Von Briesen CEO says firm will probably relocate

Von Briesen & Roper S.C., which announced last year that it is in the market for more office space, most likely will move to a new or existing building in downtown Milwaukee, according to the firm’s president and chief executive officer, Randall Crocker.
The firm is currently located at 411 E. Wisconsin Ave., and occupies about 65,000 square feet of space. It is seeking about 75,000 square feet of space with an option to grow into additional space in the future.
The firm is considering proposals from several developers that want to build new office buildings and from the owners of several existing office buildings.
But the firm is not involved in negotiations with its current landlord, Santa Ana, Calif.-based Triple Net Properties LLC, Crocker said.
“We’re not actively engaged in negotiations with our current building,” Crocker said. “It’s not real high on my priority list.”
Von Briesen plans to make a decision on its future office space plans by the end of the third quarter, Crocker said. The company’s lease at 411 E. Wisconsin Ave. expires in mid 2013.
In the last decade several downtown Milwaukee law firms have entered the office market and considered relocations, only to negotiate lease renewals in their existing buildings. The one exception is Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek, which moved from the Chase Tower to Cathedral Place in 2003.
But Crocker said it is unlikely Von Briesen will remain at 411 E. Wisconsin Ave.
“I don’t see that as a likely alternative,” he said. “(However) I’m never going to say never, or always.”
One of the reasons that Von Briesen wants to relocate is that the 411 E. Wisconsin Ave. building is also the home of one of the firm’s competitors, Quarles & Brady LLP, which has a large sign on top of the building.
Several developers are working on proposed downtown office building projects. Von Briesen could be an anchor tenant for one of those projects. The firm is very interested in occupying a new building, if a developer can successfully pull of a project, Crocker said.
“I do think Milwaukee is ready for a new (downtown office) tower and we hope to be a part of it,” he said.
Von Briesen prides itself on having a tech savy, modern, contemporary image and would like to be in an office space that reflects that image, Crocker said.
But that doesn’t necessary mean a new building. The firm is also considering attractive proposals from existing buildings, Crocker said.
However, the vacancy rate for class A office space in downtown Milwaukee is at about 8.5 percent, according to industry experts, so there are a limited number of options in existing buildings for Von Briesen.
Some tenants in the downtown Milwaukee market are only interested in being located in the heart of the central business district. But Von Briesen is also interested in the Park East corridor area, Crocker said, which could be good news for Rainier Properties LLC and its project at the northwest corner of Water Street and Knapp Street, which would include office space and a Marcus Theatres movie theater complex.

Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

No posts to display