On the rebound

    Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:29 pm

    The office real estate market along Interstate 94 has cooled in recent years after burgeoning throughout the 1990s as companies moved out of downtown Milwaukee.
    The sprawl reversed last year when Roundy’s Inc. and Bank One vacated Waukesha County office space and shifted hundreds of jobs to downtown Milwaukee.
    However, Michael DeMichele, The DeMattia Group’s director of development for the Milwaukee regional office, is bullish on the I-94 corridor for the future.
    Demattia owns land on Stone Ridge Drive and Busse Road, where DeMichele hopes to build the largest office building along the corridor.
    The $17 million Class A structure was approved by the City of Pewaukee two years ago, but because of economic repercussions of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the number of interested tenants was low.
    Until now.
    "As freeway sites go, this is the best freeway site in Waukesha County," DeMichele said. "The location is beneficial because of freeway access and signage, and the building itself is beneficial to a company because it will have large floor plates."
    DeMichele said DeMattia Group is going to wait until at least two-thirds of the 130,000 square feet of rentable space is leased before breaking ground on the new building.
    Each of the four floors would be 27,500 square feet and custom designed for both the original tenants and those that follow after the building is open.
    The ground floor would have 10,745 square feet of office space and 32 indoor parking spaces, according to DeMichele.
    Steve Wagner, a broker for the Polacheck Company, said DeMattia Group is talking to potential tenants, but nothing is being negotiated yet.
    "It is traditionally hard to pre-lease when a building has not yet been built," Wagner said. "But this is a very positive situation, because the tenants will pretty much get to design the interior of their offices, and they will be working out of a Class A building that is not only large but will have a significant presence."
    Wagner said the southeastern Wisconsin market does not have many large tenants on the market because many expect they will eventually need more room to expand. River Ridge will be built to accommodate expansions, according to Wagner.
    "A 60,000-square-foot tenant will see the benefit of the large floor plates in that the company will be able to fit on two floors," DeMichele said. "The benefit is that there is room to grow. We are the biggest building out there and will give the company a competitive advantage."
    Wagner said River Ridge is one of the last available freeway interchange sites for an office in the I-94 and Highway 164 area.
    The DeMattia Group hopes to close on lease agreements by the end of the year, DeMichele said.
    "We are basically waiting for the tenants to sign on, and because the building has been entitled, we can start building right away and be open by summer or fall of 2005," DeMichele said. "The office market is still strong in western Pewaukee, and we think River Ridge has a good chance."

    May 14, 2004, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI

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