700 Lofts Takes Shape in Westown
49 new apartments are slated to open in June 2015 on the west side of Downtown.
The amount of vacant office space in Downtown Milwaukee is being reduced thanks to a number of office-to-apartment conversions. Three such projects exist in Westown alone: the former Blue Cross Blue Shield building, Germania Building and today’s featured building at 712 W. Michigan St. Kenosha-based Bear Development is converting the largely vacant office building at 712 W. Michigan St. and the smaller, attached building at 700 W. Michigan St into 49 family-style apartments. When complete, it will be known as the 700 Lofts.
The conversion required a $6.7 million creatively financed investment. In 2013, developer S.R. Mills and his Bear Development firm was awarded low-income housing tax credits for the project totaling $469,150 in exchange for setting aside 41 of the 49 units for residents that earn no more than 60 percent of the area’s median income. In addition, the firm received $1.3 million in historic preservation tax credits from the state (20 percent of the project cost total as allowed under state law). According to a sign at the site, PNC Bank is participating in financing the project.
In addition to the apartments, the building includes 66 underground parking spaces which will be available to tenants.