Michael Horne
House Confidential

Jeff Joerres’ Super Penthouse

He's tearing down a $1.1 million penthouse to build a far bigger, grander pent-mansion.

By - Feb 8th, 2013 03:49 pm

Location, location, location is the mantra of the real estate industry and ManpowerGroup CEO and local plutocrat Jeff Joerres is the poster boy for that saying. He tore down a penthouse along the river worth more than $1 million and is now engaged in creating a super penthouse that may outshine any in the state.

The River Renaissance building (which you may know for Ryan Braun’s Graffitto restaurant on its main floor) has a great location, but the finances of the 82 unit condominium development that broke ground in 2004 were plagued from the beginning. Its final 38 unsold units were bought as a unit at a Sheriff’s auction in July 2012 by Silverleaf Financial LLC, of Salt Lake City. It was a good example of a bad deal, at a rotten time. But, oh, what a location.

River Penthouse

River Penthouse

Good enough, in fact, that while sales on the lower floors languished, Joerres bought four rooftop 8th-floor units in a shed like structure that was truly a penthouse — a house top the building. Starting in 2011 he tore down his penthouse and replaced it with a sculptural composition that ranks it among the most dynamic of living spaces in the metropolitan area. Chicago’s got nothing on it, including the location.

It is too early to tell how much the new Joerres family penthouse is worth. City Assessor Mary Reavey tells House Confidential: “assessments are still in progress.  We should have values by the time we send out the assessment notices at the end of April.”

However, we do have the previous assessment for the raw material Joerres had to deal with when he transformed his penthouse into a pent-mansion.

His four units consisted of 5,273 square feet, which together included seven rooms for sleeping, five for bathing, and one for half-bathing. As Joerres was a pioneer settler in the River Renaissance, we like to imagine his frame, make that timber dwelling, also had a room set aside for the storage of foodstuffs and dry goods, along with a central hall of some sort where peltries could be hung to cure and dry, along with the salmon that come upstream in season. No doubt laundry was done dockside.

Speaking more factually, this setup was assessed in 2012 at $1,111,400, and yielded $32,967 in revenue for the many, many taxing authorities with claims upon the region’s bounty.  Joerres, who earned $31 million in total compensation over the last five years, including $10.4 million in 2012, was able to pay his taxes in full.

The property is located within the Historic Third Ward, and as such is subject to the approval of the neighborhood’s Architectural Review Board.

There are many guidelines for new construction in that historic area, including quite a few pertaining to  penthouses. For example, “Consistent with the functional history of these roof forms  penthouse additions should be simple and understated and avoid any attempt to mimic ornamented street facades.”

It took three go-rounds with the architectural review folks before Joerres’s “simple and understated” penthouse design met their approval.  The final plans were sent to the City of Milwaukee Plan Commission in May 2011 where its approval was moved by Commissioner Whitney Gould.

The Rundown

  • Style: Penthouse
  • Location: Historic Third Ward
  • Walk Score: 89 out of 100. River Renaissance has a Walk Score of 89, which seems a bit low. It is very walkable, indeed, and “most errands can be accomplished on foot,” as the scoring notes. However, unlike most civilized areas of town, there is no readily accessible place to buy simple items like toiletries, medicines, etc. Where are you, Walgreens?
  • Public Transit Score:  68 out of 100. A pretty lousy score, which seems to neglect that interstate rail and bus connections are available five blocks away. And you can almost always catch a ride on a shipboard cocktail cruise, or hijack a kayak, in season.
  • Street Smart Walk Score: 87 out of 100.
  • Year Built: Under construction.
  • Assessed Value: $1,111,400, but sure to rise.

The Neighborhood: River Renaissance vies with The Point on the River as Milwaukee’s most centrally located home, sited about as close as possible for habitation where North, South, East and West — essential signifiers in all city addresses –converge on the map. [The actual convergence point is underwater, at the confluence of the Milwaukee and Menomonee Rivers, right by the Canadian Pacific tracks.]

Immediately to the west of the building is the Water Street Bridge, a very active structure during the season of pleasure boating, and whenever the Leona B tugboat is pushing a coal barge up to the power plant. The massive leaves of the bascule bridge animate the street as well as the river. The building’s location, on an east-west stretch of the languid estuary, is ideal for capturing the summer sun. The riverwalk below, which serves Ryan Braun’s Graffito, provides a handy place for Joerres to grab a snack while he heads down to his boat at Slip #5, perhaps en route to his offices upstream at the World Headquarters of Manpower International, which he has run for more than a decade.

What If He Needs A Part Time Job? Joerres will find the nearest Manpower hiring office at 400 E. Mason St., also seven-tenths of a mile away and just across Milwaukee St. from Urban Milwaukee, while the company headquarters is just a bit more than a mile north of home sweet home.

How Milwaukee Is It? The Joerres Penthouse is seven-tenths of a mile from City Hall, which is directly north on N. Water St., no turns needed.

Photo Gallery

About Jeff Joerres

Joerres, a Marquette grad, is a native of South Milwaukee, which has Lake Michigan frontage, mostly as parkland. He’ll have to settle with the river for now.

Joerres has lead ManpowerGroup through a period of rapid growth. According to his official biography

Jeffrey A. Joerres is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ManpowerGroup. Having joined the organization in 1993, Joerres served as Vice President of Marketing and Senior Vice President of European Operations and Global Account Management. In 1999, he was named CEO, and in 2001, Chairman of the Board.

Joerres has led a transformation of ManpowerGroup’s business strategy, adding new business lines that have expanded the company’s ability to help clients and candidates win in the changing world of work.

Under Joerres’ tenure, ManpowerGroup has experienced rapid growth, expanding the footprint of the organization to 3,600 offices across 80 countries and territories.

ManpowerGroup has climbed the ranks of the Fortune 500 American companies list, moving from 183 to 129 in 2012. Also, for the second consecutive year, ManpowerGroup was the only company in the industry to be named to the Ethisphere Institute’s list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. In 2011, Joerres received the inaugural Corporate Responsibility Lifetime Achievement Award for significant accomplishments made throughout his career in corporate social responsibility.

Categories: House Confidential

2 thoughts on “House Confidential: Jeff Joerres’ Super Penthouse”

  1. Frank says:

    Chicago’s got nothing on it? Not too sure about that one.

  2. disturbed says:

    Got to love the money that is made & spent by the ManpowerGroup leader as the company continues to let go more & more loyal employees month after month.

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