March 28. 2012 9:00AM

Irgens in talks with U.S. Bank about office building project near lakefront

  
Wauwatosa-based Irgens Development Partners LLC is in discussions with U.S. Bank about developing an office building at the site of the annex parking garage, located southeast of the U.S. Bank Center at 777 E. Wisconsin Ave. in downtown Milwaukee, according to sources.

"We've had discussions with Mark (Irgens, president of Irgens Development Partners)," said Joe Ullrich, vice president of U.S. Bank. "There's no plan. We're not ready to announce anything."

Irgens declined to comment for this story.

However, Ullrich said the development would likely be an office building and there is a "good likelihood" that Godfrey & Kahn S.C. would be the anchor tenant, if the project came together.

"It's a lot of preliminary stuff," Ullrich said.

U.S. Bank has been talking to other developers about the annex parking structure site, but Ullrich said talks with Irgens are the "furthest along."

"We're not exclusively talking with Irgens," Ullrich said. "We've had other conversations with other developers."

Last year Irgens was working on a joint venture project with Van Buren Management Inc. owner Joel Lee to build an office building east of Pfister Hotel downtown. That project, called Washington Square, would have been anchored by Godfrey & Kahn. However, that project did not come together and while Lee owns the site and is still pursuing it, Irgens is now seeking another site to build an office building with Godfrey & Kahn as the anchor tenant.

In 2005, Godfrey & Kahn considered plans to move to the proposed Lake Pointe Tower, a 42-story mixed-use development at the U.S. Bank annex parking garage site, which was planned by JBK Properties.

"It's a site we've always liked," said Godfrey & Kahn managing partner Nic Wahl.

But in 2005 Godfrey & Kahn decided to stay put in the M&I Bank headquarters building on Water Street and the Lake Pointe Tower project never came to fruition. Yet, if the Irgens project comes together, the firm could end up moving to a new building at the site after all.

Also, Ullrich said U.S. Bank has talked to a hotel developer about building a hotel on vacant parcel between the U.S. Bank Center and the complex's new parking structure, just south of the office tower. He declined to provide any additional details.

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