Riverwest Hostel Becoming Cooperative Housing Facility
Plus: Wisconsin Center District sells debt for expansion.
The COVID-19 pandemic decimated travel across the globe, and Milwaukee’s first hostel was not immune to the effects. Cream City Hostel closed its doors earlier this year amidst the travel slowdown.
But the building at 500 E. Center St. didn’t go dark. Bader Philanthropies is backing a new cooperative housing model built from the hostel’s infrastructure. The organization is providing a low-interest $450,000 loan to support the building’s conversion and retire existing debt. Milwaukee Area Cohousing is providing support on the conversion.
What was the city’s first hostel is now the city’s first cooperative housing complex.
“We’re glad to partner with Bader Philanthropies because they’re a community partner that’s mission-aligned,” said developer Juli Kaufmann in a statement announcing the change. The developer leads the RiverBee investment group that redeveloped the building in 2018 and owns most of the fixtures, including the beds. “We wanted to pivot thoughtfully, in the same vein as the hostel was designed for the neighborhood – to be the highest and best use for the community. This model will fill a need for low-income residents.”
The investment group (see disclosure below) hopes to provide at least 12 units of affordable housing starting in early 2021.
“Affordable housing is one of the biggest issues we face as a society, and Milwaukee isn’t immune,” said project investor Jerad Tonn. “Cooperative housing is another way for people to have a more affordable style of living and easier access to home ownership, while being part of a smaller community within the great communities of Riverwest, Harambee and Milwaukee. I think that’s really appealing for some people, and I think Riverwest is the perfect place for it.”
The 7,980-square-foot building was built in 1927 as Holton State Bank according to city records. MPS acquired the facility in the 1990s, but the property sat vacant from 2005 until its sale in 2018.
The hostel, Milwaukee’s first, opened in June 2019 following an approximately $1 million redevelopment. It served thousands of travelers from over 38 countries in its sole year of operation before the pandemic took hold. The hostel business, as of mid-2020, is not expected to recover as quickly as the general travel business.
Disclosure: Jeramey Jannene is one of approximately 40 minority investors in RiverBee LLC.
June 2019 Photos
Wisconsin Center District Sells Debt For Expansion
Milwaukee’s convention center expansion is a go. Wisconsin Center District CEO Marty Brooks tweeted an image from Morgan Stanley of a Times Square ticker announcing the successful sale of debt associated with the project. The organization, backed by sales and hotel taxes, authorized the $420 million expansion in April, but delayed the associated debt’s issuance until financial markets recovered.
It faced a December 31st deadline to sell the bonds or it would have faced a higher interest rate as it would need to include its pandemic-decimated 2020 revenue in its prospectus. Without any action the district, as of April, expected to default on existing debt by the end of December 2020. The bond sales include refinancing $150 million in debt.
The expansion plans call for adding 112,000 square feet of space to the exhibition hall, creating a 300,000-square-foot hall. A ballroom would be included in the expansion with a minimum of 30,000 square feet of space and a seating capacity of at least 2,000. A total of 24 meeting rooms would be added to the building. With these changes the building could host two major conventions at the same time.
Downtown Building Stripped To Its Core
A four-story, downtown building has been gutted in anticipation of redevelopment into an 11-room hotel.
City documents refer to the work going on at 790 N. Jackson St. as the Adams Hotel. Contractor ADK has gutted much of the building, to the point that you can see straight through it at various angles. New window bays are being inserted on the eastern facade.
A plan set on file with the city shows two restaurant spaces on the first floor of the building. The second floor would contain 11 guest rooms and a fitness facility. The third and fourth floors would be left largely empty according to a plan set submitted in September. A new structure would be constructed to provide rooftop access, labeled as a “future phase.”
Dohmen Foundation Moving to King Drive
“This is the perfect location for us for many reasons,” said Kathy Koshgarian, foundation president and chief operating officer, in a statement announcing the move.
The foundation will acquire the two-story, 34,000-square-foot commercial building, long home to Fein Brothers restaurant supply store, at 2007 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. The supply company recently moved a couple buildings north to 2023 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.
Walnut Way Cuts Ribbon on Wellness Commons
“This is awesome. This is great. And this is going to further catalyze our work,” said Antonio Butts, executive director of the Walnut Way Conservation Corp., after cutting the ribbon on the second phase of the organization’s Innovations and Wellness Commons.
But Butts said what they’ve done is more than construct another building.
The second phase, which includes a 2,000-square-foot, second-story deck, will be completed in early January. Tenants include the Milwaukee Area Health Education Center (Milwaukee AHEC), United Neighborhood Centers of Milwaukee (UNCOM), Benedict Center‘s Sisters Program, Milwaukee School of Engineering‘s Scholars Program, nutritionist Bridgett Wilder and licensed counselor Marrika Rodgers.
Couture Plans August 2023 Completion
Milwaukee’s tallest and most expensive apartment building ever, the 44-story The Couture is scheduled for a groundbreaking by February 1st and completion of construction by August 2023.
Lutzka presented a revised city funding agreement to the Common Council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee on Tuesday morning. Without asking any questions, the committee unanimously endorsed the proposal. The full council is scheduled to consider the proposal on December 15th.
Forest Home Library Not Historic, Alders Vote
A Common Council committee delivered a blow to those hoping for historic preservation of the Forest Home Library in a vote taken on Tuesday morning.
Advocates say the library is among the city’s best examples of the Mid-Century Modern style, well preserved and suited for reuse, while opponents say the building is energy inefficient and has outlived its useful life and that efforts to give it historic designation should have come earlier.
The Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee sided with the opponents, voting unanimously to recommend denial of historic designation for the former library, reversing a unanimous recommendation from the Historic Preservation Commission.
New Land Plans Eight-Story Building
Johnny Vassallo‘s plans to develop an apartment high-rise at the former Buca di Beppo site might be over just after they started. New Land Enterprises has submitted a zoning change request to the city for the property at 1237 N. Van Buren St.
New Land, according to a two-page application, would build an eight-story mixed-use structure with up to 220 apartments, 300 parking stalls and 2,500 square feet of commercial space.
An investment group led by Vassallo, known for his Mo’s restaurants and bars, paid $2.1 million for the 1.3-acre property in October. It was listed for sale in 2018 by an affiliate of Elite Sports Clubs.
Rite-Hite Expands Planned Headquarters
The company announced earlier this year it would relocate to Walker’s Point from Brown Deer. It planned to occupy two office buildings totaling 240,586 square feet on a 9.4-acre campus starting in 2022.
Now it’s seeking a zoning change to expand the buildings by more than 10 percent. Its headquarters building along the waterfront would grow to 158,308 square feet. Its research and development building, to be located across W. Freshwater Way, would grow by just over 5,000 square feet to 108,552 square feet.
Clock Is Ticking for Eviction Moratorium
The federal eviction moratorium enacted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in September is set to expire in less than a month, and advocates and renters are worried and pleading for help.
Recently, Opportunity Wisconsin, a progressive advocacy organization, partnered with Black Leaders Organizing for Communities (BLOC) on a virtual roundtable that discussed the threat of evictions during the pandemic and the need for a government response to the housing crisis.
Residents Outraged by Foxconn Fiasco
The international publication The Guardian came back to Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin and found that many of its former residents, the hundreds who were relocated from their homes, are not happy. The story offers yet more evidence of what a disaster the Foxconn deal has become for Wisconsin.
In 2017, Mount Pleasant officials cleared the way for Foxconn’s promised $10 billion mega factory employing 13,000 workers on a 10-million-square-foot campus by “forcing hundreds of residents from their homes and turning the property over to Foxconn.” But that plan soon fell apart and more than three years later Foxconn has yet to manufacture anything.
“While Mount Pleasant residents are frustrated, they have largely directed their anger at local leaders” rather than the company, the story reported. “Those who spoke with the Guardian say the village waged a dirty war against its constituents in which it issued dubious eminent domain orders – a process by which the government takes private land for public use – and used other tactics designed to drive them out of their homes.
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- Skywalk Between Hyatt Regency and Wisconsin Center Demolished - Annie Mattea - Nov 18th, 2021
- Eyes on Milwaukee: WCD Celebrates Start of Convention Center Expansion - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 28th, 2021
- Plats and Parcels: Construction Ramping Up on Wisconsin Center Expansion - Jeramey Jannene - Aug 15th, 2021
- Plats and Parcels: See Inside Convention Center Expansion - Jeramey Jannene - May 23rd, 2021
Read more about Wisconsin Center expansion here