Jeramey Jannene
Plats and Parcels

State Aids Convention Center Expansion

Plus: Affordable housing developer buys south side site, Irgens plan to redevelop M&I building

By - Jun 30th, 2019 09:40 pm
Wisconsin Center expansion rendering. Rendering by Populous.

Wisconsin Center expansion rendering. Rendering by Populous.

The proposed expansion of the Wisconsin Center, the frequently renamed downtown convention center, received a boost from Madison last week.

An amendment to the 500-page 2019-2021 Wisconsin Biennial Budget passed by both houses of the Legislature adds a “moral obligation pledge” to back up to $300 million in bonds proposed to be issued by the Wisconsin Center District to expand the facility, as Tom Daykin was the first to report. The state wouldn’t repay the loans, but would cover a shortfall.

Proceeds from the bond sale would be used to expand the downtown convention center from 265,000 square feet up to 437,000 square feet.

The district still needs to identify a funding source to support the loan’s payback. It currently receives funding via taxes on Milwaukee County hotel rooms, restaurant and bar sales and car rentals. The district announced Morgan Stanley as the financier for the proposal in May.

The district hopes to break ground in 2020.

Apartment Developer Buys South Side Properties

Affordable housing developer Cardinal Capital Management has acquired the 20,000-square-foot building at 1127-1135 S. Cesar E. Chavez Dr. and an adjacent parking lot at 1109 S. Cesar E. Chavez Dr. for $1.7 million.

The firm, alongside Journey Houseenvisioned building a mixed-use replacement for the Forest Home Library on the site in 2014, but ultimately lost out to Gorman & Co.’s W. Historic Mitchell St. proposal.

Cardinal Capital, which commonly works with low-income housing tax credits, has developed a number of buildings in Milwaukee including the Germania Apartments and the under-construction Clarke Square Apartments.

The land sale was first reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Library Plans

Irgens Reinventing A Downtown Classic

As part of building the glass-clad, 25-story BMO Tower, Irgens Partners is poised to redevelop BMO Harris Bank‘s current home, the M&I Bank Building. BMO acquired M&I, once Wisconsin’s largest bank, in 1968.

Irgens acquired the 21-story building as part of the $137 million deal to build the new tower and is finalizing plans to redevelop the tower, built in 1968, as part of creating a 700,000-square-foot office campus including both the new and old home of BMO.

The old tower that Irgens is redeveloping lends itself to be being split into two, with two elevator banks servicing different parts of the 21-story building. The firm is in discussions with housing developers about using the lower 10 floors as apartments.

The upper floors could become office space. “We haven’t decided if we might redevelop the whole thing as offices,” said Irgens president Mark Irgens in an interview. Learn more.


Existing Building

Washington, Sas-Pérez Nominated For Seats on City Plan Commission

Mayor Tom Barrett has nominated Layton Boulevard West Neighbors executive director Brianna Sas-Pérez and Town Bank commercial banking vice president Ranell Washington to serve on the City Plan Commission. The body makes recommendations on design, zoning and city land sales that are later reviewed by the Common Council. Both appointments are subject to Common Council confirmation. Learn more about Sas-Pérez and Washington.

New Prospect Avenue Tower Climbs Higher

Saint John’s on the Lake’s new tower continues to climb higher and higher along N. Prospect Ave. The 22-story, $123 million tower is rising at the southeast corner of the intersection of N. Prospect Ave. and E. Kane Pl. The non-profit provider of senior housing and licensed-care will link the tower with its existing campus, using it as a northern bookend to its ever-rising campus. Learn more.



Eschweiler Mansion Bites the Dust

Exterior demolition began Wednesday morning on Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele‘s Shorewood mansion. Barenz Builders is leading the demolition for Abele, who secured a permit in the past week to demolish the historic N. Lake Dr. home.

Abele, as first reported by my colleague Michael Hornedecided to tear it down and develop a new home on the site, after having bought the historic home for $2.6 million in November. Designed by famed architect Alexander C. Eschweiler, the 9,762-square-foot home is not protected by a local historic designation.

John Hambrook, a member of the family who sold the house to Abele, said reports from the contractor that the home was in poor shape are a lie. Hambrook told Urban Milwaukee that his family invested in installing a new boiler and water heater, abated asbestos and updating electrical systems. Read more.

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