Chicago-based Steelcase dealer Forward Space LLC plans to convert the former Paul Davis Restoration office building in Milwaukee's Harbor District into a new workspace and furniture showroom, the company announced Tuesday.
Forward Space's project adds to the development momentum in the Harbor District.
The new commercial furniture dealer will be located at 2000 S. Fourth St., across the river from Michels Corp.'s R1VER mixed-use development. Forward Space and building owner Druml Co. are working with Milwaukee-based design firm Rinka+ in making renovations.
The office and warehouse space will be converted into a dual-purpose workspace and furniture showroom. It will consist of a centrally located social kitchen, employee work cafe, mezzanine overlooking the main floor, glass garage doors leading to outdoor work and event spaces, and a patio on the river. Other features will include a meditation and wellness room, mobile work stations, customer oasis, glass-walled conference rooms and phone booths for teleconferencing, and individual rooms featuring education and healthcare furniture settings.
The space totals approximately 10,000 square feet.
Jenny Niemann, principal owner and chief executive of Forward Space, said the building very quickly stood out when the company was touring prospective locations. She specifically cited the on-site warehouse, easy freeway access, ample parking, proximity to downtown and Historic Third Ward, the outdoor green space and river views.
"The Harbor District is really ‘what’s next’ in Milwaukee and our team is excited to be part of the revitalization and development of this great area, as well as to putting down our roots here and starting our next chapter," she said in a statement.
Forward Space expanded to Milwaukee in August shortly after Glendale-based Forrer Business Interiors Inc. suddenly shut down operations. So far, Forward Space has hired 20 Milwaukee employees, some of whom were former employees of Forrer.
It previously opened a small warehouse and small front office at 1966 S. Fourth St., and a small showroom near the Fiserv Forum. Renovations are already underway for the new office and showroom.
"Our new location will truly be a destination for our employees, clients, industry partners and the business community,” Niemann said. “We even have a boat in the plans, to host customer meetings on the water and for our employees to enjoy during the summer months.”
The building became available after Paul Davis decided to develop and move into a new 100,000-square-foot Pewaukee headquarters. Tyler Yaudas, director of business development at Paul Davis, said the new office has finished construction, and that essential personnel will be operating there starting May 4.
The Harbor District is undergoing a major transformation. At R1VER, Brownsville-based Michels is developing a 210,000-square-foot office building and parking structure, where it will be an anchor tenant. The development will also include an apartment building with retail space, a 90-room hotel and possibly another 120,000-square-foot office building.
In addition, Komatsu Mining Corp. is developing a $285 million manufacturing and office campus nearby, south of Greenfield Avenue and east of First Street.
Get more news and insight in the March 30 issue of BizTimes Milwaukee. Subscribe to get updates in your inbox here.