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Milwaukee OKs plans for Komatsu’s waterfront headquarters

With the Milwaukee Common Council’s approval on Tuesday, Komatsu Mining Corp. is planning to have a design team and general contractor selected for its waterfront-headquarters project by the first quarter of 2019.

Should all go as planned, work on the $285 million project would begin later that same year.

Komatsu officials have been talking for months about plans to move their headquarters from its current site in West Milwaukee to the former Solvay Coke site near Milwaukee’s lakefront. In return, the company stands to receive as much as $40 million worth of tax incentives, money the company has said could support the creation of 1,300 jobs.

The earliest the company could begin collecting that money is 2021, when it plans to move 600 employees into the new headquarters. If Komatsu eventually reaches its goal of employing 1,300 people, it stands to receive $25 million worth of direct incentives.

On top of that, city officials plan to spend $15 million to build a riverwalk around the property. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. has also committed to contributing as much as $59.5 million to the Komatsu project.

The Common Council approved the plans in a 14-1 vote on Tuesday. The sole opponent was Alderman Bob Bauman, who had likewise expressed reservations when the same project went before the city’s Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee on Dec. 11.

Following the vote on Tuesday, John Koetz, president of surface mining at Komatsu Mining, released a statement thanking state and local officials for their help in advancing project.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the local representatives, city staff, community leaders, the Harbor District, and surrounding neighborhoods to make this a winning development for Milwaukee and Komatsu,” he said.

At the same meeting, the Common Council approved $7.1 million worth of financing for the River 1, a $49 million mixed-use development being overseen by the Brownsville contractor Michels Corp. City officials are offering $7.1 million worth of city financing in return for that project. The contributions are to be made up of $3.4 million for a riverwalk, $2.5 million for improvements to Becher Street and money to clean up environmental contamination.

Michels Corp. plans to break ground on the first phase of the project in about three months. That phase is to consist of an eight-story building housing Michels’ offices, a 1,000-space parking structure and the riverwalk. The cost of developing the six-acre site, bordered on two sides by the Kinnickinnic River, could exceed $100 million.

About Dan Shaw, dan.shaw@dailyreporter.com

Dan Shaw is the associate editor at The Daily Reporter. He can be reached at dan.shaw@dailyreporter.com or at 414-225-1807.

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