The rapid fulfillment of leasing opportunities in Milwaukee’s Global Water Center since the building’s completion in 2013 has led to the purchase of a second, nearby, building to house additional companies seeking to tap the growing network of industry resources located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s burgeoning Water Technology District.
The nonprofit Water Council links together global water technology companies, innovative water entrepreneurs, academic research programs and water professionals. In July 2015, an ownership group including The Water Council acquired a 5-story, 46,000 square-foot warehouse building at 326-332 Florida Street, near the Global Water Center. The Water Council plans to develop the building as Global Water Center II to advance water industry cluster development and innovation above and beyond its current assets.
At seven stories and 98,000 square feet, the original Global Water Center building today is populated by more than 40 tenants—a mixture of entrepreneurs, water researchers, engineers and staff representing small, medium and large water technology companies as well as universities.
Activities taking place within the facility range from research and development; startup company acceleration and mentoring; and business attraction initiatives. Additional space is now needed for graduates of The Water Council’s business acceleration programs and for expanding and new industry cluster participants attracted to the world’s most active water technology district.
“It is simply ‘supply and demand’ as we need more space to meet the interest of businesses from across the world,” said Dean Amhaus, President/CEO of The Water Council. “GWC II will be a big help as it will provide options not available in our first building.”
By offering expansion space for startup companies that complete The Water Council’s accelerator program and other early-stage ventures, GWC II effectively serves to attract and retain promising new high-tech businesses, Wisconsin Economic Development said.
Tenants of GWC II, which is scheduled to be completed in January 2017, will enjoy full access to the amenities offered in the original Global Water Center building, including the flow lab, auditorium, boardroom and café. Additionally, GWC II will include prototyping space that will allow for quick product development for tenants of both buildings.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is supporting the project with a $750,000 Targeted Industry Promotion investment which will help subsidize office space leases for eligible companies. WEDC’s assistance will allow The Water Council to lease 11,728 square feet of GWC II across three levels for less than half of the market rate for three years. A similar WEDC investment in the original Global Water Center also provided tenant lease assistance.
The refurbishment of GWC II has also benefitted from WEDC Site Assessment Grants and Historic Tax Credits. Additionally, WEDC has provided successive funding for The Water Council’s accelerator program, The BREW, which guides water-related startups toward commercialization and operation as independent businesses, while also providing research space for universities and water technology companies.
“Wisconsin leads the world in water technology advancements, and the work of The Water Council and its members demonstrates the power of collaboration between industry, government and academia not only to solve global challenges, but also to develop a thriving business sector,” said WEDC Secretary/CEO Mark Hogan.