Michael Horne
House Confidential

Alex Lasry’s $1 Million Waterfront Condo

And why not? The son of Bucks owner Marc Lasry has become a MAJOR player in town.

By - Aug 3rd, 2016 03:33 pm
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The Waterfront. Photo by Michael Horne.

The Waterfront. Photo by Michael Horne.

Alex Lasry, 29, made his first visit to Milwaukee on March 16th, 2014, when he accompanied his father Marc Lasry and Wes Edens on a secret mission to meet with former Democratic Senator Herb Kohl, the owner of the Milwaukee Bucks professional basketball team.

Kohl wanted to sell his team, and the Lasry/Edens meeting offered a chance to show off the assets and to lay down the law: Whomever shall buy the franchise shall keep the Bucks in Milwaukee.

The New Yorkers agreed to the terms, but there was question of their commitment to the community. So, the team would be here, but where would the owners be?

Just two years later, the younger Lasry is a vice president of the team, and a member of the boards of the Milwaukee Film Festival, the Big Brother Big Sister Milwaukee and the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts — all significant Milwaukee institutions.

This week Lasry, a former aide in the Obama White House, served as a Wisconsin delegate to the Democratic National Convention, which must have thrilled Kohl, the former senator, and served as further evidence of his commitment to the community.

And Alex’s new home purchase was recorded this week — a 3,395 square foot condominium in The Waterfront, 310 S. Water St., that set him (or maybe dad) back $1,060,000.

Not even County Executive Chris Abele, another East Coast billionaire’s son rose quite so quickly in the Milwaukee social scene. (It was Abele who appointed Lasry to the Marcus Center Board. It’s nice to know how billionaires can grease the skids for each other in the name of civic involvement.)

It is clear that Lasry has become stuck in the flypaper that is Milwaukee society, and is entangled in the business web here, so it is instructive for the general public to learn a bit more about where a Manhattan sophisticate would choose to live in the Cream City. Maybe we can woo a couple more of them here. I don’t want to move to Manhattan just to call Henry Kissinger my neighbor. He can move to Milwaukee instead.

Lasry got his start as a Milwaukeean at the Park Lafayette, the failed condominium tower on N. Prospect Ave. that has been a popular rental destination for those in transition. Other Bucks personnel who have called this home included Jake Suski, President Peter Feigin, and Jonathan Zuckerbrod. They jokingly called the Park Lafayette “The Dorms.” This is where Johnson Controls CEO Alex Molinaroli rented after his wife threw him out of the house.

There is a Johnson Controls connection to the new Lasry pad. It was the home from the time the place was built, in 2004, of Robert G. Gruenstern, a vice-president at JCI, the state’s largest industrial firm, who bought the place for $800,000. The four bedroom, three and a half bath unit is the largest in the building. It consists of two units that had been joined by the former owners at the time they purchased the place.

The Lasry condo sold for $312 per square foot, or about a quarter of the going rate for average properties in Manhattan. Condo buyers around Alex’s old superfancy E. 74th St. and Fifth Avenue neighborhood pay an average of $2,521 per square foot.

The building was designed and developed by Renner Architects according to the firm’s precepts. Renner has always been a big one for massive construction. He likes to keep a foot of concrete surrounding each unit on all sides, the better to control sound, vibrations and other annoyances of urban life.

The Broadway bridge opening for a boat to pass. Photo by Michael Horne.

The Broadway bridge opening for a boat to pass. Photo by Michael Horne.

The site was a choice one, but hardly seemed so for decades. This space between Milwaukee’s two busiest bascule bridges (the Broadway and the Water Street bridges), was, much like the immediate area, a place of industry and warehousing. In 1894 the lot included a coal yard, a shed, a firm that dealt in agricultural implements, a factory that made bedding and an old building with the Van Dyke Knitting Mills inside. By 1910 the coal yard was gone, replaced with a building, and bags were manufactured on this block.

(By the way, the Van Dyke firm merged with the Bradley knitting works, giving us BVDs, a famous brand name for men’s underwear. The firm also manufactured, among other things, certain items of apparel that give athletes like Milwaukee Bucks the knickname of “jocks.” A little locker room history is appropriate here.–Ed.)

By the 1970’s the site was largely vacant, and it was the spot where the Fruit Boat moored. Until the end of the century the block did see a fair number of suit-and-tie visitors. These were the hearty and thrifty businessmen who dared to cross the river in search of bargains at Melco, the legendary men’s clothing store whose building has since been converted into condos. Mel got out of the business in a hurry once he saw “Casual Fridays” sweeping the nation, leading to the sartorial twilight in which today’s businessfolk have been plunged. Alex doesn’t even wear a tie when he’s hanging with Chelsea and Hillary Clinton.

The old harborfront was a different world, a portion of which can still be visualized looking upstream at the Broadway bascule bridge, where a riverfront lot remains overgrown with boxelders. The whole district used to look like this not too long ago. You could see the Allen Bradley clock from the M&M Club. No more.

Developer Peter Renner has done a good job recreating the lost nautical era. There are boat models in the lobby, which has old maps and photographs on the walls. Massive propellers hang from a wall along the river.

The chief excitement of the location lies in its vitality. There are many moving parts here, and young Lasry can sit on one of his decks and watch freight trains rumble across the river, announced by their mighty horns. He can see the Amtrak passengers gliding down to Chicago — Toledo — Cleveland — Erie — Rochester — New York City!

The water street bridge opening for a boat to pass. Photo by Michael Horne.

The water street bridge opening for a boat to pass. Photo by Michael Horne.

Or, Alex can watch the numerous openings and closings of the bridges from his windows, especially at this time of year. The giant leaves of the Water Street bascule bridge rise high enough to obscure the view from his new home. The ding-ding-ding of the bridge’s bell as the span closes and opens provides a sonic accompaniment to the lights and action of the city. The constant vrrr-vrrr-vrrr of rubber wheels rolling over the steel grate-surfaced bridge when traffic is running adds texture to the aural composition.

Of course, New Yorkers are used to excitement — it serves as a pacifier for them, and anybody who can listen to the racket of a professional basketball game can also bear the noises that emanate from Milwaukee’s traffic.

The Lasry condo has an amenity that is not commonly found even among riverfront condos — he has his own dedicated boat slip should he care to join the nautical class. It’s too late to have his father and partners close off some Milwaukee streets to create a ship channel so Alex can sail to his job at the arena, but it is something to keep in mind 30 years from now when he’ll have to tear that thing down and build a modern one, lest his kids and heirs risk losing the team.

It is almost certain, though, that The Waterfront building, that exemplar of sound construction, will still be standing even after the arena now under construction is ground to dust.

A Matter of Financing

I’m not sure where Alex Lasry came up with the money for his new condo, but if it came in the form of a gift from his dad, I have a little suggestion to cheer up the old man and help him recoup his investment:

Marc Lasry has unclaimed money held by the State of New York. This includes a refund due to Marc from the Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, dated 2014 [New York Comptroller #57249303].

Plus, Alex and his dad are co-owners of an abandoned Bank of America savings account, dating to 2005. [New York Comptroller #28286016]. Think how the interest has piled up on that one at, what, a half-percent a year for the past decade! No need to leave it on the table.

All Alex has to do is claim his rightful funds, and begin paying down that mortgage.

Photo Gallery

The Rundown

  • Owner: Alex Lasry
  • Location: City of Milwaukee
  • Neighborhood: Harbor View
  • Subdivision: Waterfront Condominium
  • Year Built: 2004
  • Style: Nice jumbo condo unit in 60-unit apartment style building noted for solid construction and riverfront boat slips.
  • Size: 3,395 s.f.
  • Fireplaces: Could not be determined
  • Rec Room: A single guy with four bedrooms and a boat slip doesn’t need a rec room. If he needs exercise he can go to his new arena downtown and play a couple of games with the guys.
  • Assessment: Land: Proportionate share of .95 acre lot is valued at $5,200 [$N.M.F./s.f.]. Improvements: $776,400 Total: $781,600. Includes parking spot, boat slip and an undivided 1.67% of the common elements of the building.
  • Taxes: $22,733.35;went Paid in Full.
  • Garbage Collection Route and Schedule: N/A.
  • Polling Location: Bradley Technical High School, 700 S. 4th St.
  • Aldermanic District: 12th, Jose G. Perez
  • County Supervisor District: 12th Peggy A. West
  • Walk Score: 91 out of 100 “Very Walkable” City Average: 61
  • Transit Score: 71 out of 100 “Good Transit” City Average: 49

How Milwaukee Is It? The residence is a pleasant .8 mile walk up N. Water St. through the Historic Third Ward to City Hall.

8 thoughts on “House Confidential: Alex Lasry’s $1 Million Waterfront Condo”

  1. Brandon Methu says:

    This article is in poor taste. Alex is for Milwaukee and a good guy.

  2. John says:

    Kind of a dumpy looking, ordinary building for luxury condos. Hope they look a lot better inside.

  3. Frank Galvan says:

    Daddy was able to him a condo with some of the money that he saved on his shiny new publicly financed arena.

  4. BPI says:

    Love “House Confidential.” There have been a couple I thought were in poor taste but this is not one of them.

  5. M says:

    Abele put Lasry on the Marcus Center board just before the county exec attempted to dump the county-owned center onto the Wisconsin Center District, which will nominally oversee Arena construction and Bucks owners’ for-profit exploitation of a “public asset.” The planned merging of these strange bedfellows is now on hold since it was deemed a very bad idea.

    Lasry also has announced he wants to demolish the Milwaukee Theatre to allow the Bucks even greater domination of Downtown real estate and entertainment.

    What other civic skids might Abele be helping the young Lasry to grease?

  6. Ron says:

    Sour grapes anyone?

  7. Charles Harvey says:

    Only in Milwaukee will a young property owner be singled out and made a featured story for buying a million dollar home. Whether he was assisted or not by his family in purchasing a property isn’t the type of news a business journal reporter should be focused on. By the way, many families help their kids by their homes if that occurred in this case.

    A better article would have entailed an interview with Alex about his job, future investment ideas, politics and his views of Milwaukee leadership and why he thinks downtown is a great place to relocate and live. The one inference made which I agree with is we need more young smart and talented young people moving to our city,

  8. Mike Neville says:

    The “better article” suggested by Charles Harvey would have had me snoring after the first paragraph.
    The other billionaire’s son, Chris Abele, another putative Democrat, has pursued dubious hidden agendas closeted
    behind closed doors since his first day in office. Young Mr. Lasry may not be of Abele’s ilk, but he bears watching. And
    I doubt he’ll lose any sleep over a little snark.

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