As construction kicks off for The Huron Building, a new 11-story office building in downtown Milwaukee, the project developer says it is attracting even larger potential office users than he first imagined it would.
Josh Jeffers, president and chief executive officer of Milwaukee-based J. Jeffers & Co., hosted an official groundbreaking this morning for the $60 million project, located at 511 N. Broadway. The building has already secured an anchor tenant in law firm Husch Blackwell, which will occupy 71,000 square feet on the top three floors.
This leaves approximately 78,000 square feet of office space still available for lease in the building, Jeffers said.
"There is a lot of interest (in the available space)," he said in an interview following the ceremonial turning of dirt. "One thing that has surprised me is that I expected there to be a lot of smaller tenant interest and we would break up the floors for many users, (but) we actually have a lot of interest from full-floor users."
[gallery type="slideshow" size="full" td_select_gallery_slide="slide" ids="449180,452946,452947,452948"]
Jeffers cautioned that discussions with potential officers users are still preliminary, but said the interest for the downtown office space is certainly there.
In addition to the six floors of office space, The Huron Building will consist of a full-width, two-story storefront facing Clybourn Street with a separate storefront on Broadway, totaling 8,500 square feet of retail space. Roughly 60 percent of the first floor, 90 percent of the second floor and the entirety of the third through fifth floors will be used for indoor parking.
Husch Blackwell is moving its Milwaukee office there from its existing location in the Cathedral Place building at 555 E. Wells St.
"Getting to this point took some time for us," Jack Enea, managing partner with Husch Blackwell, said. "We actually started this process well over two years ago, evaluating all the great projects that were going on in Milwaukee and finally coming to this decision at the end of 2018. For us, it was a long process and we're really excited to be here."
The building has grown in size since first announced in 2017. It was originally planned to be only seven stories, but was then modified to be nine stories tall. Then in January, Jeffers revealed another two floors would be added, putting the building height to 129 feet tall.
Investment in this project was raised in part by crowdfunding. Last month, the project raised $10 million in 80 minutes, the largest and fastest individual offering fundraiser in the history of crowdfunding site Crowdstreet. Crowdfunded investments totaled $14 million from more than 400 investors.
Mayor Tom Barrett said this latest development further strengthens the downtown area, which has been undergoing a building boom over the last several years.
"This part of the city is obviously a critical juncture," Barrett said. "And having the proximity to the Third Ward, to the lake, to the main downtown, all of that is a sign of just how healthy the heart of Milwaukee is."
Milwaukee-based Engberg Anderson Architects is the project architect, and Madison-based Stevens Construction Corp. is heading up construction work.