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Michels Announces Transformative Investment in Milwaukee Harbor District

Michels announced today a $100 million development in Milwaukee’s Harbor District to transform a 6-acre site into a cutting-edge mixed-use development.

The new development, named RIVER 1, is located at the corner of Becher and 1st streets, and is bordered on two sides by a bend in the Kinnickinnic River. The site is at the gateway into the Harbor District, Walker’s Point and Bay View neighborhoods of Milwaukee.

The phased project will start this fall with the construction of an eight-story office building at the river bend that will be anchored by Michels as well as the covered parking and a mixed-use development along the length of 1st Street, including apartments, retail, a restaurant on the river, a hotel and more than 1,000 feet of riverwalk.

The first phase is expected to be completed by Summer 2020. Additional phases of the project include two more office buildings on the site that could be built concurrently, based on response from the market. Initial response has been strong.

When totally built-out, the entire campus will include 220,000 square feet of office space, 67 units of multi-family housing, 19,000 square feet of retail, a 103-room hotel, and nearly 1,000 underground parking spaces.

“The Michels Family is proud to make this historic investment to continue to grow Wisconsin and Milwaukee,” said Tim Michels, Vice President. “We would like to thank Mayor Barrett, Alderman Zielinski and all of the city staff that has worked hard with us to make this incredible project a reality.”

As part of the project, the City of Milwaukee is planning to invest in more than 1,000 feet of publicly accessible Riverwalk, improve the streetscaping in the Becher Street corridor and assist in environmental remediation of the publicly accessible portions of the site.

“It’s great that Michels Corporation continues to grow, and it’s great that Milwaukee is a big part of the company’s plans,” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said. “What the Michels Family proposes on the banks of the Kinnickinnic River adds economic activity, public access to the water, and a transformative new investment in the Harbor District.”

“This will be the largest project in the ongoing redevelopment of the Bay View area,” said Alderman Tony Zielinski. “The success we have had in Bay View makes it an incredibly attractive place for companies like Michels to locate and grow.”

The campus will be a first-class waterfront development situated in Milwaukee’s booming Harbor District seven minutes to Downtown Milwaukee’s central business district, less than 10 minutes from the airport and only seconds from I-94 with tremendous visibility to more than 100,000 vehicles per day.

“River 1 is a visionary development that establishes a new benchmark for the best office and workplace environments, healthy living options, and destination retail in the region,” said Matt Rinka of Rinka Chung Architecture.  “Utilizing the most innovative design strategies, this urban mixed-use campus promotes high visibility, walkability, accessibility and greenspace, acting as major gateway into the Harbor District, Walker’s Point and Bay View neighborhoods.  The forward-thinking architecture celebrates the maritime and industrial history of the area while creating statement buildings that tie the site to the river and surrounding urban fabric.”

The RIVER 1 project team includes Michels and local Milwaukee business partners Rinka Chung Architecture, Wired Properties, the Barry Company and Nation Consulting.

“Michels is proud of our heritage as a Wisconsin company that has been and always will be headquartered in Brownsville,” said Pat Michels, President. “Our new Milwaukee office will be an important part of serving our customers and attracting top talent to our growing business.”

Additional information on RIVER 1 development, including renderings and an animated fly-through of the project, can be found at

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