the former Caterpillar complex at 6744 S. Howell Ave., according to sources.

BizTimes reported on Aug. 2 that the company was no longer looking at sites in downtown Milwaukee and would move into the former Caterpillar mining division headquarters.

“This campus offers significantly more space and other features to support our continued growth and will help us attract the top local talent we need to be successful in the future,” Mike Bauer, president, The Master Lock Company, said in a statement.

Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi said he is pleased the company is staying in the city.

“As one of our largest employers in the city, we value their dedication to our community,” Scaffidi said. “We look forward to their transition to the new location.”

To support its growth, Master Lock is actively seeking to fill many open positions that span all areas of the business including IT, customer service, engineering, marketing, supply chain and more.

“This is an exciting time in the history of our business—and a great time to join our company,” Bauer said. “We’ve had a strong start to 2016, we are hiring to fill newly-created positions and our state-of-the-art facility will accommodate our growth and help us attract the best talent.”

Bucyrus International Inc. purchased the two-building, 120,833-square-foot office complex for $9 million in June 2010. It was originally the corporate headquarters for Midwest Airlines.

Caterpillar acquired Bucyrus for $8.6 billion in November 2010 and moved the headquarters of its global mining division to the Oak Creek campus.

In October, Caterpillar announced it would close the complex and move between 200 and 250 jobs to South Milwaukee.

Colliers International Wisconsin is selling the complex and a third party buyer will purchase and lease it to Master Lock, sources say. The property is listed for $14.5 million.

Representatives from Colliers could not be reached for comment.

City of Oak Creek officials have met in close session recently to consider a proposed development agreement and tax incremental financing district for the property, but have not released details.

Master Lock moved its corporate headquarters from 2600 N. 32nd St. in Milwaukee to Oak Creek in 2003, moving about 180 jobs out of the city. The company kept its production facility at 2600 N. 32nd St.

In 2015, The Master Lock Company, which is the security segment of parent company Fortune Brands Home & Security Inc., had net sales of more than $550 million, a 15 percent increase over 2014.

Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

No posts to display