Spec industrial buildings planned on Milwaukee’s northwest side, in Germantown

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Plans are moving forward for the development of two industrial spec buildings in the Milwaukee metro area, one on the city’s far northwest side and another in Germantown.

The site of the proposed speculative industrial building on Carmen Avenue on Milwaukee’s northwest side.

Minneapolis-based Ryan Cos. recently purchased a site in the Willow Creek Business Park in Germantown from Brookfield-based MLG Development for about $1.4 million, state records show.

Ryan Marks, managing director at Ryan Cos.’ Milwaukee office, said his firm plans to build a 200,000-square-foot industrial building at the 27-acre site, which has about 14.5 acres of buildable land. Construction is slated to begin this fall and will be ready for tenants in March of 2020.

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Marks said the plan is to find a tenant to take up the entire 200,000 square feet of space, but if that doesn’t happen before construction begins the facility will just go up as a spec building.

Ryan Cos. is putting the finishing touches on an 186,000-square-foot industrial building at W192 N10021 Appleton Ave. in the same 200-acre business park. Marks said Plastic Components is leasing 50,000 square feet in that first building and will be operating there in March.

Around the same time Ryan Cos. bought that land in Germantown, Indianapolis-based Scannell Properties purchased 12.5 acres at 12111 and 12255 W. Carmen Ave. as part of plans to build its own 150,000-square-foot speculative industrial building.

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Scannell purchased that site, near West Silver Spring Drive and Interstate 41, from Decatur, Illinois-based Archer Daniels Midland Co. for about $588,000, according to state records. The sale is for the same site that the Indianapolis firm identified for a “modern industrial building” in documents submitted to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources last year.

The vacant land sits just east of Cargill’s cocoa and chocolate facility. Archer Daniels Midland sold its chocolate business to Cargill in 2015.

The company confirmed it was moving forward with its building plans, and expected to break ground this spring.

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“Scannell will be starting construction on a 150,000-square-foot speculative distribution building in the spring of 2019,” Joel Scannell, managing director of Scannell, said in a statement.

The two buildings are further evidence that the industrial market is shaping up for a strong 2019. Jim Barry III, president of Milwaukee-based The Barry Co., told BizTimes earlier this month the southeastern Wisconsin industrial market is poised for another strong year due to a few indicators, such as low vacancy rates of 4 percent market-wide, steadily increasing rental rates, and the amount of speculative projects.

“There are a number of projects that are speculative or semi-speculative that shows confidence in the market,” Barry said. “That’s going to continue through the next year.”

Marks said the positive signs for the industrial market was a driver in the decision to move forward with another building in the Germantown business park.

“It (the market) has given us the confidence to close on the second piece of land and keep it going,” he said.

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