Jeramey Jannene
Plats and Parcels

Will WTMJ Move to The Avenue?

Good Karma Brands might consolidate its radio stations in the former Grand Avenue Mall.

By - Aug 11th, 2019 09:31 pm
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3rd Street Market Hall. Rendering by TKWA UrbanLab.

3rd Street Market Hall. Rendering by TKWA UrbanLab.

Another major tenant could bolster the redevelopment of the former Shops of Grand Avenue mall.

According to a report citing unnamed sources from BizTimes, two major Milwaukee radio stations could soon be broadcasting live from The Avenue.

Good Karma Brands, founded by entrepreneur Craig Karmazin in 1997, owns both WTMJ and ESPN Milwaukee. BizTimes cited “sources” who said the company is finalizing a lease agreement to move the stations to the former mall. A source confirmed to Urban Milwaukee that discussions are progressing.

The move wouldn’t be a long one for the ESPN affiliate. The station, broadcasting on 540 AM and 94.5 FM, is currently located across the street in a street-level studio in the 310W building.

WTMJ, 620 AM and 103.3 FM, is located at 720 E. Capitol Dr. alongside the TMJ4 television station. That arrangement made sense when TMJ truly meant The Milwaukee Journal. But the media properties have been broken up, with the newspaper going to Gannett (and is now being sold again), the television station going to E.W. Scripps & Co., and Good Karma acquiring the radio station (and 94.5 FM) for $16 million in 2018.

While we’ve recently reported on the physical changes inside the mall, a crew from J.P. Cullen removed all of the glass from the large atrium on the mall’s N. Old World Third St. entrance last week. The entrance will be rebuilt into a plaza as part of the mall’s redevelopment. Will it include broadcast booths?

Engineering firm GRAEF is scheduled to move into its third-story office space in December 2019. The 3rd Street Market Hall will open in spring 2020.

Symphony Wall Scheduled for Tuesday Move

It’s almost go-time for the most complex piece of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra‘s conversion of the historic Grand Warner Theatre into a music hall.

Starting Tuesday morning, a highly specialized crew from International Chimney Corporation will begin inching the 625-ton rear theater wall into what used to be N. 2nd St. When complete the wall will have moved 35 feet east, adding essential space to the small movie stage that will soon be home to Milwaukee’s best musicians.

For more on why the symphony is spending $89 million to redevelop the building, see our coverage from Friday.

Steve Palec Heads to Irgens

Real estate development firm Irgens Partners has hired long-time broker Steve Palec as its chief marketing officer.

Palec won’t have a problem finding his new office. The real estate veteran need only remember he’s switched from Colliers International to Irgens when he arrives at the 833 East office tower every morning.

The firm announced a host of other promotions and hirings alongside Palec.

Kinn Hotel Deal Approved

The Kinn Hotel proposal for the historic building at 602 N. Broadway has been approved after being downsized twice. My colleague Graham Kilmer graciously covered the Historic Preservation Commission‘s deliberations while I was traveling earlier this week. Read his writeup.

Urban Stables Take Shape

A long-vacant, four-acre site on the western edge of Bay View is being transformed into a one-of-a-kind use for Milwaukee.

MKE Urban Stables, a home for the Milwaukee Police Department‘s mounted horse patrol and an equine-assisted therapy program, will open in early 2020 at 143 E. Lincoln Ave.

See the construction progress.

Why No Dark Store Loophole Deal?

Melanie Conklin, of the newly-launched Wisconsin Examiner, takes a deep look at why nothing is being done to close the Dark Store Loophole in a long, but good piece from earlier this week. Conklin examines the loophole itself, where big-box retailers can get their assessments lowered and pay less in property tax, and the political machinations in Madison that are preventing action. Read on.

Turner Hall’s New Signs

Visitors looking to attend a concert at Turner Hall won’t have any problem finding the place now that a 22-foot-tall blade sign has been installed on the historic building at 1034 N. Vel R. Phillips Ave.

Originally built in 1882, Turner Hall today houses three distinct venues, all of which will benefit from three new signs installed this week on the four-story building’s Cream City brick facade. Learn more.

215 N. Water St. Sells for $4.55 Million

A Historic Third Ward office building has changed hands for $4.55 million. Revel Investments acquired the building from an affiliate of the Dohmen Company. The company will continue to lease space in the building. The 26,100-square-foot building was originally built in 1906. Tom Shepherd of Colliers represented the seller. Steve Pape of Founders 3 represented the buyer.

241 N. Broadway Sells for $16.36 Million

It was a good week to sell property in the Historic Third Ward (or was it a good week to buy property?). Oregon-based Felton Properties acquired the six-story, 80-square-foot building as an income-producing property.

“Tenants today are willing to pay up for quality and location and want to be in the 3rd Ward where there’s more energy and vibrancy,” firm president Matthew Felton told Sean Ryan. “Tenants don’t just want to be in the downtown core. They want to be where there’s excitement.” The firm spent $37 million on other Milwaukee area office buildings earlier this year.

Klein Development and Millennial Partners sold the building, having acquired it in an online auction in 2015 for $6.25 million.

Potawatomi Opens New Hotel

Potawatomi Hotel & Casino celebrated opening the $80 million expansion of its hotel and conference last week. The tower adds 119 rooms and suites to the 381-room hotel. Look for an interior tour later this week. Read the press release.

Meanwhile, BizTimes was the first to report that the casino is one of six bidders to open a newly-approved casino in Waukegan, Illinois. The move could be a defensive one for the tribe which strongly opposed a proposal to open a casino in Kenosha.

Former Buck Sells Mequon Mansion

Former Milwaukee Bucks guard Tony Snell has sold his 17,100-square-foot house in suburban Mequon. Snell sold the house for $2.43 million according to state records. Snell, who was traded to the Detroit Pistons after the season, purchased the house from developer Scott Lurie in June for $2.26 million.

Convention Center Expansion Inching Forward

The Wisconsin Center District will consider a proposal next week to hire a consultant to oversee preconstruction planning of its proposed $300 million expansion. The expansion, which received support in the form of a pledge included in the 2019-2021 state budget, could be underway as early as late 2020. Bill Glauber has more details.

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