Jeramey Jannene
Plats and Parcels

Harbor District Building Slated for Redevelopment

Plus: Changes at Eastcastle Place and a recap of the week's real estate news.

By - Apr 18th, 2021 10:08 pm
212 E. Mineral St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

212 E. Mineral St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Real estate investor and construction executive Mark Lathers purchased a three-story warehouse in Milwaukee’s Harbor District last week with plans to redevelop the property.

Lathers originally put the 21,000-square-foot building under contract for purchase in March 2019, but issues with the prior owner, Austin Mansur of Chicago-based AM Finance (see below), and the pandemic delayed the sale.

“What we thought we were going to do two years ago is different now, but we believe in the building and we believe in that Harbor District,” said Lathers in an interview with Sean Ryan, who first reported the news. “It’s almost a blank slate right now.”

Lathers, who purchased the building with his wife, originally planned to lease space to a micro-brewery on the first floor and reinstall windows for office space above.

It is located at 212 E. Mineral St. on the edge of a dead end that abuts the Canadian Pacific railroad tracks. Across the street to the south is a legacy tenant of the area, Mill Valley Recycling. But north of the property are two businesses that reflect the area’s potential: Wantable‘s new headquarters and cafe and The Ivy House, a bar and event venue.

If Lathers opts for a residential use, it wouldn’t be the first time someone has lived in the building. It once contained six residential units according to a listing from broker Kristian Sydow.

Lathers day job is as vice president at Kelly Construction & Design, but he’s also redeveloped another building in Walker’s Point. He led the redevelopment of a one-story warehouse at 530 S. 5th St. into a home for The Kubala Washatko Architects UrbanLab office, Fuel Cafe and other tenants. His work through Kelly Construction has taken him into a number of Walker’s Point and Historic Third Ward properties in recent years.

He’ll need his construction expertise to transform the building. It’s been hit with a number of Department of Neighborhood Services violations in recent years, including electrical issues, orders to secure open doors and windows, and illegal outdoor storage.

The prior owners have had plenty of legal issues.

Mansur’s AM Finance went through a 10-month legal battle to evict prior owner Robert F. Smith according to circuit court records. Smith ultimately was ordered to vacate the property by March 2019.

But at the same time, Mansur had his own legal troubles. In March 2019, he was sentenced to four months in prison and a $155,211.31 fine after pleading guilty to an insider trading scheme involving Life Time Fitness. The U.S. Department of Justice indicted Mansur and eight others involved in the scheme in 2017.

The physical property has changed as the legal battles played out.

A one-story garage to the east of the building, included with the property, was demolished following a 2018 city raze order. The space now is occupied by a 15-stall parking lot.

Lathers, through HD Denmark LLC, paid $600,000 for the Mineral Street property. A brochure from Cushman & Wakefield | Boerke showed the property listed for $749,000.

Design Fugitives, a Milwaukee design firm, previously announced plans to purchase the building in 2017, but ultimately backed out of the proposal.

The building was built in 1915 according to assessment records.

Upper East Side’s Eastcastle Place Displacing Residents

Residents of 22 units at Eastcastle Place, some of which have lived in the senior living facility for decades, must leave by October 1st.

The non-profit operator is switching from a mixed model of rental and entrance fee units, to solely relying on entrance fees. The facility, at 2505 E. Bradford Ave., offers independent living, assisted living, rehabilitation, memory care and skilled nursing units.

Under the entrance fee model, residents pay an up-front fee of $300,000 to $600,000 (90% of which is refunded) plus a monthly service fee of $3,000 to $5,000. Rental units previously went for $1,800 to $3,000 per month with no included medical services.

Executive director Tyler Gudex told Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Alison Dirr that the change is part of a plan that includes redeveloping the units and reorganizing the physical locations of the various unit types. A total of 30 new units will be created, bringing the complex total to 112. Dirr has more details in her report.

Weekly Recap


Quality of Life Plan Will Guide Harambee Neighborhood

An effort is underway to create a qualify of life plan that will identify a shared vision for the future of Milwaukee’s Harambee neighborhood.

The effort will focus on the area bounded by W. Capitol Dr., W. North Ave., N. Holton St. and Interstate 43. The neighborhood has seen an increasing amount of investment in recent years as downtown development spreads north, three foundations moved to the area and Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity started an initiative to build 80 new houses.

The goal of the planning process is to create a resident-driven plan that addresses business growth, public safety, education, long-term resident wealth creation, affordable housing and public health.

Read the full article

New Development Takes Shape on Mount Mary Campus

A new intergenerational housing complex is rising on Mount Mary University‘s campus.

Known as Trinity Woods, the complex will provide housing for the sisters of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, including assisted living units, as well as housing for single mothers attending the university and their children. An early childhood education center is also planned for the complex, available to residents, staff and the community.

The $45 million development is expected to be completed this fall. Its name is a reference to the adjacent, 10-acre woods, the Catholic faith’s holy trinity, and the project’s three partners – Mount Mary, the School Sisters of Notre Dame and Milwaukee Catholic Home.

Read the full article

Public Museum Seeking Environmental Cleanup Funds

The Milwaukee Public Museum, in partnership with the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee, is seeking a $150,000 state grant to support the environmental cleanup and demolition of structures on the site of its proposed future home.

The $240 million project would yield a new 230,000-square-foot-facility for the natural history museum and Betty Brinn Children’s Museum at the northeast corner of N. 6th St. and W. McKinley Ave.

The site assessment grant, if awarded by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, would be used for the demolition of a 31,956-square-foot, one-story building at the northwest corner of the L-shaped development site.

Read the full article

Milwaukee Tool Deal Gets First Approval

The complicated public financing proposal to bring Milwaukee Tool downtown received its first approval Thursday afternoon.

The core component of the deal calls for the fast-growing tool designer and manufacturer to bring 1,210 employees to the building at 501 W. Michigan St. by 2026 in exchange for a $12.1 million grant.

But the proposal didn’t draw universal approval.

Read the full article

Bauman Proposes Moratorium On City Demolitions

A sizable amount of the $405 million the City of Milwaukee is receiving from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act is likely to end up in housing-related programs. But which of the city’s myriad programs will get a funding boost remains to be seen.

“Is this a question of adding a million dollars to this and two million to that? Or are we looking at going in a substantially different direction?” asked Alderman Robert Bauman to other city officials at Monday’s meeting of the Joint Committee on the Redevelopment of Abandoned and Foreclosed Homes.

While Department of City Development and Department of Neighborhood Services officials reported success for all programs in 2020, constraints arose from contractor capacity and a slowing stream of available homes acquired via property tax foreclosure. Program managers said it would be difficult to easily scale their programs by simply expanding funding.

Bauman has an idea for a new initiative – fix up every home the city owns.

Read the full article

Historic Home Will Be Moved Three Blocks

The sisters of Pi Beta Phi are getting a new sorority house near Marquette University.

But the location they’ve selected to build a new structure on already has a house on it. At least for now.

Instead of demolishing the house, property developer Cedar Square is relying on a tactic that was much more common a century ago. The two-story, 1664-square-foot house at 853 N. 16th St. will be rolled three blocks west onto a new foundation at 950 N. 19th St.

Read the full article

Illinois Firm Buying Up East Side Buildings

Fairchild Acquisition is quickly putting down roots in the Milwaukee housing market.

The Deerfield, IL-based firm purchased three apartment buildings between E. North Ave. and E. Locust St. last year and added another two last month. It hopes to add several more by the end of the year.

Fairchild president Samuel Grossman sees it as a return home.

Read the full article

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