New Day: Sale Closes on Large Portion of Former Bucyrus Campus

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A large part of the former Bucyrus campus has a new owner … and, soon, new life.

Reich Brothers LLC closed on its purchase of the property on Tuesday, and work is already underway to redevelop the site and bring new tenants and uses to this important piece of our city’s heritage.

From the Business Journal story

It was the home of Bucyrus-Erie stretching back to the 1800s. Caterpillar has been operating in the facility since acquiring Bucyrus, but plans to move its operations out by the end of 2018.

“At this point, Caterpillar is our tenant and we’re going to be working with them to hopefully continue the relationship, and we’ll start doing work on the campus once Caterpillar vacates,” said Michael Reich, Reich Brothers’ director of acquisitions and business development.

“We fully understand this campus is a very important part of the downtown area both from an economic standpoint and historic standpoint,” he said. 

Reich Brothers will work with South Milwaukee officials to firm up long-term plans for the property, Reich said. The city has already approved a tax incremental financing district with almost $2 million to help redevelop the property. …

The industrial buildings that comprise about two-thirds of the campus will likely continue to be used for manufacturing or warehousing, Reich said. Reich Brothers would seek new companies to occupy them when or if Caterpillar’s lease ends, he said.

“We’re a big believer in keeping this an industrial campus moving forward,” Reich said.

The campus also has extensive office buildings that could be converted to other uses, Reich said. Another goal is to break apart the campus to better serve multiple occupants or uses, Reich said. That could involve new infrastructure projects to re-integrate the walled-off property with the city street grid.

“The campus is kind of one, and the goal in the future is to make it many,” Reich said.

Of course, as we embark on this journey with Reich, we will never forget the original “one” and the important role Bucyrus played in the development and growth of this city. In many ways, we were Bucyrus, and Bucyrus was us, and we should all feel immense pride in that.

Thousands of people have poured their hearts and souls into building machines in South Milwaukee that built the world, and we will always celebrate that in ways big and small, hopefully as this campus redevelops.

That said, the future is here. And our goal as a city is to continue to work with Reich Brothers to keep the lights on for the next occupants of this campus.

We are and have been committed to partnering to secure new users both quickly and thoughtfully, ensuring our investments are sound and rooted in what’s best for the city and our downtown long term.

In other words, there is much, much more to come here. Interest in the property has already been strong; I’ve heard from a number of potential users and tenants firsthand about the opportunity this campus represents. Still, this effort — as with the redevelopment of the city as a whole — is just getting started.

There is lots of work to do, and Reich Brothers is the right owner, and partner.

I close with this. We — especially our city administrator, engineer and economic development director — have done a lot behind the scenes to prepare for this day already, which I detailed in a previous blog post.

Those efforts have not gone unnoticed. I share this comment from Tom Shepherd, who led the transaction from Colliers International: “You have a great community and a bright future, and I thank you for all of your proactiveness on everything. You guys were great to deal with, one of the best communities I’ve dealt with in a long, long time. You have a lot of good things going for you.”

I could not have it better myself. Forward!

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