Jeramey Jannene
Plats and Parcels

River One Apartments Construction Starts in March

Plus: Pharmacy to replace Starbucks on Brady, delayed library gains developer

By - Dec 1st, 2019 03:18 pm
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River One construction. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

River One construction. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Michels Corp. will begin construction in March on a 95-unit, five-story apartment building at its River One development in the Harbor District.

Meanwhile, structural steel is now visible on the eight-story office building the utility and infrastructure contractor will anchor on the opposite end of the $100 million, mixed-use development. Construction began in early 2019 on the footings for the large parking garage that will form the base of the five buildings planned to occupy the approximately six-acre site at S. 1st St. and W. Becher St.

Reporter Tom Daykin was the first to cover the news of the construction start for the apartment building. An announcement of a brand and partner for the planned 110-room hotel on the site is expected within 60 days according to project consultant Blair Williams. A company vice president said they had a partner in September.

Michels, which is headquartered in rural Brownsville just outside of Fond du Lac, will anchor the office building with its new civil infrastructure division. Many of the positions in the 250-employee division will be in engineering or other highly-technical fields. “People that, quite frankly, are easier to recruit in Milwaukee than other places,” said Michels’ Chief Legal Officer David Stegeman in September. Firm vice president Tim Michels said in August that he hopes the firm will eventually employ 800 people at the site.

RINKA is leading the complex’s design, while Gilbane Building Co. is serving as the general contractor.

For more on River One, including riverwalk, financing and commercial space details, see the links to prior coverage at the end of this article.

Wisconsin Center District Seeks Construction Manager

Know how to build a $300 million expansion on a convention center? The Wisconsin Center District is looking for you.

Firms have until December 20th to apply to build the planned expansion. Pre-construction work would start in early 2020 with actual construction in 2021. Work is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2022.

The project calls for expanding the downtown convention center from 265,000 square feet up to 437,000 square feet.

CAA Icon has been selected to manage the project for the district. The firm also served as the owner’s representative for the Milwaukee Bucks on the construction of the district-owned Fiserv Forum.

Rich Kirchen has more on the deal.

Delayed Library Project Gains Developer

A proposal to redevelop the Milwaukee Public Library‘s Martin Luther King Branch, 310 W. Locust St., has gained another partner.

Young Development Group was awarded a contract to build a replacement branch with apartments above in late 2016. The proposal followed a similar methodology the library has taken with other aging branches, but Young has been unable to advance the project for a number of reasons including rising construction costs, difficulties in obtaining financing and uncertainty regarding the nature of a project.

General Capital Group will now partner with Young on a new building at the corner of W. Locust St. and N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. It would contain 44 apartments and a first-floor library. A five-story, 42-unit apartment building would be built on the other end of the block near W. Chambers St. The Garfield Theatre, located between the two proposed buildings, would be redeveloped in a future phase.

The firms hope to obtain $15.1 million in low-income housing tax credits to complete the first phase of the deal. The plan was approved Tuesday night by the library board.

In May the board rejected a plan by Young to partner with the Haywood Group in redeveloping the theater as a home for the library because of the cost involved.

Daykin first reported on the news on Wednesday.

Hayat Pharmacy Buys Brady Street Building

Milwaukee-based Hayat Pharmacy plans to enter the busy pharmacy market at the intersection of E. Brady St., N. Farwell Ave. and N. Oakland Ave.

“Walgreens and CVS are next door but we see an opportunity for the services we offer at Hayat to really shine there,” said company president Tamir Kaloti in an interview with the Milwaukee Business Journal.

The company purchased the three-story building at 1673-1677 N. Farwell Ave. for $825,000. The first floor of the building was most recently home to a Starbucks.

The company, which operates 15 locations including convenience stores, pickup locations and pharmacies, is also planning new locations in Whitefish Bay and West Bend.

Company officials confirmed a comment from Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II earlier this year that the firm is considering developing a headquarters in a vacant industrial complex at 1003 W. North Ave. It currently has employees dispersed throughout its offices.

Badger Alloys Expanding on West Side

Casting manufacturer Badger Alloys has quietly acquired six adjacent properties to its headquarters at 5120 W. State St. in recent years.

“We have invested in the growth and development of a foundry campus to address our customers’ evolving needs into the future,” said CEO Robert Cowen in an interview with Arthur Thomas. Cowen stressed the collaboration and efficiency of locating more employees on the same campus.

The company relocated its pattern shop to a build at 5050 W. State St. in September.

The company has 130 employees and plans to grow.

MillerCoors Deal Includes $2 Million in City Subsidy

More information was released this week about the proposal to reshape and rename MillerCoors.

The company announced in late October it would consolidate its “functional support roles” from several locations across the country to Milwaukee as part of a $180 million revitalization plan.

Molson Coors Beverage Company, as the brewing conglomerate will now be known, will establish an operational headquarters in Chicago and close its Denver office as part of the up to $180 million plan that will result in a companywide loss of up to 500 jobs.

The city, as proposed by Mayor Tom Barrett, will contribute $2 million via a developer-financed tax-incremental financing district to the plan. The district, which requires Common Council approval, would effectively serve as a partial property tax rebate.

“We’re here because we’re really happy because Molson Coors is adding hundreds and hundreds of jobs,” said Barrett during a press conference with Governor Tony Evers and brewery officials. “This was done in real time. They chose Milwaukee. It’s my hope that they pick the city of Milwaukee for every job. I’m optimistic that as this works its way out, this is going to be a big win for our city and our state.”

The state’s contribution has not been disclosed. Brewery officials said they were also drawn to Milwaukee by underutilized office buildings the company owns on the Miller campus.

Downtown Hampton Inn Sold

The 138-room Hampton Inn hotel at 174-184 W. Wisconsin Ave. has changed hands for the second time this year, although this time not as a strategy to avoid foreclosure.

The property was sold to an affiliate of Virginia-based Crossways Capital for $10.66 million according to state records. The property was turned over by New Castle Hotels & Resorts to Peachtree Hotel Group in April to avoid foreclosure on a $17.3 million loan from Peachtree used to acquire the property. “Unanticipated new supply in the market” was a factor in that decision said a New Castle spokesperson in an interview with the BizTimes.

The news come after the Aloft Hotel sold a week prior for $26.5 million.

Damaged O’Reilly Auto Parts Store Reopening

The O’Reilly Auto Parts store at 3405 W. Fond du Lac Ave. that was damaged during the 2016 Sherman Park unrest will reopen early next year.

One of more than 5,400 locations the company operates, the store was substantially damaged by arson during the 2016 incident.

A Jet Beauty Supply store at 3501 W. Burleigh St. reopened by the end of 2016. A gas station at 3114 N. Sherman Blvd. was rebuilt.

The BMO Harris Bank that was burned during the unrest was rebuilt as the Sherman Phoenix market. The market celebrated its first anniversary this week while the bank operates a new branch across the street.

The O’Reilly news was first reported by Rick Rommell.

Inside Hammes’ Move Downtown

Daykin has an interview with Hammes Company managing partner and founder Jon Hammes on why he relocated his firm from Brookfield to downtown Milwaukee.

“You try to position yourself in the best light when you’re in a very competitive market,” said Hammes.

The health care development company developed a classical-style office building, known as The Palladium, at the north end of downtown Milwaukee.

Hammes said many of the company’s 90 Milwaukee-based employees now have shorter commutes as a result of the move.

The Bradley Foundation is the only other tenant announced for the development.

Wheel & Sprocket’s New Bay View Headquarters

Bicycle retailer Wheel & Sprocket is poised to open a new bike shop, headquarters and bicycle-focused office building at the north end of Bay View in early 2020.

The retail business, owned and operated by the Kegel family, is transforming the 100-year-old industrial building at 187 E. Becher St., just west of S. Kinnickinnic Ave., into one of the “most dramatic bicycle-related spaces in the country.”

When it opens the approximately 24,000-square-foot building will be home to a new full-service bike shop, the Joy Ride Cafe and offices for the Wisconsin Bike Fed, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Chris Kegel Foundation and startup Retail Toolkit. Wheel & Sprocket will also relocate its corporate headquarters to the facility from Hales Corners. Learn more.

Council Okays Admiral’s Wharf Project

Tuesday morning the Milwaukee Common Council unanimously approved a zoning change to permit an 11-story, 133-unit apartment building at the north end of Walker’s Point.

Developer Ryan Bedford is planning the project in partnership with VJS Construction Services. The firm owns the site at 234 S. Water St. and is serving as the project’s general contractor and architect.

The project would be the largest insulated concrete form structure in the state, which Bedford says would be a boon for tenant energy efficiency.

“We have some tenants in our buildings that literally never turn the heat on,” said Bedford last week of the Walker’s Landing complex in the city’s Beerline neighborhood and other apartment buildings the firm has built in the suburbs. He said some use air conditioning in the summer, but the heat is captured and reduced by the concrete structure.

The .7-acre Walker’s Point site is currently undeveloped and used for storage. Bedford estimated that when complete the development would generate approximately $600,000 in annual incremental property tax revenue. Read more.

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