Real Estate Spotlight: Schlitz Park upgrades could increase competition for class B office tenants

The Brewery Works Inc.‘s plans for a $30 million renovation of its Schlitz Park office complex is a major sign of confidence in the downtown Milwaukee office market.

The project will include remodeling 350,000 square feet of office and public spaces in the 1.2 million square foot complex. The remodeled space will provide room for additional tenants with up to 1,800 employees, said Schlitz Park co-owner and developer Gary Grunau. Currently 4,200 people work in the complex, including the ManpowerGroup and Time Warner Cable buildings, he said.

The Brewery Works is optimistic that Schlitz Park will be able to capitalize on a national trend of businesses moving to downtown office locations, in part to help attract younger workers.

“Young people don’t want to the out on the fringe,” Grunau said. “People are coming back to the urban core.”

The Brewery Works is planning the $30 million Schlitz Park makeover at a time when the downtown Milwaukee office market has a 31.48 percent vacancy rate for class B office space, such as Schlitz Park, according to Inland Companies’ first quarter office market report. Schlitz Park has a vacancy rate of about 20 percent, according to Grunau.

However, Schlitz Park has several advantages over other class B office properties downtown and its renovation project and re-branding campaign should help it attract more tenants, commercial real estate brokers say.

Read more in the latest edition of the BizTimes Milwaukee magazine.

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