Jeramey Jannene
Plats and Parcels

27 Apartments Planned Near Marquette

Plus: MU plans new business school, Rivecca brothers buy out disgraced Ganos, Abele gives $300,000 to new project.

By - Feb 2nd, 2020 01:26 pm
541 N. 20th St. Rendering from City of Milwaukee documents/Herro Company.

541 N. 20th St. Rendering from City of Milwaukee documents/Herro Company.

A new apartment building is planned for a city-owned, vacant lot near Marquette University.

The Herro Company proposes to purchase the 9,955-square-foot lot at 541 N. 20th St. and develop a 27-unit apartment building on the site.

The $1.2 million building would include 27 one-bedroom apartments. The Grafton-based developer has previously developed single-family subdivisions, senior-care facilities and commercial buildings in the Milwaukee area.

The lot, located just south of W. Michigan St., is across the street from a university-owned parking lot at the western edge of the school’s campus.

The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee would sell the lot for $25,000 to facilitate the development. The city-controlled entity has owned the lot since 1998.

The city had listed the lot for sale for $30,000, promoting it as an “opportunity to create housing close to campus, highway and downtown.” Herro is required to post a $5,000 performance bond as part of the sale. Those funds would be returned if the developer opens the building by an agreed upon target date.

Plans submitted to the city show a total of 16 parking stalls, 15 of which would be inside the building. All would be accessible via the rear alley.

The Common Council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee will review the proposal at its Tuesday meeting.

Marquette Building New Business School

New apartments aren’t the only thing planned for the Marquette campus. University president Mike Lovell announced this week plans to develop a new building for the College of Business Administration on the site for a recently-demolished residence hall.

The $70 million building would replace McCormick Hall on the northeast corner of N. 16th St. and W. Wisconsin Ave. The “beer can” shaped dorm has been steadily demolished over the past year.

Marquette has already raised over $44 million for the project to date. The university hopes to start construction on the project in fall 2021.

For more on the proposal, see a press release from the university.

Riv/Crete Owners Complete Purchase from Ganos

Brothers Nicholas and Michael Rivecca, owners of Riv/Crete, have completed the purchase of ready-mix concrete production and distribution assets from Brian Ganos.

The disgraced Ganos has been sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison for a 12-year fraud scheme involving $260 million in government contracts intended for disadvantaged small businesses. Ganos has also been indicted for possessing child pornography with a trial scheduled for March.

Ganos led Sonag Ready Mix, with the brothers forming Riv/Crete in response to Ganos’ legal problems.

“This is an exciting time and a major achievement for our company, employees and family,” said Nicholas Rivecca in a statement. “My brother Michael and I have worked very hard to achieve this goal and put our company into a position for a very exciting future.”

The brothers’ father, Nicholas Rivecca, Sr., was a Sonag executive and reached a plea agreement related to the straw-man scheme. He has yet to be sentenced, but agreed to pay $629,732.

The company has 70 employees and 60 trucks according to a press release. It has operating facilities at 2761 S. Chase Ave., 12005 W. Hampton Ave. and 4350 S. 13th St.

The purchase price was not disclosed.

Abele’s Donation Boosts African-American Chamber

Outgoing Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele has donated $300,000 to the African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin to support its efforts to transform a vacant building at 1920 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. into a co-working space.

“The Chris Abele Legacy Co-Working and Innovation Space will be instrumental as we create the space necessary for African American entrepreneurs to build institutional wealth in the communities they serve, and that is one of many reasons we decided to build out the facility in the Bronzeville neighborhood,” said Chamber Board Chair Deborah Allen in a statement.

“Chris understands the importance of opening spaces where African Americans have traditionally been shut out, and that is why I am proud to name this new space The Chris Abele Legacy Co-Working and Innovation Space,” said chamber President & CEO Ossie Kendrix.

The donation is the largest gift to a $500,000 fundraising campaign. The Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation approved a $780,000 loan to support the project’s construction, which will also include new offices for the chamber and a commercial kitchen for entrepreneurs.

The new space is being constructed by JCP Construction. Galbraith Carnahan Architects is serving as the architect of record.

Good Hope Commons Opens

Construction of a new apartment building and library on the city’s far northwest side appears to finally be headed for completion.

Good Hope Commons, a joint project of Royal Capital Group and Maures Development Group, will include 65 apartments and a 17,500-square-foot library.

The project was first announced in 2014, but was delayed due to difficulties securing financing. Construction delays have slowed progress over the past year.

The housing portion is now open, but work remains on the library.

Milwaukee Public Library officials led a tour of the future library in August with Mayor Tom Barrett and area Alderwoman Chantia Lewis in attendance. At that point, officials said the library would open in November 2019. A library spokesperson now says the project is on track for a March opening following construction delays.

Construction on the $13 million project started in 2018, following a 2017 award of low-income housing tax credits. The formerly vacant 95,988-square-foot lot at 7717 W. Good Hope Rd. was sold by the city to facilitate the deal. The city will own the library space as a condominium. Read more.



Hoping for a 50-Story Lakefront Tower

The city inched forward a marquee development site near Lake Michigan last week, and Colliers International is marketing the site. but don’t expect a tower to emerge anytime soon.

The Common Council unanimously approved a Certified Survey Map that consolidates three parcels into a single development site. The 2.66-acre site was formed by the reconfiguration of the Lake Interchange on Interstate 794, which included moving ramps and streets as the Hoan Bridge was rebuilt.

The site overlooks Lake Michigan and N. Lincoln Memorial Dr. and is located just south of the proposed The Couture apartment tower and 833 East office building. But until now, it’s legally been three different parcels, 420 N. Van Buren St., 727 E. Clybourn St. and 815 E. Clybourn St. Now it will be unified, simplifying future development.

“As a part of all the lakefront changes in recent years, this is just part of the mechanics,” said Department of City Development planner Greg Patin in an interview. “It creates the parcel that can be developed.” The city routinely consolidates parcels to allow buildings to be built over property lines or splits parcels to divide ownership.

Real estate brokerage firm Colliers International is marketing the lakefront site for development, complete with plans by RINKA that show how a 50-story would fit on the site. Read more.

Irgens Fires BMO Tower Contractor

In the wake of mounting problems that have delayed the opening of the 25-story, $137 million BMO Tower,  Irgens Partners announced today it has fired general contractor J.H. Findorff & Son.

“There have been ongoing concerns regarding Findorff’s management of the project and the schedule in particular” said attorney Ted A. Wisnefski in a statement. Wisefski’s firm, Michael Best & Friedrich, is representing Irgens and also will be a tenant in the new building once it’s completed.

During a June topping off ceremony, Mark Irgens said the firm had been working on an accelerated schedule with Findorff following delays in constructing the building’s parking garage, in order to catch up to the original timeline. The developer said his firm was negotiating with Findorff at the time over costs related to the work.

But getting on back on schedule was all for naught when the lateral pipe that connects that building to the city’s water supply ruptured on November 7th, flooding the basement and in the process damaging essential heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment and delaying the building’s December opening by months. “The investigation is still ongoing” on how that happened, said Wisnefski in an interview. Read more.

Apartment Building Planned for King Drive

A new apartment building is planned for a vacant lot at 3317-3349 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. near the Five Points intersection.

The Department of City Development has selected a partnership of the Martin Luther King Economic Development Corp. (MLKEDC) and KG Development to develop the 1.13-acre, city-owned site.

The building would include 57 apartments and first-floor commercial space. The units would be a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments ranging from 650 to 1,150 square feet each. Approximately 7,700 square feet of commercial space would be included, including 2,500 square feet of “micro retail” space divisible in small increments.

A courtyard and 2,400-square-foot banquet room would be constructed atop an attached one-story parking garage at the rear of the building. Renderings depict a basketball court and playground at ground level behind the building. Learn more.

State Office Building Gets Boost

The potential relocation of the State of Wisconsin‘s Milwaukee office building to the near West Side took another step forward Monday.

“We received a letter of intent from the state office to move forward possibly with the sale of the property,” said Near West Side Partners (NWSP) executive director Keith Stanley to the City Plan Commission.

The commission recommended approval of a zoning change that would rezone the entire block at the southwest corner of N. 27th St. and W. Wisconsin Ave. for a conceptual office building. The move, which would establish a General Planned Development zoning package, is a precursor to a future request for approval of a final building design.

The state’s $98.5 million project would involve the construction of a 200,000-square-foot office building with 680 parking stalls. The move, which could include up to 600 state employees, has been delayed since it was first proposed in February 2018. The current building is located at 819 N. 6th St.

Deconstruction Contractor Delaying Work

The idea behind deconstruction sounds simple. Instead of demolishing homes and sending the remains to a landfill, the city could create jobs, save the environment and possibly save money by having contractors with teams of entry-level employees dissemble or “deconstruct” homes with the materials being sold for reuse, offsetting the increased labor costs.

But the city’s experience is proving the concept anything but simple. A deconstruction ordinance was first approved in late 2017, but the city has now entered year two of a suspension of the requirement that private homeowners deconstruct properties, because high-priced contractor bids have made the program too expensive.

On the public side, the city has hired a private contractor, Spencer Renovation & Construction, to deconstruct 50 properties. After months of delays, described as “logjams with paperwork” by one alderman, that work got underway in November. A press conference with council members Robert BaumanMilele A. Coggs and Russell W. Stamper, II was held inside the first home Spencer’s crew was deconstructing. Firm president Billy Spencer said his crew would disassemble a house every eight days, yielding up to $15,000 in materials.

But Monday the Department of Neighborhood Services (DNS) broke the news that Spencer isn’t anywhere close to that pace. His firm has only just started work on its third house.

“What seems to be the problem?” asked Alderman Robert Bauman at a meeting of the Joint Committee on Redevelopment of Abandoned and Foreclosed Homes.

“We can’t seem to get him to keep steadily working,” said DNS operations director Thomas G. Mishefske. He said Spencer has had his team performing privately-contracted work. “He’s not being very responsive to us.” Learn 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, all detailed here.

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