Jeramey Jannene
Plats and Parcels

Industrial Building on East Side Could Become Apartments

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

By - Aug 29th, 2021 03:00 pm
1617-1633 E. North Ave. Photo by Alison Peterson.

1617-1633 E. North Ave. Photo by Alison Peterson.

A two-story industrial facility on Milwaukee’s East Side could soon become an apartment complex under a proposal from developer Kendall Breunig.

The developer filed for a zoning change for the property at 1617-1633 E. North Ave. this week, with the one-page application indicating a $2.2 million investment would create a 17-unit building. The first floor would include 21 parking spaces.

Breunig, who also redeveloped the Pritzlaff Building and upper floors of the Plankinton Arcade building (Plankinton Lofts), would potentially leverage federal and state historic preservation tax credits to pay for a portion of the project costs. Those credits, administered by the National Park Service and state historic preservation officer, would ensure that the building’s art deco facade would be maintained.

A Wisconsin Historical Society report on the 29,076-square-foot building says the structure was built in 1946 for Dairy Distributors, Inc. It describes the style as Art Moderne.

A limited liability company affiliated with Breunig acquired the property for $600,000 in 2017 from Downtown Books owner Robert E. John. It was acquired by John in 1999 for $150,000 from power equipment manufacturer Trombetta, which had spent decades in the facility before relocating.

Breunig’s limited liability company is named for his former self-storage business. But the developer sold the active storage properties last year for $37 million. He has invested at least some of the proceeds in a number of new properties, a common move that reduces capital gains taxes.

In June an affiliate of his firm, Sunset Investors, purchased the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office building at 310 E. Knapp St. for $4.75 million. It also purchased the former St. Francis Brewery in suburban St. Francis for approximately $1.43 million in July.

His firm is also adding more than 70 units to the Plankinton Lofts complex, a series of office condominiums Sunset has acquired and redeveloped atop the Plankinton Arcade building.

The Common Council would need to approve a zoning change for the North Avenue property, located at the western edge of the East Side commercial district.

The property is also located within the boundaries of the East Side Business Improvement District #20, which is used to define the boundaries of the East Side Architectural Review Board. That board would need to approve any exterior design work.


Weekly Recap

New Downtown Hotels Replace Aging Office Buildings

Two new hotels are getting ready to open in downtown Milwaukee, but neither will occupy a new building.

The Kinn Guesthouse will occupy a four-story office building, 602-606 N. Broadway, originally constructed in 1868. When it opens in early 2022 it will have 31 rooms. It will also be a floor taller.

The Adams Hotel, 790 N. Jackson St., is taking shape on the edge of Cathedral Square ParkVan Buren Management is developing the project, with RINKA serving as the project architect. ADK is leading the general contracting.

Read the full article

Westown Lands Another New Tenant

The former Bon-Ton corporate headquarters, 640 N. Vel R. Phillips Ave., landed another new tenant this week.

Now known as HUB640, the eight-story Boston Store Building was acquired by Chicago-based North Wells Capital in 2017 and fully redeveloped following the department store’s 2018 bankruptcy and subsequent liquidation.

Eight Eleven Group, a human capital solutions firm, is the latest firm to take up space in the building. It’s the second Milwaukee office for the Indianapolis-based company.

Read the full article

$80 Million Sports Center Planned For Site Along Interstate 43

A new athletic center is planned for a 22-acre site near the intersection of N. Green Bay Ave. and W. Capitol Dr.

Known as The Opportunity Center, the 300,000-square-foot sports and wellness facility is intended to be accessible to all, regardless of race, gender, age, level of experience, ability or disability.

The project, led by The Ability Center founder Damian Buchman and Bader Philanthropies vice president Franklin Cumberbatch, is intended to open in 2025.

Billed as “America’s only urban sports center serving our community for: greater inclusion, stronger education, and true integration through systems change,” the project is expected to cost $80 million to develop. A conceptual rendering from Kahler Slater shows an indoor track wrapped around a field configured for football, at least six basketball courts, a  pool and large gathering room. Outdoor soccer fields would also be included.

Read the full article

Playbill Lofts Will Rise Above The Avenue

The developers of The Avenue are redeveloping the 14-story Majestic Building, 225-233 W. Wisconsin Ave., into a new apartment complex, Playbill Lofts. Built in 1907 for the Schlitz Brewing Company, the building formerly contained The Majestic theater at the rear of its lower levels and office space above.

But the theater didn’t survive the Great Depression, and the first two levels were absorbed in the Shops of Grand Avenue mall in the 1980s, with the first-floor long occupied by a Walgreen’s convenience store.

Business partners Josh Krsnak and Tony Janowiec led an investment group that acquired the building for $10.55 million in October 2019. They had previously acquired the first two floors as part of their purchase of the mall in 2016.

Read the full article

Wisconsin Home Sales Dropped in July

A 14.2 percent drop in home sales might seem like cause for concern at first glance, but there’s more to the story.

There were about 8,510 sales of existing homes in the state last month, according to the latest report from the Wisconsin Realtors Association. That is down from the 9,915 sales reported in July 2020.

That’s because home sales last year rebounded sharply in the summer, following the lockdowns of the spring, said economist David Clark, of Marquette University, who produces the monthly housing reports in conjunction with the association.

The July dip in sales, he said, wasn’t a surprise, and demand for homes this year remains strong.

Read the full article

100 East Office Tower in Foreclosure

After losing its anchor tenant, a downtown high rise is in foreclosure.

The 35-story 100 East building is now under control of a court-appointed receiver.

Friedman Real Estate Management took over management of the 435,557-square-foot building at the request of lender Wilmington Trust.

Wilmington filed a foreclosure suit in April against building owner Hertz Investment Group. The case is pending before Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Christopher Foley.

Read the full article

Riverwalk Building Will Be Very Green

The developers of a proposed apartment building along the Milwaukee River hope their project will stand out because of its environmental benefits.

The Neutral Project principal Nate Helbach told the City Plan Commission Monday that the firm designs its buildings to its “neutral standard” of carbon-neutral buildings.

The Edison would be designed to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standard and would be built from mass timber, a material that is lighter than steel or concrete. The building is also intended to meet Passive House energy use certification, a voluntary standard for low energy consumption. A third-party analysis would be completed to verify the project’s integrity.

Read the full article

Herzing Returns To Downtown

The developers of The Avenue are landing new office tenants faster than the former Shops of Grand Avenue owners lost retail tenants.

The mall, 275 W. Wisconsin Ave., spent much of the past 15 years losing retailer after retailer, and now a redevelopment project is successfully attracting entirely different types of tenants.

Herzing University announced Monday it will relocate its headquarters to the facility. It marks a move back to the neighborhood for the nonprofit institution.

Read the full article

Plan Commission Okays Third Ward Tower

A national developer believes its proposed Historic Third Ward building could become a landmark on the city’s skyline.

Hines Acquisitions is proposing a 32-story, 300-unit luxury apartment tower at 333 N. Water St. The site, located kitty-corner from the Milwaukee Public Market, is currently a 0.79-acre, riverfront parking lot.

“We do think this is going to become a very memorable building as you come into Milwaukee,” said project architect Devon Patterson of Solomon Cordwell Buenz to members of the City Plan Commission Monday afternoon.

Read the full article

City Creating Zoning Code For EV Chargers

With an expected surge in the number of electric vehicles, and with Congress considering an infrastructure bill that includes billions for EV charging stations, Milwaukee officials are looking to codify how and where charging equipment should be placed.

“Our role is really just trying to get ahead of the curve,” said Department of City Development principal planner Ed Richardson to members of the City Plan Commission on Monday afternoon.

The city’s zoning code does not reference electric vehicles currently, leaving Department of Neighborhood Services without guidance or rules on how to handle requests to install electric charging stations. A number of new apartment buildings and private residents have added charging equipment to indoor garages.

Read the full article

If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real, independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits, all detailed here.

3 thoughts on “Plats and Parcels: Industrial Building on East Side Could Become Apartments”

  1. GodzillakingMKE says:

    Being from across the street. It’s going to cost a lot. Oh, don’t forget about the room bricked off in all directions.

  2. GodzillakingMKE says:

    The front is art deco.

  3. NieWiederKrieg says:

    Thousands upon thousands of new, taxpayer funded, high-rent, apartment units are being added to Milwaukee’s downtown area.

    This looks similar to the over-developed-condo-unit-bubble that crashed and burned in 2009.

    I guess it will be all right as long as the stock market continues to climb 50% every year and the taxpayers continues to fund the housing eviction moratorium.

    P.S. It won’t be long until these crooked, real estate developers sell all these high-rent apartment units as over-priced condos.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us