Lurie Buying Mostly Empty Downtown Building
Developer tackling last large empty downtown office building, on 5th and Michigan. Could add hotel.
The developer, head of F Street Group, announced the news at Westown Association’s annual meeting on Tuesday evening. He could convert part of the building into a hotel.
The five-story building, which includes an attached parking garage with more than 800 stalls, is the last mostly vacant, large office complex in Westown. It includes approximately 370,000 square feet of space according to city records. The building is currently assessed for $17.1 million.
An early 2019 listing for the property indicates that over 180,000 square feet of space could be added to the complex. The listing also says the property has been well maintained.
Lurie’s purchase reflects a surge of investment in Westown, including the transformation of the Grand Avenue Mall into The Avenue, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra‘s redevelopment of the Grand Warner Theatre, the redevelopment of 310W (formerly The Blue building), Hub640 redevelopment of the former Boston Store building, the expansion of the convention center and a number of nearby apartment projects.
Last year Lurie completed the redevelopment of a former Pabst warehouse in the northwest corner of Downtown into The 42 mixed-use complex. The 170,000-square-foot building is now home to Milwaukee Brewing Company, Glass + Griddle restaurant and a host of office users. The office space is now full with the October announcement that Badger Mutual Insurance will relocate to the building.
Assurant shuttered its health insurance business in 2016, resulting in approximately 1,200 job losses in downtown Milwaukee and the emptying almost all of the building Lurie will now acquire. The company’s parent has approximately 30 employees in the complex.
The state, in 2018, considered Lurie’s building as one of two sites for a replacement for the 55-year-old state office building at 819 N. 6th St. That project was put on hold as a result of the 2019-2021 state budget debate, but the administration of Governor Tony Evers is now advancing plans that appears to have the state pick a vacant site at N. 27th St. and W. Wisconsin Ave. instead of the Assurant building. Lurie could still bid on the project.
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