The Mitchell Building at a Glance    

  • One of Milwaukee’s most treasured historic buildings, the Mitchell Building survives as one of the nation’s few remaining examples of French Second Empire architecture. The building consists of approximately 50,000 square feet of office space on six floors.
  • Outcomes:
    • Preserved one of Wisconsin’s most historically significant structures.
    • Retained 108 jobs and facilitated creation of 110 new jobs.
    • Developed environment where it was possible to execute a long-term lease with premier employer in downtown Milwaukee.
  • Unique Feature: French Drain Irrigation System. The Mitchell Building rests on a forest of old growth timbers – wood pilings – that must be continuously submerged in water in order to prevent rotting.  After completing two years of repairs to the wood pilings, J. Jeffers & Co installed a French drain irrigation system in the building’s basement.  This unique irrigation network diverts nearly 7 million gallons of the building’s cooling water into the piling system.  The French drain results in a creative approach to energy efficiency and protects the strength of this great building’s foundation system for centuries to come.
  • J. Jeffers & Co. Role: Developer, Owner, and Manager.
  • Financial Participants: Westbury Bank, Partnership Bank, Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), City of Milwaukee Façade Grant program, and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

Project Summary

 J. Jeffers & Co. acquired the Mitchell Building in January 2011. Over the course of four years, the building has been carefully rehabilitated in phases. The first phase consisted of a two year effort to repair the deteriorated wood timbers that support the building’s foundation system. Subsequent phases included installation of a French drain system; full restoration of the building’s slate-shingled dome and built-in copper gutter system; rubber roof replacements; implementation of a new hydronic-based heating source for the building; wood window restoration; extensive façade repairs; and installation of a sprinkler and fire & life safety system.

The restoration of the Mitchell Building complied with the historic Preservation Standards as set forth by the National Park Service.

History of the Mitchell Building

Completed in 1876 by Alexander Mitchell, the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.   Click here to learn more about the history of the Mitchell Building.

The Mitchell Building Today

The Mitchell Building is currently 100% leased to four tenants, including Historic Milwaukee, Inc and Laughlin/Constable, Inc., a full-service brand marketing communications agency. As a result of the substantial rehabilitation of this iconic gem, Laughlin/Constable has committed to a long-term lease and added nearly 110 new jobs at this location in downtown Milwaukee. 

A major renovation of the 5th Floor is currently underway.  To learn about this project, click here.

Mitchell Building
207 E. Michigan Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53202


Project Schedule
Purchased: January 2011
Completed: February 2015 (expected)


Project Architect
Continuum Architects


Project Engineer
Computerized Structural Design, s.c.


General Contractor
Barthenheier Construction / Jack Brill General Contracting