Port Milwaukee and Michels Corporation have formally signed a lease agreement for nearly 17.5 acres at the port’s Grand Trunk site along the Kinnickinnic River. The agreement has an initial term of 20 years, and, with extensions, could continue for a total of 99 years.
The lease signing is the culmination of a process that included a nationwide request-for-proposals along with approvals by the Board of Harbor Commissioners, the Milwaukee Common Council, and Mayor Tom Barrett.
“Michels has made it clear the company wants to grow in Milwaukee, and we welcome that,” Mayor Barrett said. “This new agreement will bring additional jobs and investment to the port, and it complements the impressive development by Michels at its R1ver project a short distance away.”
The company says it plans to expand its construction business at the Grand Trunk location, including launching a new division called Michels Marine, providing coastal resiliency solutions and other marine operations for regional customers from Port Milwaukee.
“This company is excited to continue our growth in Milwaukee,” said David Stegeman, Chief Legal Officer and Sr. Vice President of Michels. “We see increasing opportunities in marine construction, and the port’s Grand Trunk location provides a choice location for the maritime portion of our business.”
Michels’ leasehold is adjacent to an ongoing wetland restoration project at Grand Trunk, a cooperative effort including the port, the city, public-private funders and other community partners. That restoration work will not be adversely affected by the company’s growth.
“The long-term commitment by Michels is an affirmation that Port Milwaukee is an important center of economic activity in the region,” Port Director Adam Tindall-Schlicht said. “This agreement takes advantage of the port’s unique offerings including transportation infrastructure, docking facilities, and a central location that provides convenient access to domestic and world markets for Wisconsin-based companies.”
Port Milwaukee is an economic entity of City government governed by the seven-member Board of Harbor Commissioners, a panel appointed by Mayor Tom Barrett and confirmed by the Common Council. It administers operations on more than 400 acres that make up the port. It promotes shipping and commerce throughout the region by providing access to domestic and international ships, rail, and over-the-road transportation.
Source: Maritime Logistics Professional