Posner Renovation Kicks Off
Our photos capture a new start for an old building.
They were joined by Reed Hall, CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Kevin Fischer of the Milwaukee office of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, developer Joe Klein, Sean O’Brien, director of underwriting for WHEDA and Johnny Vassallo, owner of Mo’s Irish Pub, the only current tenant of the 108,334 square foot, 7-story, 106 year old building at the northwest corner of W. Wisconsin and N. Plankinton avenues.
But that will soon change. The old commercial structure will be completely renovated by HKS Holdings in conjunction with nonprofit equity partner Impact Seven, and will have over 100 apartments and new street level retail, said Klein. Engberg Anderson is the architect of record
The $20-$25 million project — over $200,000 per unit — will include a first mortgage, state historic tax credits and grants of $14 million along with a $2.5 million developer financed Tax Incremental District from the city.
The mayor recalled once being at an event across the street at the UW-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education, which occupies the 6th and 7th floors of that building. “As I was there, I looked across the street at this phenomenal building with nothing upstairs,” and decided something must be done.
He gave credit to restaurateur Vassallo, whose pub opened in 1999 in a former bank space. “John breathed a lot of life into the first floor, but this is a big, historic building and it is hard to do more,” hence the government assistance, and outside developers.
Barrett says the construction will “further the economic development on W. Wisconsin Ave.” and gave him the opportunity to say “let’s do something dramatic.”
Milwaukee is currently “experiencing droves of young people who want to be in this city, particularly downtown,” Barrett said. “Instead of turning a shovel, we’ll do a toast.” A waitress served the assembled dignitaries pints of Guinness.