With plans to add up to 700 jobs in the next four or five years, Direct Supply Inc. is moving forward with plans to build a multistory office building at its corporate campus located along North Industrial Road, which is east of North 76th Street, between West Good Hope Road and West Mill Road on Milwaukee's far northwest side.
The exact size of the building has not been determined, but Bob Klein, Direct Supply senior vice president, said it will be able to hold up to 800 employees and will be built in the next 12 to 18 months. The Milwaukee-based supplier to long-term care facilities has grown its employment from 682 in 2006 to over 1,050 now.
“When you see this type of growth, it’s very, very exciting and it bodes well for the future,” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said.
In 2006, the city approved spending up to $13.35 million to help facilitate the addition of 500,000 square feet of office space and up to 1,000 new jobs over 10 to 15 years. The company occupies nine buildings on Industrial Road and the plan called for the construction of multistory connector buildings and to relocate surface parking.
The first connector building was built in 2008 and a facility on the east side of the road was converted to parking in 2010. To date, the city has reimbursed the developer, KJ Greentree LLC, a total of $1.7 million. The plan approved in 2006 called for the connector buildings to be built by 2016, but employment targets included in the development agreement were amended in 2011 because of continued weakness in the economy.
“We always knew that this would be a long term investment,” Barrett said.
A request for an ordinance to establish a development incentive zone was referred to the city’s Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee this week.
Klein said the proposed new building is part of the long term plan, although this project will be slightly different from the connector buildings and will serve as more of a corporate center. He said connector buildings are still part of the company’s plans. In addition to office space, the company is planning a day care, a medical clinic, a cafeteria, recreational and conference facilities.
“It’s very hard to predict exactly when you are going to need what,” Klein said, adding that the company’s employment growth has been strong and is expected to continue. The average salary of the company’s employees has increased from $50,000 in 2010 to $68,000 now.
He said the company’s growth is being driven by expanding its offerings. The company provides products and services related equipment, furnishings, development, technology, building management, procurement automation and more. Klein said the company leaves the actual care to health care professionals, but works to help providers build and run better facilities.
He said the company is fortunate that the city and its landlord, KJ Greentree LLC, have afforded Direct Supply flexibility in the layout of its campus.
The company also opened a technology center at MSOE in 2012.