Jeramey Jannene
Plats and Parcels

Downtown Building Getting Overhauled

Plus: More apartments for former Grand Avenue Mall.

By - Dec 29th, 2019 03:45 pm
732 N. Jackson St. Photo by Mariiana Tzotcheva.

732 N. Jackson St. Photo by Mariiana Tzotcheva.

A 1978 office building will get a series of updates designed to make it more competitive with newer downtown buildings.

Van Buren Management is updating the four-story, 52,000-square-foot building at 732 N. Jackson St. Developer Joel Lee, the head of Van Buren Management, told reporter Sean Ryan earlier this week that the plan includes installing a new facade on much of the building that would add larger, more energy-efficient windows.

The upper three floors will be cleared, putting a block of 39,000 square feet on the market. That space will be marketed by Jim Cavanaugh and Andrew Jensen of Cushman & Wakefield |Cushman & Wakefield | Boerke.

Signage will be offered on the top of the building. “It’s going to be a unique opportunity for a tenant looking for the top-of-building, marquee signage to really brand themselves,” Cavanaugh told Ryan.

The first floor will still be home to Downtown Chiropractic Health and a health care clinic operated by Ascension.

Korb + Associates Architects is working on the design, having done similar projects for Van Buren in the past.

City records indicate firms connected to Lee have owned the property since at least 1988. The property has an assessed value of $3.69 million.



More Apartments for Former Grand Ave

Plankinton Arcade Building in 2017. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Plankinton Arcade Building in 2017. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Twelve more apartments will be added to the former Shops of Grand Avenue mall under a plan from developer Kendall BreunigBreunig owns the third, fourth and fifth floors of the historic Plankinton Building at 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., after purchasing the remaining space on the fifth floor. The building is carved up into condominiums, from which the lower two levels are included in the former mall. Breunig’s space contains 42 apartments, office space and the Downtown YMCA.

“It’s adding to what we have,” Breunig told the Milwaukee Business Journal this week after he purchased a 12,408-square-foot unit from UW-Milwaukee. “That space has not been used for many years, but at this point that’s the last part of the building that hasn’t been renovated since the mall was created.” UW-Milwaukee continues to occupy the top two floors for its School of Continuing Education.

The unit was sold for $200,000 to Breunig’s Sunset Investors firm.

The second floor of the building was converted to the Plankinton Clover Apartments by the mall’s redevelopment partners over the past two years. The first floor contains a TJ Maxx store and empty space being marketed for a grocery store.

American Family Completes Mandel Building Purchase

An affiliate of American Family Insurance completed the purchase of the Mandel Graphics building at 1311-1325 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. this week. The insurance company announced plans earlier this month to redevelop the building in a joint venture with the property’s current owner Van Buren Management and ultimately relocate up to 400 employees to the property.

The joint venture paid $9.6 million for the property and a .24-acre surface parking lot at 1402 N. Vel R. Phillips Ave. That’s a substantial premium over the building’s $2.26 million assessed value. The parking lot is assessed at $134,400.

Redevelopment plans include adding additional floors to the top of the reinforced concrete building. An architect has yet to be hired for the project.

Mandel Graphics, not related to the real estate development firm, occupied the building’s top floor before relocating to Glendale in 2011.

New Office For African-American Issues

A nondescript building along W. Fond du Lac Ave. is being transformed into a clearinghouse for city services.

The city is redeveloping the two-story building at 4830 W. Fond du Lac Ave. into a permanent home for the Office of African American Affairs.

The project is being led by Department of Administration director Sharon Robinson.

“Over the past years, we have been working to get dozens and dozens of commitments for partner organizations that will come into this space and deliver all kinds of quality-of-life services,” Robinson told the Public Works Committee in September.

The project, championed by area Alderman Khalif Rainey, is intended to bring city government to the people.

“One day a week might just be employment services, another might be health care, job training,” said Robinson. The Milwaukee Health Department, Employ Milwaukee and a number of non-profits are committed to the new venture, according to Robinson. Rainey said he was excited to see a boutique Milwaukee Public Library location with a focus on African-American literature open in the space.

JCP Construction is leading the general contracting on the project. The city allocated $800,000 in new borrowing to the effort in the 2019 budget. Read more.

Area Resident Plans Hopkins St. Project

Real estate investor Charles McCoy. is poised to transform a fire-damaged building at 2340 W. Hopkins St.

McCoy plans to invest approximately $250,000 in the acquisition and redevelopment of the two-story, mixed-use building. A commercial kitchen and outdoor patio would be installed in the first floor to serve a future tenant. Two apartments would be created on the second floor.

The investor owns 15 residential properties according to a city report. This would be his first commercial property.

“I actually live in the neighborhood where this project is going to be,” said McCoy in an appearance before the Common Council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee.

The city acquired the property through property tax foreclosure in 2017. The building has been subject to over 25 code violations since 1999.

The proposed deal was approved by the council last week. The building, located in the city’s Amani neighborhood, sits on the western edge of Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs‘ district.

“I’ve been pushing for people to ‘buy the block,’ meaning people from the neighborhood to buy. This is just a great example with Mr. McCoy and his interest in helping revitalize the neighborhood he’s so familiar with,” said Coggs when the proposal was before a council committee. “I look forward to this building coming back to life.” Read more.

If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real, independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us