More Speculative Industrial Development Planned in Oak Creek

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:35 pm

In another sign that developers believe the demand for industrial real estate in the Milwaukee area continues to grow, First Industrial Realty Trust is planning a speculative development in Oak Creek. The Chicago-based REIT (real estate investment trust) has purchased 13 acres of vacant land at the southeast corner of South Howell Avenue and Mahn Court from Mike Rosen for about $1.1 million, according to Peter Ginn, regional manager for First Industrial. First Industrial plans to build a 55,000-square-foot speculative building along Howell Avenue and a 98,000-square-foot building to the east of the first building. Both buildings would likely be for industrial tenants, although the building along Howell Avenue may attract retail tenants, Ginn said.

"There’s so much retail going up and down Howell Avenue, that could happen here," he said. The new buildings will be constructed simultaneously. Construction could begin in March and be completed in four to six months. The total project cost will be about $8.8 million, Ginn said. However, First Industrial might change its plans. The company has been contacted by commercial real estate brokers who said a firm is looking for a site for a 150,000-square-foot distribution facility which the firm would lease from the property’s owner. That company is considering First Industrial’s Oak Creek site and some other properties for the facility. Ginn declined to disclose the name of that company.

"We’ve had a number of other guys kind of poke around at (the site)," Ginn said.

First Industrial also is planning to build a 70,000-square-foot speculative industrial facility in Menomonee Falls. The company plans to buy a 5.5-acre site at the northeast corner of Campbell and Woodale drives from Kohl’s Corp. for that project. In the Milwaukee area, vacancy rates for industrial space are lower than the rates in most other metropolitan areas in the United States. Other markets have had more speculative industrial space development than the more conservative Milwaukee market. During the last economic downturn, the other markets with larger amounts of speculative development experienced higher vacancy rates than Milwaukee did. Now as the economy has improved overall and for manufacturers, more speculative industrial buildings are being developed in the Milwaukee area.

"You look around, and there’s people expanding their operations," Ginn said. Oak Creek is a popular place for new industrial development. Opus North Corp. built a 140,000-square-foot speculative industrial building northwest of the intersection of South Howell Avenue and Oakwood Road. The building is the first phase of the 92-acre Oakwood Crossing Business Center, an industrial park being developed by Opus. The building was completed in September, and Opus is still seeking tenants. "We will continue to expand (the Oakwood Crossing Business Center) as the market dictates," said Jay Craig, senior real estate director for Opus North. Oak Creek is attracting industrial development because it is located along Interstate 94 near the airport, has a strong labor pool and has land cheaper than other suburban areas such as Waukesha County, Ginn said.


Colliers Barry is marketing a 1.8-acre property that is for sale and is located near Miller Park. The property is at 600 S. 44th St. and is owned by John Stimac, who is asking for $2.1 million for the property. There are two industrial buildings on the property, a 3,800-square-foot building and a 12,000-square-foot structure. National Salvage recently signed a lease to occupy the buildings and will move there from West Allis. However, the property’s long term future could be for retail use, said Peter Slezak, senior vice president for Colliers Barry. The site is just east of the Stadium Freeway and just south of a road into the Miller Park parking lots that will eventually be connected to Canal Street in the Menomonee Valley. There are small pieces of property, one owned by the city and another owned by the county, on the east and west sides of the property. If acquired and combined with the Stimac site, they would create a 2.5- to 3-acre site. A larger site would be more attractive to retail development, Slezak said. "We’re going to try to combine these pieces together," he said. "There’s a lot of things that could happen to that property if we can add the dirt I’m talking about on each side."

Anna’s Linens plans to open a 9,870-square-foot store in the southern portion of Loomis Centre at 3555 S. 27th St. Costa Mesa, Calif.-based Anna’s Linens has 180 stores and is just beginning to enter Wisconsin. The retailer is already planning to open a 10,800-square-foot store at Brown Deer and Green Bay roads. The chain sells products for the home, including bed linens, window coverings, and accessories for bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens.
Blue Flame Music has moved from 3581 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. to a larger space at 5264 S. 27th St. Blue Flame Music buys, sells and trades new, used and vintage guitars, amplifiers and other musical instruments and accessories.


Schwai’s Meats plans to open a meat market in the Tillie Lake Business Centre, which is located on the west side of the village, northwest of Highways 45 and 60.


Mang Wong plans to open a Chinese restaurant in a multi-tenant retail center at 1405 Capitol Dr.


Rick Birdsall and Tim Bach recently opened the first Nestle Toll House Caf} by Chip in Wisconsin at 620 E. Green Bay Ave. in the Conservancy Court, which is just west of I-43 and Highway 33. It’s the 59th Nestle caf} in the nation. The menu at the cafes includes Nestle Toll House cookies, brownie and Toll House bars, breakfast items, coffee products and Edy’s ice cream and smoothies. "We are excited to introduce the first Nestle Toll House Caf} by Chip to Wisconsin and plan to open 10 to 15 additional cafes throughout southeastern Wisconsin by the end of 2008," Birdsall said.


Bang Tongkumbunjong plans to open a coffee shop in a 1,200-square-foot space next to his restaurant, Bang Thai, in the River Centre Shopping Centre at 6001-6111 W. Mequon Road.

Midwest Dietitians LLC recently moved from Elm Grove to 11512 N. Port Washington Road, Suite 101F, Mequon. The independent dietician facility says it plans to add several employees and more clients during the next year.

West Bend

First Weber Realty plans to build a two-story, 12,000-square-foot office building on a vacant two-acre lot between 1624 Clarence Court and 1420 W. Paradise Dr. on the southwest side of West Bend, just west of U.S. Highway 45. First Weber Group will occupy the first floor of the building with 55 employees. The second floor will be leased to up to four tenants.


Noodles & Company recently opened a location in Stradtford Plaza at 12132 W. Capitol Dr. The fast casual restaurant chain has 13 other locations in southeast Wisconsin and more than 110 locations in 11 states.


David Church, a commercial real estate developer and investor, plans to build a 13,652-square-foot multi-tenant retail center on 1.17 acres at the northeast corner of Plaza Court and Bluemound Road. The project still must be approved by city officials. The property is the southern half of a former site of a Super 8 motel. Texas Roadhouse is building a restaurant on the northern half of the site.

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