Jeramey Jannene
Friday Photos

Stalled East Side Project To Resume

Six-story Fenwick Building will become assisted living complex.

By - Jan 28th, 2022 05:22 pm
1442 N. Farwell Ave. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

1442 N. Farwell Ave. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Work is expected to resume soon on the redevelopment of a Lower East Side office building into apartments.

A zoning change request was submitted in 2019 to convert The Fenwick Building, 1442 N. Farwell Ave., to a 65-bed assisted living facility. And by 2020 construction work on the project was well underway.

But, at least visibly, little happened in 2021. The six-story building ended up being sold in August to the contractor involved with the project, invalidating the building permits for the project.

Matt Mehring, the head of the new ownership entity (Unity Senior Living I LLC), told Urban Milwaukee Friday that he’s reapplied for state permits with the project and hopes to resume work soon.

Mehring serves as president of Anderson Ashton, the firm that is designing the project and leading its general contracting. He said his firm was involved from the project’s inception.

“A cell phone tower on the roof was getting in the way and delaying things,” he said of the issues with the development.

The 2019 plans called for a rooftop amenity area to be built as a penthouse atop the 37,909-square-foot building. A kitchen and living room were to be on the first floor. Work on those efforts is partially completed. New windows adorn the structure, but the first floor is largely open to the elements.

Robert Chandler of Midwest Commercial Funding and Peter Ogden, president of Ogden & Co. were the original developers on the project.

A limited liability company affiliated with Chandler acquired the building in 2018 for $1.13 million according to city records. It was sold to an LLC affiliated with Ogden in December 2019 for $2.5 million. In August, Mehring’s Unity Senior Living acquired the property for $6.74 million according to state records.

Before the redevelopment effort began the office space was mostly vacant. The city took possession of the building through property tax foreclosure in 2013 from Cass Stephens. Though his mortgage lender stepped in to pay the $137,220 in back taxes and reacquired the property in early 2014.

The building was originally developed by Emanuel S. Lozoff in 1966 and designed by Miller & Waltz. Lozoff also developed the Fenwick Apartments, 1409 N. Prospect Ave., immediately east of the office building in 1963. The northernmost portion of the office building overhangs a driveway that leads to a parking garage between the two buildings. But Lozoff sold both after a series of foreclosures and a suspension of his real estate broker’s license. The apartment building was reorganized as a condominium complex.

One quirky feature of the office building, the concrete sunshade that protruded from the western facade, is already gone. “The west sun can kill you,” said Lozoff to the Milwaukee Journal in 1964. “This way we can avoid all but the direct rays of the sun.” Future residents will have to rely on the more conventional options of blinds or shades.


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