Insurance agency to move from Schlitz Park to Pewaukee

Orland Park, Ill.-based The Horton Group, a commercial insurance agency, plans to move its Milwaukee-area office out of Schlitz Park in downtown Milwaukee to a new office building under construction in Pewaukee.

The Horton Group provides commercial property and casualty insurance, employee
benefit and risk management consulting. The company has about $45 million in annual sales and about 400 total employees.

The company’s plans to move its Milwaukee-area office are part of an effort to raise its profile and expand in Wisconsin.

“As a company, we’ve been growing about 15 percent each year, but our growth has not been that fast in Wisconsin,” said Robert McIntyre, the company’s Milwaukee branch president. “We’re going to jump-start Wisconsin and put more resources into the state. Our intention is to grow our operations in the state of Wisconsin.”

The company currently occupies about 7,500 square feet of space at 1555 RiverCenter Drive in Schlitz Park. That office has been open for about 10 years, McIntyre said.

The Horton Group recently began construction of a $3.5 million, 30,000-square-foot office building on a 3.3-acre site on Riverwood Drive in the Riverwood Corporate Park in Pewaukee. Construction is expected to be complete by Feb. 1, McIntyre said. Brookfield.-based Hunzinger Construction Co. is the general contractor for the project, and Milwaukee-based Plunkett Raysich Architects designed the building.

The Horton Group will occupy 15,000 square feet of space in the building and will lease the remaining 15,000 square feet to other tenants. Eventually, the company plans to expand and occupy the whole building, McIntyre said.

The Horton Group currently has about 40 employees in Wisconsin, including 35 in Milwaukee and five in a small office in Wausau. The company plans to double its Wisconsin staff in “the next couple of years,” McIntyre said.

 The 15,000 square feet of space in Pewaukee will provide enough room for 80 employees.

“If things continue to go well, we could have 100 to 160 employees (in the Pewaukee office),” McIntyre said.

“We’ve made lots of acquisitions in our history,” McIntyre said. “We are definitely open to that possibility.”

The Horton Group decided to move from Milwaukee to Pewaukee to be closer to its customers, its employees and the insurance companies that it represents, McIntyre said.

The new building also will have more meeting space that The Horton Group can use for seminars and meetings with 30 to 50 people. The Milwaukee office currently does not have meeting space to host seminars of that size. The company plans to host seminars in the Pewaukee office about once a month, McIntyre said.

“Currently, we have to go off site (to host seminars or meetings),” he said. “It’s much nicer when you can have people come to your building. You can show them how you do business.”

Wispark to sell 100 acres in Pleasant Prairie

Wispark LLC, the real estate development arm of Milwaukee-based Wisconsin Energy Corp., recently put about 100 acres of undeveloped retail property in Pleasant Prairie up for sale.

The company put the land up for sale because it typically does not do retail development, said Wispark president Jerry Franke. In addition, more retail developers are showing interest in the area because of the success of the Prime Outlets outlet mall, which recently completed a 150,000-square-foot addition, and because Abbott Park, Ill.-based Abbott Laboratories has purchased about 500 acres of land northwest of Highway 165/County Highway Q and Interstate 94, he said.

“The Abbott deal has increased land speculation in this area,” Franke said.

Wispark put 10 retail properties on the market, totaling about 100 acres, located near Prime Outlets at Highway 165 and I-94. One of the properties, a 12-acre site, is located on the west side of I-94 between the site where Jockey International Inc. has long planned to build a new headquarters facility and the 500 acres acquired by Abbott Labs.

Wispark’s asking price for the 100 acres is $19 million, Franke said.

“If we don’t get our price, we will just continue to hold (the properties),” Franke said.

In addition, Wispark is handling the sale of the Time Warner Cable building at 2323 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in downtown Milwaukee. The building was put on the market this summer. It is owned by Riverfront Power LLC, a partnership including Wisconsin Energy and developers Gary Grunau and Scott Sampson.

The building was used by Wisconsin Energy as a power plant until it was converted into an office building. Time Warner occupies the entire 160,000-square-foot building, which also has 400 parking spaces.

Riverfront Power received tax credits to restore the building. To qualify for those credits, the corporation had to hold on to the building for at least five years. That time period recently expired, Franke said.

Wispark is negotiating with two interested buyers of the Time Warner building and will probably choose one and close the sale by the end of the year, Franke said.

Meanwhile, about seven months after Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle announced that Abbott Laboratories will receive the largest Department of Commerce grant in state history, a $12.5 million loan (forgivable if 12,000 jobs are created), the company still has not said what it plans to do with the 500 acres it purchased at the northwest corner of I-94 and Highway 165/County Highway Q.

However, village officials say they have been meeting with Abbott representatives about the company’s plans, and they expect the company to formally submit its development plans late this year or early next year.

“We’re still working with them,” said Jean Werbie, community development director for Pleasant Prairie. “We talk a couple of days a month.”

Oak Creek

First Industrial Realty Trust, a Chicago-based real estate investment trust (REIT), has made a proposal to a potential customer to build a 350,000-square-foot industrial building. Peter Ginn, regional manager for First Industrial’s Milwaukee office, declined to say who the potential tenant is or where the building would be constructed, other than to say it would be somewhere in Oak Creek. This is just the latest sign that interest in industrial development in the Milwaukee-to-Chicago corridor continues to grow, because of a lack of industrial sites elsewhere in the metro area, Ginn said. “There’s really not a lot of developable (industrial) land left (in the metro Milwaukee area), except on the south side,” he said. “Try to find land in Waukesha close to the interstate. It will cost you $125,000 to $150,000 an acre, if you can find it. In Oak Creek, it will cost you $80,000 to $90,000 an acre. That means your lease rates can be lower.”

Atout Real Estate plans to build a 11,200-square-foot multi-tenant retail space addition to the 62,000-square-foot Pick ‘n Save store building at 2320 W. Ryan Road. The Pick ‘n Save store opened about a year ago.

South Milwaukee

Endeavor Group wants to build a 47,500-square-foot retail development on the east side of South Chicago Avenue between Drexel Boulevard and Blake Avenue. The development would include an Aldi grocery store and a CVS Pharmacy. However, city officials have objected to the project because of the tenant mix.


Minnetonka, Minn.-based Oppidan Investment Co. plans to build a 15,000-square-foot multi-tenant retail building at 2401-41 Kossow Road. The 1.8-acre site is a parking lot just north of a Target store. The area is undergoing significant change as two other major redevelopment projects are expected to occur in the area in the near future. A Gander Mountain store will replace the Westown Cinemas at 2440 E. Moreland Blvd., which will be closed by Marcus Corp. after it opens its new cinema on Springdale Road in the Town of Brookfield. Also, CarMax plans to open a store at the former Holiday Inn site on Kossow Road.

Pleasant Prairie

Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Gordon Food Service plans to build an 11,160-square-foot store just south of Chili’s Grill and Bar at 6903 75th St. According to the company, Gordon Food Service, founded in 1897, is the largest family-owned and managed broadline foodservice distributor in North America.

Brown Deer

A private investor has acquired 1.7 acres at 5530 W. Brown Deer Road and plans to develop a 10,000-square-foot retail building there. David Barry, a broker with Colliers Barry, represented the investor and declined to disclose the investor’s name. The area is seeing increased interest from developers. Lowe’s Co. is building a store at 6300 W. Brown Deer Road. Audi North Shore opened in January at 4400 N. Brown Deer Road. General Capital plans to demolish two single-family homes at the northwest corner of North 60th Street and Brown Deer Road and will develop a 21,350-square-foot multi-tenant retail building, a 10,500-square-foot retail building and a 5,300-square foot retail building.

New Berlin

West Bend-based Maritime Savings Bank plans to open a new branch at 15505 W. National Ave. Maritime has $315 million in total assets and seven other locations in Milwaukee, Brookfield, Cudahy, Oak Creek, West Allis, Muskego and Wind Lake. Maritime plans to replace its Muskego branch with a new 10,000-square-foot building at S74 W17095 Janesville Road.


Charnjit Kaur, who owns a convenience store at 1301 W. Atkinson Ave. and a mixed-use building at 1307-11 W. Atkinson Ave., plans to build a 5,800-square-foot building with a 5,000-square-foot Laundromat and an 800-square-foot restaurant on properties at 1317-37 W. Atkinson Ave. that she is acquiring from the City of Milwaukee Redevelopment Authority. Kaur also plans to raze the buildings and construct a 5,700-square-foot building with a 3,400-square-foot convenience store and 2,300 square feet of additional retail space. The total cost of the project is estimated at $1.6 million.


Great Lakes Specialty Finance Inc. plans to open a Check ‘n Go store in an 1,150-square-foot space at 2308 S. Green Bay Road. Check ‘n Go, a cash advance store, has one other location in Racine at 6100 Washington Ave.

JB Construction and B.A.T. Trucking plan to operate a construction yard and truck terminal at 1600 N. Memorial Drive and 1700 St. Patrick St. The 1.5-acre property has a 5,600-square-foot building formerly used by a steel erecting company. JB and B.A.T. plan to use the property for equipment repair and storage.


Darwin Greenwald wants to build a 7,600-square-foot building with an Arby’s restaurant, a convenience store and a gas station on a 1.5-acre lot in front of Home Depot at 232 E. Wolf Run. However, the proposal was recently tabled by Mukwonago plan commissioners. One problem is the gas station is within 1,500 feet of another gas station, in violation of the village’s zoning code.


American Exchanger Services Inc. recently purchased the 21,700-square-foot industrial building at 709 W. Wisconsin, in the Hartford Industrial Park. The company provides design engineering and fabrication of high- and low-pressure feed water heaters and other heat exchangers. The company continues to operate its 7,000-square-foot technical facility at 1950 Innovation Way, in Hartford’s Dodge Industrial Park. The company will have 24 workers combined at the two plants.


Dickman Company

Bell Industries Inc. leased 36,749 square feet of industrial space at 11425 W. Brown Deer Road, Milwaukee, from Ethan Allen Retail Inc.

KDN Brokerage LLC leased 5,000 square feet of industrial space at 219 S. Park St., Port Washington, from Park Street Industrial LLC.

Land Information Services Inc. leased 3,000 square feet of office space at 8000 W. Good Hope Road, Milwaukee, from Good Hope 8000 LLC.

Aurora Health Care Inc. leased 1,636 square feet of office space at 9004 W. Lincoln Ave., West Allis, from Cornwell Family Limited Partnership.

Equity Commercial Real Estate

Schroeder Moving Systems of Milwaukee Inc. leased 40,000 square feet of warehouse space at 5665 S. Westridge Dr., New Berlin, from Lo Duca Brothers Realty Co. Inc.

Judson & Associates

Tailor Made Products leased 3,270 square feet of space at 1860 Executive Dr., Oconomowoc, from Bohrer Walter.

Whitelight Group leased 1,550 square feet of space at 2831 N. Grandview Blvd., Waukesha, from Highstone Management.

Lake Shore Concrete Spec. leased 3,240 square feet of space at S84 W18693 Enterprise, Muskego, from Hiram Miller.

Enterprise Rent A Car leased 9,816 square feet of space at 9300 W. Heather Ave., Milwaukee, from LNL LLC.

Rennee Peil (Romantic Pages) leased 1,000 square feet of space at N64 W22682 Main St., Sussex, from WJ Marine LLC.

Mid-America Real Estate

Petsmart Inc. leased 20,072 square feet of space at 5005 S. 74th St., Greenfield, from BR of Wisconsin 54 LLC.

Acropolis Restaurant leased 4,800 square feet of space at Greentree Centre, 5125 Douglas Ave., Caledonia.

Quizno’s leased 1,564 square feet of space at Burlington Retail Center on Highway 36 in Burlington.

MC Sports leased 13,835 square feet of space at Delavan Crossings, at Highway 50 and I-43, Delavan.

Barks-N-Bubbles Inc. leased 6,000 square feet of space at Greenwood Shopping Center, 80th St. and 39th Ave., Kenosha.

Starbucks Coffee Co. leased 1,800 square feet of space at 7401 W. Good Hope Road, Milwaukee.

Ogden & Company Inc.

OSI Environmental Inc. leased 15,000 square feet of office and warehouse space at 4702 N. 124th St., Wauwatosa.

Friedle Insurance Agency renewed its lease for 1,254 square feet of space in the Oaks Professional Building at 8112 W. Bluemound Road, Wauwatosa.

McMenamin Irish Dance Academy leased 2,000 square feet of space at 3948 N. Maryland Ave., Shorewood.


Boerke Company Inc.

AJ Die-namics WLP purchased 44.317 acres of industrial land along West Silver Spring Road in the Silver Spring Technology Park in Menomonee Falls from WS Development LLC.

Judson & Associates

OAW LLC purchased 18,000 square feet of space at W238 N1610 Busse Road, Waukesha, from Vista Properties LLC.

Michael Betters purchased 2,100 square feet of space at 21095 Watertown Road, Waukesha, from Ken Warzyn Trust.

William Hohnstein purchased five acres at 21600 W. Capitol Dr., Brookfield, from East-West Properties.

17165 LLC purchased 21,000 square feet of space at 17165 W. Glendale Dr., New Berlin, from CK Ventures LLC.

Ogden & Company Inc.

MPNC Properties LLC purchased 619 S. 70th St., Milwaukee, from James and Renee Andersen.

RFP Commercial

Westminster Funds purchased seven Milwaukee area office buildings, totaling 328,942 square feet of office space, from Transwestern Investment Company. The buildings are: a 36,037-square-foot office building at 11925 W. Park Place, Milwaukee; a 42,023-square-foot office building at 150 Patrick Blvd., Brookfield; a 34,100-square-foot office building at 175 Patrick Blvd., Brookfield; a 41,345-square-foot office building at 250 Patrick Blvd., Brookfield; a 54,264-square-foot office building at 375 Bishop’s Way, Brookfield, a 60,682-square-foot office building at 2514 S. 102nd St., West Allis; and a 60,491-square-foot office building at 10150 W. National Ave., West Allis.

New construction

MSI General Corp., Oconomowoc, was awarded the contract to design and build a 15,586-square-foot multi-tenant retail facility at the corner of Renaissance Drive and Washington Avenue in Sturtevant. MSI General Corp. was also selected by Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church, Milwaukee, for the design and construction of a 12,100 square-foot church at 2505 W. Cornell St.

Briohn Building Corp., Brookfield, recently completed the design and construction of a 2,000-square-foot retail tenant improvement for U.S. Cellular in the Brookfield Marketplace at 15010 W. Greenfield Ave., Suite 102, Brookfield. In addition, Briohn was selected to design and build a 7,494-square-foot facility for Neroli Salon and Spa in the Bayshore Town Center in Glendale. Briohn has also been contracted to design and build a 24,741-square-foot building for Aerial Work Platforms Inc. on Hi Tech Drive in Sussex. Briohn also recently completed the design and construction of a 2,022-square-foot retail tenant improvement for Ragazza in the Brookfield Towne Centre at 19115 W. Capitol Dr., Suite 118, Brookfield. Briohn also recently completed the design and construction of a 5,000-square-foot addition for Ed Bristol Advertising at 6150 W. Donges Bay Road, Mequon. Briohn has also been selected to design and build a 12,800-square-foot building addition for First Choice Ingredients at N112 W19528 Mequon Road, Germantown.

Jim Pankow Inc., Plymouth, was recently awarded a contract for a 16,000-square-foot office and warehouse space addition for Torke Coffee Roasting Company at 3455 Paine Ave., Sheboygan.

Andrew Weiland is the managing editor of Small Business Times. Send news about commercial real estate to Andrew.weiland@biztimes.com or by calling him at (414) 277-8181 ext. 120. News can also be sent to Andrew Weiland, Small Business Times, 1123 N. Water St., Milwaukee, WI 53202.

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