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Building on success

Derse project launches new company

Photos by Derse Inc.

Photos by Derse Inc.

The success of the Derse Inc. national headquarters project contributed not only to the growth of the Menomonee Valley, but also to launching a business for two entrepreneurs driven to see their city grow and prosper.

Derse, a national designer and manufacturer of trade show exhibits, needed a flexible corporate headquarters to accommodate office and industrial space to support the company’s production and warehousing needs.

After considering several sites in southeastern Wisconsin, building owners Brett Haney and Ryan Schultz decided owning real estate in the Menomonee Valley would be a solid foundation for their new company, Waukesha-based HSI Properties LLC.

“We are believers in the Menomonee Valley,” Schultz said. “Our decision to locate in the valley really had to do with what Derse’s needs were, which were access to their employment base, access to downtown and access to the expressway.”

Designed by Eppstein Uhen Architects Inc., Milwaukee, and built by Hunzinger Construction Co., Brookfield, the project is one of the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver industrial buildings in Wisconsin, Schultz said.

The site posed interesting challenges, Schultz said, due to New Urbanism-inspired city covenants placing an emphasis on walkability. The property is city-owned and adjacent to city parks, he said, and as a result, sidewalks, paths and park area, rather than parking lots, are the property’s focal points.

The building’s design is atypical of an industrial building, Schultz said, as the extensive use of glass creates a more inviting look fitting of its location at the front door of the Menomonee Valley. The many windows give Derse employees and visitors a great view of Miller Park from inside the building, he said.

The project was financed through some unconventional methods, Schultz said, including new market tax credits and industrial revenue bonds.

“The overall low cost of capital provided us savings that we passed along to our tenants,” he said. “We were also able to fix a great majority of our debt for 20 years.”

HSI Properties’ investment in the property was worth it, Schultz said, and he credits the company’s thriving business to the project’s success.

“We want to use it as a tool to go out and build our business upon,” he said. “We’ve earned more business because of its success.”

Derse Inc. National Headquarters

Location: Milwaukee

Submitting company: HSI Properties LLC, Waukesha

General Contractor: Hunzinger Construction Co., Brookfield

Architect: Eppstein Uhen Architects Inc., Milwaukee

Engineers: KompGilomen Engineering Inc., Milwaukee (structural); The Sigma Group, Milwaukee (civil)

Owner: HSI Properties LLC

Project size: 160,000 square feet

Project cost: $10 million

Start date: June 2008

Completion date:
March 2009

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