Michael Best to move to planned BMO Harris office building

Bank officially unveils plans for new 25-story tower downtown

BMO Harris rendering southeast view.

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 04:59 pm

Downtown Milwaukee law firm Michael Best & Friedrich plans to move out of the 100 East office building and into the $137 million BMO Harris Financial Center when the 25-story office tower opens in downtown Milwaukee in late 2019.

The firm’s 235 employees will occupy three floors in the building.

The 360,000-square-foot office building, will be built next to the bank’s current downtown Milwaukee office building at 770 N. Water St. BizTimes Milwaukee first reported on Tuesday that BMO Harris was planning a new office building downtown. BMO Harris today formally announced its plans for the project.

“Milwaukee represents a critically important market for us. This new tower – which will add to the beauty of Milwaukee’s skyline – exemplifies our commitment to the city, and to the state of Wisconsin,” said David Casper, president and CEO, BMO Harris Bank.

BMO Harris’s 700 employees from the bank’s existing office building at 770 N. Water St. and approximately 175 employees at the Milwaukee Center building at 111 E. Kilbourn Ave. will move to the new building when it is completed.

The construction project will take place in phases. In the summer of 2017, the existing parking structure immediately north of the 770 N. Water St. building will be demolished; the new tower will be constructed on that site.

Milwaukee-based Irgens Partners LLC will be the developer for the new building and will also redevelop the existing BMO Harris Bank building, a 20-story structure built in 1967, into a class A multi-use building.

“The Irgens team has been working with BMO Harris, Michael Best, Colliers International and JLL to advance this project to where we are today,” said Mark Irgens, CEO of Irgens Partners, LLC. “The new BMO Harris Financial Center at Market Square will be a significant new anchor to the central business district in downtown Milwaukee. It’s a perfect location to conduct commerce and provides building occupants an enriching environment for team member recruitment and retention.”

Irgens will not be seeking public financing for the new building.

Rocky Marcoux, commissioner for the Department of City Development said when BMO Harris acquired M&I bank in 2011, the city was concerned it would not treat Milwaukee as a legacy market.

“Of course we know the answer to that, they more than treated us as a legacy market, you would think BMO was founded in Milwaukee,” Marcoux said. “This is a tremendous day for our city, not only to have this tremendous office building built but a recommitment to Milwaukee and this great city.”

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