Jeramey Jannene
Friday Photos

Five Fifty Ultra Lofts in Deer District

Apartment building provides activation to Deer District that is unusually quiet.

By - May 8th, 2020 06:31 pm
Five Fifty Ultra Lofts. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Five Fifty Ultra Lofts. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Deer District should be busy at this point in the year. The Milwaukee Bucks should be heading deep into the playoffs, bringing capacity crowds to Fiserv Forum. Milwaukeeans should be embracing the warm weather and packing the beer garden, plaza and bar around the arena.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put all that on hold.

But owing to the mixed-use nature of the area, the place isn’t a complete ghost town. Five Fifty Ultra Lofts, an 112-unit apartment building, opened at the west end of the district in late 2019. It’s one of the first pieces that wasn’t publicly subsidized and isn’t reliant on the arena for business.

Developed by Royal Capital Group, the project was originally announced in February 2017 and had a projected completion date in 2018. But ground wasn’t broken until May 2018, with an occupancy permit ultimately issued in October 2019.

The six-story building is unique for Milwaukee, it’s one-sided. The lobby carries an address of 550 W. Juneau Ave., but much of the building faces N. 6th St. Behind it stands the team’s 5th Street Parking Garage (naming rights still available) to which it is directly attached. The 112 units in the building are all oriented away from the parking garage, but residents have access to the garage and with that a skywalk directly to the arena itself.

The building website promotes it as “luxury apartments with high end finishes in a location that can’t be beat,” and if you’re into basketball, that’s likely true. The building contains a mix of studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and two-story, two-bedroom apartments. The website says leasing starts at $1,395 per month. Fully furnished apartments are also available. The property is managed by Founders 3.

Amenities in the building include an outdoor terrace overlooking the arena, an on-site fitness club, club room and community area. The leasing website also promotes an “on-site restaurant.”

Design on the building was led by Engberg Anderson Architects. Construction was led by CD Smith.

Two large purple bays are included on the building’s upper floors, and a purple-and-green fire hydrant, mirroring the team’s 1990s color scheme, is located outside the front door. The latter is part of a program to paint Bucks-themed fire hydrants in the area.

Two commercial stalls are located on the first floor, both of which are currently vacant. There are also first floor apartments, elevated high enough that you would have to be as tall as Giannis Antetounkmpo to see into them.

Across N. 6th St. is the Froedtert and Medical College of Wisconsin Sports Science Center, used primarily as the team’s practice facility, and the McKinley Health Center.

Beyond adding diversity to the building uses in the area, the building adds another important diversity dynamic: ownership. Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs raised a sobering point during her remarks at the project’s groundbreaking. The Five Fifty building is only the second downtown building owned by an African-American developer. The other is the Germania Building redeveloped by Kalan Haywood‘s firm Haywood Group and Cardinal Capital Management.

The Bucks, who were given the Park East corridor land for $1 as part of the broader arena deal, sold the site to Park 7 Lofts LLC for $830,000 in March 2018. A team representative previously said the team has an equity investment in the deal.



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One thought on “Friday Photos: Five Fifty Ultra Lofts in Deer District”

  1. Jim Gramling says:

    This building has a couple of challenges with one side facing busy 6th Street and another the wall of a parking garage. Curious as to how many of the 112 units are leased out as of now.

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