Founded more than 125 years ago in 1893, the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) was first known as the Wisconsin College of Physicians and Surgeons, only to later become the Marquette University School of Medicine in 1913. It officially became the Medical College of Wisconsin in 1970, and one year later, in 1971, the Wahlen Corp. was formed by Ted Wahlen.
In the years since, Wahlen Works has become the caretaker of some of Milwaukee’s most historic and distinctive properties—earning the trust of facility managers, property managers, and general contractors throughout Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin. In addition to MCW, here are some of the Milwaukee landmarks we are proud to service and maintain.
Milwaukee Art Museum
Art got its start in Milwaukee in 1888 with Frederick Layton’s art gallery in Cathedral Square. In that same year, the Milwaukee Art Association was established. Milwaukee’s art collections and display facilities grew over the years, and the Milwaukee Art Museum celebrated its centennial in 1988.
In 2001, the Quadracci Pavilion opened, with its movable, wing-like brise soleil becoming an instant Milwaukee icon. We are honored to be responsible for the care and maintenance of their stunning underground parking facility—one that has inspired a Porsche commercial and is the first impression most visitors have of the museum.
Discovery World started out in a basement, moved to the Milwaukee Public Library, and then shared space with the Milwaukee Public Museum, all before moving to its permanent home on Lake Michigan’s shores in 2006. Situated near the location of Milwaukee’s first cargo pier, it’s our job to keep the decks and parking areas of this beautiful facility in pristine condition.
Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital
Founded in 1894, Saint Mary’s School of Nursing corresponds to Wisconsin historical marker #186, located on the grounds of the historic St. Mary’s Hospital. This hospital opened in 1848, and its sister hospital, the non-sectarian Columbia Hospital, began operations in 1909. Both are located in Milwaukee’s East Side neighborhood.
In 1995, the two hospitals merged, and Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital was formed (now Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital). Their new $417 million-dollar state-of-the-art facility opened in 2010. Wahlen Works ensures that its exterior and parking areas are pristine and safe for patients and visitors.
You wouldn’t believe it nowadays, but the ASQ Center was once a Gimbels department store, later to become a Marshall Field’s. Built in the 1880s, the building was designed after Selfridges in London, England, but over time, it had deteriorated significantly before its eventual renovation in 2001. Today, the beautiful structure is part of the National Registry of Historic Buildings and stands proudly in the heart of downtown Milwaukee—a successful, 195,000-square-foot office building.
Northwestern Mutual has called Milwaukee home for 160 years. The company was born on March 2, 1857, known as the Mutual Life Insurance Company of the State of Wisconsin. By 1865, it had expanded into other parts of what is now the Midwest and changed its name to the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company.
In 2019, it was ranked #111 in the Fortune 500 list for revenue. Northwestern Mutual now occupies the Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons in Milwaukee, as well as an 84-acre campus in Franklin. They also own the 7Seventy7 apartment high-rise on 777 North Van Buren Street. The Franklin location includes two parking ramps: one with four levels and one with six levels, a 1,625-stall structure. Wahlen Works handles the maintenance of both of those parking facilities and the external garage at 7Seventy7.
Garages of the Third Ward
The Historic Third Ward District is called that because 70 of the buildings within its 10 square blocks are on the National Register of Historic Places. They were built in a 36-year span after a fire destroyed 440 buildings in 1892. Today, the Third Ward is a must-see for visitors to Milwaukee.
“Its district of well preserved, large historic buildings, festival grounds, art galleries, theatre groups, eating and drinking establishments, and special events make it a unique attraction in the Milwaukee metro area,” according to the City of Milwaukee’s Department of City Development. We are as proud of the Third Ward as we are to maintain the vast majority of the garages in the district.
The work Wahlen Works does each day takes us to some of the most recognized and iconic locations in Milwaukee. We do our part to maintain Milwaukee’s historic properties, and we feel honored to do so. It’s what it means to be Milwaukee trusted.
Know of another historic building that needs some TLC? Send them our way for a free quote!
To describe something as “weathered” is to say that it has been worn by time and exposure to the elements. A weathered house. A weathered face. Weathered concrete. Over time, everything deteriorates. You can’t completely prevent the “weathering” of your concrete, but you can slow it down significantly with a penetrating sealer.
Our 100%-solids silane sealer is a premium grade, clear, penetrating, waterproofing treatment. Silane is a combination of hydrogen and silicon and it doesn’t form a coating on the surface of the concrete like acrylics and epoxies do.
Silanes have a very small molecular structure. The small molecular size of the product enables it to penetrate deeply into the pores of the concrete but does not change the appearance or vapor permeable (breathable) nature of treated surfaces. The higher solids (100%) of our sealer compensate for its small molecular structure and low viscosity.
Silane sealer forms membranes within the surface and penetrates deeply into the concrete. This is why it does such a good job protecting the reinforcing steel. Silanes are also water-repellent and hydrophobic (having little or no affinity for water). They protect against freeze thaw damage and efflorescence. Efflorescence is the crystalline deposit of salts that form from water consisting of salt deposits left behind when the water evaporates.
The primary deteriorating agents for concrete are weather, traffic, and chemicals. A penetrating sealer is the best choice to protect concrete from chemical corrosion and freeze-thaw damage in parking garages, bridge decks, and other surfaces which are subject to extreme exposure. Our silane sealer causes concrete to become permanently repellent to water, salt, and waterborne chemicals without losing its breathability.
“Corrosion-related damage to reinforced concrete is the result of rust, a product of the corrosion process of steel, which expands and thus requires more space in the concrete than the steel did at the time of installation. This change in volume of the steel results in expansive forces, which cause cracking and spalling of the adjacent concrete. Other signs of corrosion of embedded steel include delamination of the concrete (planar separations parallel to the surface) and rust staining (often a precursor to spalling) on the concrete near the steel.”
A penetrating sealer prevents spalling, cracking, and staining longer than other concrete sealing treatments. By sealing your concrete, you’ll be spending a little now to save a lot later. It is one of the most cost-effective forms of preventative maintenance you can undertake. We have more than 40 years of experience maintaining parking facilities in Milwaukee and southeast Wisconsin We offer a 5-year warranty on our concrete sealing services so you can have confidence that your property will be protected.
In an obscure court case over an alleged breach of lease in St. Louis, the judge ruled, “to the extent defendants based their breach of lease claim on central parking’s alleged obligation to repair deterioration…to the garage’s concrete surface before the end of the lease term, the court finds in favor of defendants”.
Further down the page, discussing a different example of deterioration, one engineer said, “It’s a classic case of garage neglect, where the operator has failed to protect the decks with a sealer or coating and has allowed water to infiltrate the deck, rusting the rebar mats and (probably) the post-tensioned cables. The rust on the bottom mat steel has resulted in spalling concrete and general degradation, resulting in loss of deck strength and homogeneity.”
If you own a parking garage, preventative maintenance can save a small fortune.
One form of preventative maintenance is concrete sealing and it’s one of the best returns on investment you’ll find. Last month on this blog we wrote about chloride contamination in concrete and this month we’ll address preventing that contamination and deterioration with concrete sealing.
To prevent degradation in your concrete, you need to prevent water, salt, and waterborne chemicals from penetrating its surface. A high-quality, professional sealant blocks the pores of the concrete, preventing these damage-causing elements from working their way under the surface and attacking the rebar.
Our silane sealer is 100% solids, compared to the sealers you can buy in most home improvement stores which are about 40% solids. It’s been tested by time, having been in use now for 40 years. The small molecular size of the product enables silane to penetrate deeply into the pores of substrates but does not change the appearance or vapor permeability of treated surfaces.
In addition to parking structures, this silane sealer can be used to protect buildings, roads, balconies, plazas, and vertical surfaces. It’s approved by the USDOT for sealing bridge decks. It is quite simply, the best product you can use to protect your property. Our sealer forms a permanent chemical bond, stops freeze-thaw damage and spalling, is not susceptible to ultraviolet or chemical degradation, and is cost-effective.
Don’t neglect the preventative maintenance of your garage. A comparatively small investment now could save tens of thousands of dollars or more down the road. Our concrete sealing service also comes with a 5-year warranty, giving you confidence in the wisdom of your investment.
Floor Sealing Questions
- Where is the floor located (warehouse, office building, etc.)?
- How old is the floor?
- Is it painted or intentionally stained?
- Was the concrete finished with any type of design.
- Are there accidental stains which need to be removed?
- Has the floor been sealed before? If so, how long has it been since the previous application?
- How much traffic does the floor have to bear?
Winter Preparation Checklist
- Clean your parking lot. Leaves are not as innocent as they seem. Their chemical composition can damage the surface of your concrete or asphalt. In addition, fall leaves that have been compacted and frozen by an early snowfall are a pain to remove. A professional sweeping will clear leaves and debris from places where water needs to flow freely. Then, pressure wash the entire facility for clean, odorless property.
- Inspect thoroughly for damage. Perform repairs on potholes or cracks. If you defer these repairs until the spring thaw, the damage will be greater and more expensive to fix.
- Check your drainage so water doesn’t pool in the lot or run back to the foundation.
- Seal your concrete. Concrete sealing creates a barrier between winter chemicals and salt and your parking surface. By the end of October, seal coating season is just about over, so don’t delay.
- Walk around all your snow plowing routes to ensure that they are unobstructed.
- Evaluate whether or not your pavement markings and signs are clear and easy to see. If not, consider new parking lot striping. A freshly painted lot increases the odds that people will drive and park safely. When large sections of your parking lot are used to store unmelted snow, you need to make sure that the rest of your parking lot can be used properly and efficiently.
- Review all customer and employee access points into your building. wash to make sure that people don’t slip and fall. check for irregularities in the walkway that can cause people to trip.
When a customer approaches your business, their first stop is often your parking lot or garage and the outside structure of your building. Like it or not, appearances matter. When public and private spaces aren’t clean, visitors can get the impression that a place is neglected. Seeing that the outside of a business is neglected may give visitors the impression that the owner neglects other aspects of their business as well. A neglected space can even be interpreted as an unsafe space, and this isn’t a completely baseless assumption by visitors. A recent study done in England found that poor levels of cleanliness are often associated with increases in other low-level crime and social disorder. As a business owner, you don’t want these subconscious thoughts to run through the minds of your customers. At Wahlen Works, we specialize in helping businesses give the best first impression to their customers.
From the moment that a customer drives into your parking lot or structure, they should be able to easily determine where to park. Keeping up on your pavement marking and parking lot striping can help reduce the tiny amount of stress drivers may feel when looking for a parking spot.
When customers step out of their car, you want to ensure that they’re not stepping on dirty or stained pavement. Again uncleanliness can be associated with neglect in the consumer’s mind. So you want to show that you take care of your business, like you’ll take care of whatever need they may have. Regularly pressure washing your parking facility is one small way to show that you care.
Lastly, maintenance is everything. If you have a concrete structure or concrete pavement, concrete sealing is one way to help ensure the pavement lasts and your pressure washing jobs last longer, as a quality sealant can help prevent staining. When you own a business, it’s important to think about think about the customer’s experience from the moment they pull up to the moment they leave. If you need help making sure that first impression is a great one, contact us today!