Milwaukee Tool plans another major HQ expansion

Wants to build $32 million building, add 350 jobs

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Brookfield-based Milwaukee Tool plans to once again expand at its corporate headquarters campus, adding another 114,500 square feet of office space and 350 jobs.

Milwaukee Tool currently has 1,300 employees at its headquarters campus, so the expansion would bring employment there up to 1,650. It has grown rapidly in recent years and had only 300 employees at the headquarters campus in 2011.

The Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp. headquarters campus in Brookfield.

The company announced plans Friday for a $32 million project that would be supported by $3.5 million in tax incremental financing. The Brookfield Community Development Authority is scheduled to discuss the plan Tuesday. The company is also talking with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. on a possible incentive package.

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Plans call for the company to purchase a 3.5-acre site across Lisbon Road to the north of its main campus. The company would build a multi-story office building on the site with office and research and development facilities.

Milwaukee Tool is projecting it will add another 350 jobs over the next five years with an average salary of $75,000. Most of the new positions would be focused on engineering and software development. The company says it is exploring other options for office space, but wants to keep all of its product, research, design and development on one campus.

The company completed a four-story, 200,000-square-foot office building on its headquarters campus last year, in a project that cost $35 million. That project was supported by $18 million million in tax credits from the state and $6 million in tax incremental financing from the city.

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Milwaukee Tool, which is owned by Hong Kong-based Techtronic Industries Co. Ltd., considered numerous options for that expansion. Jim Paetsch, Milwaukee 7 vice president of corporate relocation, expansion and attraction, told BizTimes in 2016 he was worried the company was going to leave for another state that had “an offer significantly better than ours on the table.”

Last year the company announced plans to completely update the architecture of the existing buildings at its headquarters campus and expand two buildings by a combined 30,000 square feet, in addition to the new building.

Milwaukee Tool also received $2.05 million in tax credits in 2012 and was to create at least 103 jobs. According to WEDC records, the company created 657 on that contract and has created 251 of the 592 required to get the full $18 million award.

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Milwaukee Tool has seen sustained growth in recent years powered by the development of cordless power tools and expansion into new product categories. The company regularly reports double-digit increases in revenue and is targeting $5 billion in revenue by 2020. In the early 2000s the company had around $500 million in sales annually and topped $2 billion for the first time in 2015. A 2016 BizTimes Milwaukee cover story took a close look at the company’s massive growth.

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