Milwaukee’s 10 Most Valuable Properties
Some may surprise you. All will make you feel better about your own your property tax bill.
What’s the most valuable building in Milwaukee? According to Assessor’s Office, it’s an office building at the east end of Wisconsin Avenue.But not all of the city’s most valuable buildings are office towers. The list includes a mix of office buildings, apartment complexes and a hotel.
Values are based on 2020 assessment figures that reflect the value of the property on January 1st, 2020. In the case of a handful of properties, they also reflect the value after appeals. 2021 values are scheduled to be released in April.
Buildings listed include only taxable properties with a single owner. Excluded from the list are condominium projects with many owners. At least four such developments are assessed for more than the 10th ranked building on this list. We’ll cover those buildings, and their values relative to entire aldermanic districts, later this week.
2036 N. Prospect Ave. – $64.8 million
Following a Great Recession bankruptcy, the 280-unit, two-tower complex was converted from condominiums to apartments by the Mandel Group. The apartment portion is assessed at $61 million while the parking garage is assessed for $3.8 million. Construction began in 2007 according to city records. See inside.
2020 property tax bill: $1.7 million
201-229 W. Cherry St. – $66.7 million
Another 2007 building, the ManpowerGroup headquarters overlooking the Milwaukee River is the shortest building on this list. The four-story, 280-square-foot building sits on the edge of Schlitz Park development. The property sold in 2017 for $66.5 million, with a reported 900 employees working in the building at the time.
2020 property tax bill: $1.9 million
100 E. Wisconsin Ave. – $73.7 million
The 35-story 100 East building will be an interesting property to watch in the coming years. The building lost its highest-profile tenant in 2020, as law firm Michael Best & Friedrich relocated to BMO Tower, but that move came after the assessment was issued. In 2016 it sold for $78 million. Originally constructed in 1989.
2020 property tax bill: $2.1 million
7. BMO Tower
790 N. Water St. – $80 million
The newest building on this list, the 25-story BMO Tower opened shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in Milwaukee. BMO Harris Bank tapped Irgens Partners to develop new office space for the building, with the bank selling Irgens its former home in the former M&I Bank Building and leasing space in the new building. Michael Best & Friedrich leases space at the top of the building, while BMO fills much of the middle of the building and operates a flagship bank branch on the first floor. Learn more.
2020 property tax bill: $2.2 million
777 N. Van Buren St. – $87.4 million
The highest-ranking apartment building on the list, 7Seventy7, is also one of the city’s newest. The apartments alone are assessed at $74.9 million, but the parking garage and retail space boosts the assessed value to $87.4 million. Developed by Northwestern Mutual as an investment property, the parking garage also provides parking for the insurance company’s office headquarters. Completed in 2018, the 35-story tower has 310 apartments and over 1,000 parking stalls. See inside.
2020 property tax bill: $2.3 million
5. 833 East
833 E. Michigan St. – $90.5 million
833 E. Michigan St. Photo by Mariiana Tzotcheva.This is Irgens Partners’ second entry on the list. The 18-story office tower was built atop a one-story garage that serviced the US Bank Center (number two on the list). The building opened in 2016, with anchor tenant Godfrey & Kahn occupying the top floors. The law firm’s relocation set off a sequence of moves that led to Irgens landing the deal to build BMO Tower. See inside.
2020 property tax bill – $2.5 million
1611 W. Canal St. – $97.2 million
Commercial assessments in Wisconsin rely on rental income and comparable properties, and what’s a comparable property to a casino? Assessment Commissioner Steve Miner doesn’t have to answer that question. The assessment and tax bill only includes the 500-room hotel; the gaming complex is separate. Since opening the second hotel tower in 2019, Forest County Potawatomi saw the hotel’s assessed value jump from $59.5 million to $97.2 million, including $16 million in the last year alone. See inside.
The casino’s gaming complex is tax exempt under state law. Forest County Potawatomi makes a payment in lieu of taxes to the city under its gaming compact. The 2021 Milwaukee budget estimates the payment at $5.75 million.
2020 property tax bill: $2.5 million
411 E. Wisconsin Ave. – $120.3 million
Likely the most overlooked building on this list. The 30-story 411 East Wisconsin Center has 693,126 square feet of space according to city records, but lacks a flashy anchor tenant. A rooftop sign for law firm Quarles & Brady was added in recent years.
Its value has surged in recent years, following a $74.3 million acquisition by Riverview Realty Partners in 2014 and subsequent $17.3 million modernization. Illinois-based Middleton Partners acquired the building in 2017 for $124.6 million. The occupancy rate at the time of the last sale was reported at 89 percent. The assessment includes the parking garage located across E. Michigan St.
2020 property tax bill: $3.3 million
777 E. Wisconsin Ave. – $173.3 million
Wisconsin’s tallest building was number one on this list for decades before being supplanted by its new neighbor. But the US Bank Center is still worth millions, even if it’s now below its 2006 assessment of $174.7 million. Built in 1971, city records say it contains 1.3 million square feet of space. US Bank continues to own the building, but law firm Foley & Lardner occupies the top floors.
2020 property tax bill: $4.8 million
800 E. Wisconsin Ave. – $301 million
At 32 stories and 1.1-million square feet, it’s both the biggest single-tenant building and most valuable building on this list. And that excludes Northwestern Mutual’s historic headquarters next door, a 322,007-square-foot pile assessed for $24.3 million or its $52.5 million, 542,005-square-foot North Building built across E. Mason St. in 1989. You could even tack another $10 million onto its value if you considered that the parking garage in 7Seventy7 was built to support the parking-free new tower.
The 2017 tower’s location at the east end of Wisconsin Avenue ensures it’s visible from virtually any spot Downtown. But much of the massive property tax bill currently goes to pay off the debt associated with a tax incremental financing district used to create the project. The district includes $18 million the city harvested for nearby public improvements including repaving streets. The TIF district is scheduled to be paid off in 2028. See inside.
2020 property tax bill: $8.4 million
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