Groundbreaking ceremony marks construction on new UWM Innovation Campus building

WAUWATOSA, Wis. (CBS 58) - Dozens gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday morning, as project leaders announced a new part of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Innovation Campus.

Speakers included project leaders from Irgens, Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride, and Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley.

Located on Discovery Parkway in Wauwatosa, Innovation One at the UWM Innovation Campus is meant to be a new hub for economic development. The building will provide office space for businesses and start-ups with a goal of bringing more jobs to the area.

"We want innovative ideas, we want creativity, we want something new right here within Milwaukee County," said County Executive David Crowley. "We want to show other employers across this region, across this state, across this country, that this is a place for you."

The main addition to the Innovation Campus will be a three-story, 70-square foot office building.

An important focus of the project is keeping the location sustainable and conserving habitat protection areas nearby.

"This is a very environmentally sensitive project. All the buildings will be LEED certified, which means they have green practices related to energy usage, how the project is built, and all the maintenance to it," explained Tom Irgens, the executive vice president of the Irgens firm.

One of the notably sustainable features will be a green roof parking structure, which will house solar panels and help with storm water management.

Irgens ensures the land purchased by UWM's Real Estate Foundation will be an investment in the community.

"Our projects will generate a new $1.8 million in real estate taxes that will be paid to support the county, to support the city, to support the school district and MMSD," Irgens said.

Another important investment is job creation. The teams will prioritize hiring minority workers throughout the process.

"This plays a huge role in our mission and our vision of achieving racial equity and becoming the healthiest county in Wisconsin," Crowley said, "Making sure that we continue to keep the environment the way that it is, making sure we protect the environment in this particular area, while also making sure we're providing opportunities for people of color and businesses of color."

The first building at the site will be completed by February 2023.

The first tenants in Innovation One will be the Irgens headquarters, which they are moving there in order to work closer with the property and its occupants.

For more information on Innovation One, click here.

For more information on the Innovation Campus as a whole, click here.

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