Graham Kilmer
Plats and Parcels

Large Third Ward Building Sold

Plus: Downtown Post Office remains in limbo, King Drive Library deal hits roadblock

By - May 5th, 2019 11:06 pm
125-129 N. Water St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

125-129 N. Water St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The last manufacturer in the Historic Third Ward could be on the move.

The five-story Harri Hoffmann Company building at 125-129 N. Water St. was sold this week for $3.3 million to an affiliate of suburban housing developer Wimmer Communities. The building was built in 1892 according to Wisconsin Historical Society records.

The shoe polish manufacturer, known for Hoffco Shoe Polish, was run by Harri Hoffmann‘s daughter Lorraine Hoffmann until her death in July 2017. The company had been in the building since 1963. The structure was originally built for a predecessor firm of Laacke & Joys.

Wimmer also acquired two other properties from Hoffman’s estate as part of the deal. The firm purchased the five-story, 7,200-square-foot building at 217-221 N. Water St. Asian fusion restaurant Lucky Ginger occupies the first floor. It also acquired the surface parking lot at 239 E. Erie St.

The company, run by brothers John and Mark Wimmer, declined to provide plans for the properties.

But the two brothers might have a strategic reason for controlling the future of the factory;  they recently purchased the former fire house next door. The family is converting it into a shared downtown residence.


Fire House Construction Update

Settlement Negotiations Over Post Office Eviction Fail

Negotiations between the United States Postal Service and R2 Companies, which owns its downtown building, fell apart before a settlement could be reached, Arthur Thomas reported in BizTimes.

R2 sued for eviction in 2019 citing property damage and disrepair. The two parties met to reach a  compromise out of federal court. Thomas quoted Matt Garrison, the chief principal at R2, as having said the two parties “fundamentally disagree on the tenant’s obligations under the lease.” Now the case will head to federal court.

Since at least 2016 R2 has had plans to redevelop the site as a large, mixed-use developer. USPS has a long-term lease for the building.

Recent King Branch Proposal Voted Down by Library Board

A proposal from the developers charged with developing the new Martin Luther King Library Branch was voted down by the library board.

The proposal from Young Development Group, which originally won a request-for-proposal process with a different proposal, was to develop the new library in the historic Garfield Theatre instead of on the current King Branch site at 310 W. Locust St. The project would have included 16,000 square feet for the library in the former theater building at 2933-2957 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., along with commercial space. A three-story apartment building would have been built where the current King Branch sits.

Citing concerns about its portion of the project costs, the board voted to have the developers pursue a project solely at the current King Branch site, Tom Daykin reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Haywood Group is serving as a partner on the project. We previously covered Young’s original concept.

In Other News:

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