Wanna Buy Some Park East Land?
Sensing market interest, Milwaukee County is trying to sell a parcel of land -- for the third time.
For Milwaukee County, it seems, the third time is the charm. The County is looking to sell a 2.17 acre parcel of land in the Park East Corridor that has been put on the market twice before. Known as Block 2E, and located between N. Milwaukee St. and Broadway and E. Lyon St. and E. Ogden Ave, it is one of the large lots formerly underneath the elevated Park East Freeway Spur that have been slated for redevelopment since the freeway was torn down in 2003.
An inter-office communication from Craig Dillman, Milwaukee County Manager of Real Estate Services, to County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic and Committee on Economic and Community Development Chairperson Patricia Jursik, spells out the rationale for the sale. “With the recent development activity/announcements east of the Milwaukee River, in and around the Park East Corridor and proximate to Block 2E, the market interest in purchasing and developing Block 2E has increased. Therefore, staff is preparing to re-issue the RFP for Block 2E to entertain the expressions of interest.”
To date Milwaukee County has sold two parcels in the former freeway corridor. One of these, bounded by Lyon St. and Ogden Ave., and Jefferson St. and Milwaukee St., is still vacant, but poised to see development soon with an apartment building from Wangard Partners. The developers are seeking a loan through the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee, but the proposal was held at the latest meeting because of union opposition stemming from controversy at another Wangard property.
The other parcel sold by the County is under construction — the Milwaukee School of Engineering Athletic Field and Parking Complex, a development that does not comply with the City of Milwaukee Park East Redevelopment Plan, and some have criticized as not the best use of the land.
The Block 2E parcel was previously put out for bid in 2005 and late 2008. Richard Curto, of RSC & Associates, secured the rights to a purchase option on the land that was extended numerous times, but RSC never closed on the sale of the lot. RSC & Associates did close on the sale of the adjacent Block 26, but that is now planned for development as Park East Square by Wangard Partners after a number of RSC false starts.
Fair Market Development, led by Robert Schultz, was the only respondent to the 2008 offering. Fair Market proposed the Eco-Square development and backed the controversial MORE ordinance in an apparent attempt to get public financing for their development. Along with countless other developments in 2008 and 2009, Fair Market was never able to secure financing and the purchase option expired.
The proposed Request for Proposals will be discussed at the next meeting of the County Board’s Committee on Economic and Community Development on September 17th. A sample RFP specific to the site has been made available.
Development activity in the nearby area.
People: Craig Dillman, Marina Dimitrijevic, Patricia Jursik
Building(s): Avenir, MSOE Athletic Field and Parking Complex
Government: Economic and Community Development Committee, Milwaukee County, Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors
Neighborhood(s): Downtown, East Town, Juneau Town, Lower East Side, Park East