The state office building in downtown Milwaukee will be sold once a new building is constructed to replace it.
The Department of Administration first announced in February 2017 that it would replace its 54-year-old downtown Milwaukee office building at 819 N. 6th St. with a new 163,400-square-foot state office building and 690-stall parking structure or surface lot.
[caption id="attachment_164929" align="alignright" width="380"] The State of Wisconsin office building in downtown Milwaukee.[/caption]
On Friday, Gov. Scott Walker held a press conference to announce plans to sell the current office building.
“Building a new state office building in Milwaukee is a win-win for taxpayers and economic development,” Walker said in a statement. “Offering this prime real estate for sale will open the door for new businesses that will help fuel the revival of downtown Milwaukee, and taxpayers will have greater access to services, in a modern facility, and at a lower cost.”
The Department of Administration issued a request for proposals Friday to acquire land for the new state-owned office building.
The RFP stipulates the new office building will be built within the city of Milwaukee, with preference for the site bounded by W. Hampton Avenue on the north, W. Mitchell Street on the south, Highway 32, Milwaukee Street, N. Holton St. , Shorewood and Highway 57 on the east and Highway 175 on the west.
The RFP process will close March 9. The target date for site selection is May 28.
Once land is acquired, the project will be recommended for enumeration in the next biennial budget. It is estimated to cost $50 million. The sale of the building and land will be used to offset the cost of a new building.
Proposed tenants for the new facility would include the departments of Administration, Health Services, Revenue, Workforce Development and Public Instruction. The governor’s Milwaukee office, the office of the state public defender and the Board on Aging and Long Term Care would also be located in the building.
The current building will remain operational until a new building is completed.
South Milwaukee Mayor Erik Brooks contacted DOA officials in summer 2017 about the possibility of locating the new state office building on a soon-to-be vacant portion of the Caterpillar campus.
In November, Brooks told BizTimeshe plans to respond to the RFP and would still like South Milwaukee to be considered. With the boundaries being set to favor the city of Milwaukee, South Milwaukee will likely not make the final cut for the RFP process.
The Near West Side Partners organization has been working to acquire properties and improve the block southwest of North 27th Street and West Wisconsin Avenue for future development.
The group is planning to purchase two parcels owned by the city of Milwaukee for $40,000. Sources have said the group is planning to make a bid for the state office building at the site. The group has not responded to requests for comment.
The existing Milwaukee state office building was built in 1963 and is approaching the end of its useful life, but its location is in an area of strategic economic development significance to downtown Milwaukee, Walker said.
The building will be financed with a 30-year bond. The sale of the building is part of the state’s real estate strategy to reduce operational costs, the use of private leases, and spur economic development, Walker said.
In Milwaukee, the state is planning to eliminate five private leases and consolidate multiple agencies in the new building. The move will reportedly save an estimated $1.2 million a year in rent, maintenance, and energy costs, Walker said. The state will ultimately occupy 111,786 less square feet of office space in Milwaukee.