Jeramey Jannene
Plats and Parcels

Sentinel Building May Become Apartments

Plus: A rundown of the week's real estate news.

By - Feb 21st, 2021 05:36 pm
The Sentinel Building. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The Sentinel Building. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Another aging office building could find a new use. This time under a plan from a new investment group.

The Sentinel Building, 225 E. Mason St., is a 10-story office building constructed in 1892.

It was acquired for $2.1 million by an investment group, Mason St Ventures LLC, led by Adam Gollatz.

The building draws its name from its original tenant, the former Milwaukee Sentinel newspaper. The paper decamped for Westown many decades ago and later merged with the Milwaukee Journal.

Mason St Ventures acquired the property from Sentinel Suites LLC, an Illinois-based investment group led by Doug Young. The Illinois firm paid Milwaukee investor Max Dermond $1.53 million in 2018 for the property. It was billed as 50% vacant at the time.

Now it’s 70% vacant.

A new plan, first reported by Alex Zank, would turn the building into apartments.

“It’s a really cool building, a lot of history behind it, and it’s in a prime location right downtown,” Gollatz told Zank. “You don’t see many buildings like that come up for sale at a semi-affordable price point.” The property is assessed for $1.58 million.

The conversion could result in 30 apartments in the 30,848-square-foot building. Gollatz said his group is now talking with architects and contractors.

The building is located on what once was known as Newspaper Row. Across the street two attached buildings, 216-222 E. Mason St., are steeped in Milwaukee publishing history. But despite a move by their owners to designate them as historic in 2018, the only progress in their restoration has been to see them painted a very dark gray color.

There is still news generated on Newspaper Row, but no paper is required. Urban Milwaukee is headquartered at N. Milwaukee St. and E. Mason St. in the Colby Abbot Building and is located at N. Water St. and E. Mason St.

The online-only publishers reflect one trend, the conversion of underused office space reflects another.

A number of other aging downtown office buildings have been converted to new uses in recent years. The Plankinton Arcade is being slowly converted to apartments. The Button Block Building became a hotel. The building at 790 N. Jackson St. is becoming the Adams Hotel. Another building at 602-606 N. Broadway is slated to follow the same path. The Journal Communications complex, the Sentinel’s home after leaving its namesake building, is becoming apartments and possibly other uses.

Weekly Recap

Non-Profit Buys Building in Park West

Wisconsin Community Services (WCS), a non-profit that has been operating in the state for more than 100 years, is setting down roots in the Metcalfe Park neighborhood.

The non-profit recently purchased a building it had been leasing at 2342 N. 27th St. from Employ Milwaukee, the largest publicly funded workforce development board in the state. The building is on the border of the Metcalfe Park neighborhood in Park West.

The building purchased by WCS is approximately 57,000 square feet and WCS has about 90 employees that work out of the location.

Read the full article

WallyPark’s Closing Is County’s Gain

The pandemic-induced downturn in air travel has resulted in at least one closure in Milwaukee.

WallyPark, an airport parking provider, closed its Milwaukee location at 4747 S. Howell Ave. on February 8th. All vehicles have been retrieved.

The change is expected to boost revenue for airport-controlled parking facilities at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport.

It also creates a potential airport redevelopment site.

Read the full article

New Bay View Project Takes Its Place

A new apartment building on Bay View‘s main street has taken its final shape in recent weeks.

BV+ (pronounced “Bay View Addition”), an 18-unit, two-story apartment building from developer Scott Genke, is being constructed on a formerly vacant lot at 2557-2565 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.

For much of 2020 it appeared awkwardly set back from the south side main street, but the wood-framed eastern portion of the building was recently constructed bringing it in line with its neighbors.

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More Apartments for Downer Avenue

The new owners of most of the Downer Avenue commercial corridor submitted plans to the city to convert a portion of one of the buildings to apartments.

An affiliate of Seattle-based Bridge33 Capital acquired the properties at 2551-2597 N. Downer Ave. and 2608-2650 N. Downer Ave. last spring for $11.25 million. Those addresses include buildings occupied by the Downer Theatre, Boswell Book CompanyCafe Hollander, Starbucks, Stone Creek Coffee and Pizza Man.

As part of its new plan, Bridge33 would redevelop the second story of the two-story building between the Downer Theatre and Boswell Books into 13 apartments.

Read the full article

Urban Farm for Century City

The Century City 1 light industrial building could become an urban firm according to a building permit filed with the city.

Planet to Plate, which last year proposed an urban agriculture facility for N. 27th St. and W. Wells St., is listed as the applicant.

An affiliate of Good City Brewing acquired the 53,160-square-foot Century City building in 2018 from a partnership of General Capital Group and the City of Milwaukee. It was built in 2016 at the corner of N. 31st St. and W. Capitol Dr.

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Three Port Buildings Being Demolished

Change is coming to Milwaukee’s port.

Three vacant buildings on the inner harbor will be demolished this spring to clear the way for DeLong Company‘s $31.4 million agricultural export facility.

“This is one of the highlights of my career,” said Port Milwaukee executive director Adam Tindall-Schlicht in August. “DeLong’s investment at the port is the biggest at least since the 1950s.”

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22 More Apartments for Plankinton Arcade

A largely-hidden downtown apartment complex will grow in size under a new plan from its owner.

Sunset Investors developed the Plankinton Lofts apartments complex in phases on the third and fifth floors of the Plankinton Arcade building, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., whose lower floors have long been part of the downtown Grand Avenue mall.

Starting in 2009, Sunset began converting former office space in the seven-story Plankinton building into apartments. Additions were made in 2012 and 2014 bringing the total to 46 units according to documents submitted to the city.

Now the company will add 22 more units — 19 one-bedroom and three two-bedroom units — according to plans filed with the city. Another 50 could be on the way in a future phase that would convert the fourth floor.

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