Michael Horne
What’s It Worth?

Milwaukee Athletic Club Worth $7.6 Million

Club behind on taxes owed city, but new plan for hotel should gain it more revenue.

By - Feb 15th, 2019 04:05 pm
The Milwaukee Athletic Club: $7,598,000.00. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The Milwaukee Athletic Club: $7,598,000.00. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

On the day after Christmas last year, the City of Milwaukee filed a judgment against the Milwaukee Athletic Club (MAC) in the amount of $100,616.45 for unpaid property taxes on its 12-story 1916 building at 758 N. Broadway. In January the club, founded in 1882, moved to temporary quarters at 735 N. Water St., a block away, while the old clubhouse is being remodeled in a $47 million renovation designed by Kahler Slater architects.

It is anticipated that by the end of 2019 the club will return to its old home, subleasing a portion of the building from its new owners, while much of the old clubhouse will largely be converted into a hotel with a scheduled completion date in mid-2020.

The financing of the renovation was aided by the sale of $9.48 million in historic preservation tax credits awarded last June, a sum second among downtown locations only to the $11 million awarded to the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra‘s new home in the former Warner Theater.

It was announced last year the the MAC building was to be sold to investors Josh Jeffers and Tony Janowiec, but city records still show the owner as the Milwaukee Athletic Club, as do unpaid tax bills from 2017 ($451,754.69) and 2018 ($332,568.77). The 2018 bill was due on January 31st to be paid in full. Alternately, the club could have made an installment payment of $46,000 by then. It did neither, incurring $4,988.55 in interest as of February 12th, and a new balance of $337,557.32. The amounts grow larger every day.

Fraught Times for Private Clubs

It is a cruel irony that this venerable institution should find itself in rough straits just as thousands of fitness-crazed young professionals now call Downtown home. The club, to its credit, has expanded its outreach to its new neighbors with rooftop activities and other inducements. The MAC stuck with its 186,550-square-foot downtown home for decades while many similar institutions nationwide shut their doors or decamped to suburbia. The MACs downtown neighbors — The University Club and The Wisconsin Club — staked out a compromise position by merging with country clubs, and offering members two locations: The Wisconsin Club Country Club (formerly Brynwood Country Club) and the University Club Country Club, formerly Tripoli Country Club.

The University Club was able to stabilize its finances by constructing a luxury high rise building on its parking lot, thus adding dollars to its bank account, and a host of new members living next door. It also sold off some of its artwork.

In 1995 and again in 2005, the MAC also contemplated a high rise for its surface parking lot, located to the north of the building. However, to do so would require the purchase and relocation of its neighbor, the Milwaukee Fire Department’s Engine House #1. Since a new fire house usually must be built before the old one is decommissioned, the project was not deemed financially viable at the time.

Like the University Club, the MAC also sold some of the artwork in its collection, including an equestrian painting by Milwaukee artist Richard Lorenz (1858-1915). In 2013 the club sold its parking structure at 777 N. Milwaukee St. and a surface lot at 792 N. Broadway for $1,700,000 to an affiliate of Interstate Parking Co., which Janowiec, the new owner, controls. Club members hold a permanent deed restriction for 80 of the parking spaces in the remodeled parking structure, with 120 spots available for public use. The structure and surface lot are now assessed at $2,223,500.

Let’s hope that with its newly remodeled digs, and lower overhead, the reborn club will be able to attract a sustainable membership, and to pay off its judgment to the city, lest it become defunct or bankrupt, like many of its counterparts nationwide.

Fun Fact:

The Milwaukee Athletic Club’s Tug of War team, with all its members imported from Chicago, won the Gold Medal at the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis.

Photo Gallery

The Rundown:

  • Name of Property: The Milwaukee Athletic Club
  • Address: 758 N. Broadway, City of Milwaukee
  • Assessed Valuation: The 28,750 square foot lot is assessed at $1,724,400 ($59.79/s.f.) and the improvements are valued at $5,873,600 for a total assessed valuation of $7,598,000. (2006 assessment: $12,000,000)
  • Taxes: 2018: $337,557.32; unpaid. Amount includes interest and penalties to February 12th. 2017 bill ($451,754.69) is likewise delinquent. The City has received a judgment of over $100,000 for unpaid 2016 taxes; this also accrues interest
  • Owner: Milwaukee Athletic Club, according to city records and permits. Sale is reportedly pending to a group headed by Josh Jeffers and Tony Janowiec
  • Type: High Rise, “Sport, Health & Recreational Properties”
  • Architect: Armand Koch
  • Year Built: 1916; numerous updates over the years, including a substantial overhaul now under way.
  • Neighborhood: Juneau Town
  • Aldermanic District: 4th; Robert Bauman
  • Walk Score: 99 out of 100 “Walker’s Paradise”
  • Transit Score: 68 out of 100 “Excellent Transit”
  • How Milwaukee is it? It is 0.1 miles, or a 3-minute walk, from City Hall

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