Jeramey Jannene
Friday Photos

A Harbor District Revival

1915 building at 2nd and Mineral racked up lawsuits, code violations. New owner going back to basics.

By - Dec 24th, 2021 10:41 am
212 E. Mineral St. with new windows. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

212 E. Mineral St. with new windows. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Real estate investor and construction executive Mark Lathers is giving a Harbor District building a new lease on life after purchasing it earlier this year.

The three-story building at 212 E. Mineral St. has 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. A one-story garage to the east of the building, included with the property, was demolished following a 2018 city raze order.

And while the city found violation after violation, two prior owners were busy with other issues.

Owner Austin Mansur’s firm 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.

While all of this was playing out, Lathers was attempting to purchase the property. He finally acquired it, through HD Denmark LLC, for $660,000 in April. But the pandemic altered his earlier plans to lease the first floor of the approximately 26,000-square-foot building to a microbrewery.

Lathers is now moving forward on “warm gray boxing” of the building. That is, stripping it down to the bones for a future tenant, leaving unfinished floors, bare stud walls and only electrical and plumbing service to support the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.

“In today’s leasing world, you need to present a very nice building/space, clean and tidy to, at minimum, attract potential tenants and start a conversation. To date, we have some interest but no commitments,” wrote Lathers to a Department of Public Works representative on Nov. 30. He was successful in persuading DPW not to alter the rolled curb in front of the building, in part because a future tenant might leverage it.

Lathers has assembled the same team he used for another Walker’s Point project to advance his latest effort.

Kelly Construction & Design, where Lathers serves as vice president, is leading the general contracting. The Kubala Washatko Architects are leading the design. New windows have already been installed, replacing a number of bricked-over bays.

The two firms previously executed Lathers’ 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.

The Mineral St. building was constructed in 1915 for the Albert G. Seeboth Co., a cotton felt manufacturer, according to the Wisconsin Historical Society. Seeboth, a German immigrant, was part of a business-minded family for which the street is named further north in Walker’s Point. The Seeboths were best known for their scrap business, but had a number of other interests.

Mineral Street dead ends just east of the building, cut off from the harbor by the Canadian Pacific rail line. The property sits at the nexus of a changing area. 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.

Photos

Pre-Redevelopment Start Photos

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