Jeramey Jannene
Plats and Parcels

Madison Company Buys Third Ward Block

Plus: Recapping a flurry of real estate stories in the past week.

By - Apr 10th, 2022 12:39 pm
417 E. Chicago St. Photo from Colliers International.

417 E. Chicago St. Photo from Colliers International.

Madison-based Hovde Properties is the new owner of a Historic Third Ward office building.

The firm, led by Eric Hovde, purchased the one-story, 42,141-square-foot building at 417 E. Chicago St. The building is currently occupied by life sciences firm Eversana. Hovde paid $11 million for the property on April 1 according to state real estate records.

The property, which includes a surface parking lot south of the building, fills a full city block bounded by E. Chicago St., N. Jefferson St., E. Menomonee St. and N. Milwaukee St. It is assessed, as of 2020, for $9.12 million.

Originally built in 1964, the building was renovated in 2014 into a home for The Dohmen Company. Dohmen relocated to the Third Ward from Menomonee Falls, a move that actually marked a return to the neighborhood where the company was founded in 1858.

Hovde, whose other Milwaukee holding is Brix Apartment Lofts in Walker’s Point, intends to maintain the building as a home for Eversana, but could redevelop the building in the future.

“Hovde is a long-term builder and investor in our properties, and we saw this as a very good property in a great location in the Third Ward,” firm president Randy Guenther told Sean Ryan. “Longer-term, the site could be redeveloped someday, but our first course of action is to use the building as it stands today.”

Dohmen underwent dramatic change starting in 2018. Its life sciences division was sold to private equity firms Water Street Healthcare Partners and JLL Partners. The remaining company was converted to a company wholly owned by the Dohmen Company Foundation in 2019. According to Dohmen, it is the first company in the country to leverage the Philanthropic Enterprise Act of 2018 to dedicate all profits to a charitable foundation.

In December 2020, the foundation announced it was relocating to Bronzeville. It billed the move as positioning the organization to create “healthy communities powered by healthy people.”

“The sale of the 417 E. Chicago Street building is a mile marker in our transition into our new headquarters location in the vibrant Halyard Park neighborhood where we look forward to collaborating with our new neighbors to realize our vision of creating equitable access to healthy and happy lives,” said foundation president Kathy Koshgarian in a statement.

Dohmen was represented by Colliers International‘ brokers Tom Shepherd, Jennifer Huber-Bullock and Scott Welsh on the sale. “This value-creation opportunity was exciting to work on as the Historic Third Ward has national cachet and it is viewed as a high barrier to entry neighborhood. The market brought forth some really creative ideas for the long-term future of this 2.1-acre full city block,” said Shepherd, a partner at Colliers.

Colliers also represented Dohmen in selling its two other Third Ward properties in 2019. Dohmen sold the 27,530-square-foot, five-story office building at 215 N. Water St. to Revel Investments for $4.45 million. It sold 12,612-square-foot, two-story office building at 200 N. Jefferson St. to Fox & Owl Enterprises for $3.25 million.


Weekly Recap

Betty Brinn Pulls Out of New Museum Complex

Citing rising costs, the board of directors of the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum (BBCM) are bailing on the plan to relocate the museum to a joint museum complex with the Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM).

The boards of both organizations announced the news in a joint press release Friday at 4:30 p.m.

“The Board of Directors for [BBCM] determined that it is no longer in the organization’s strategic best interest to pursue a move to a new construction building at this time,” said the statement. “As the planning process unfolded through 2021 and early 2022, budgetary calculations changed dramatically, both due to external pressures related to inflation and updated plans that would have called for additional costs to design and construct BBCM exhibits. These factors led BBCM to the difficult decision that it should not build and operate a new construction children’s museum as part of this project. BBCM will remain at its current location while it considers alternative opportunities. Both organizations wish each other the best of luck and much success as they move forward on separate paths.”

BBCM was to be a tenant of a renamed MPM in a new, $240 million complex planned for the northeast corner of N. 6th St. and W. McKinley Ave. The natural history museum confirmed it is still moving forward with a new facility.

Read the full article

MSOE Building Women’s Softball Stadium

The Milwaukee School of Engineering unveiled a $4 million plan Friday to develop a stadium for its women’s softball team on the university’s downtown campus and add five women’s sports.

The effort will add 130 female athletes, more than doubling the current roster for the NCAA Division III participant.

University President John Y. Walz, during a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony Friday afternoon, said it would help the university grow and diversify its student body. The university reports 2,510 undergraduate students, of which 28% are women.

Walz said of all the engineering degrees awarded across the country last year, 23% went to females. He noted that was both a record high, and a figure that is far too low. “Students of color, particularly Hispanic and African American students, were also equally underrepresented,” said Walz.

Read the full article

Acts Housing Expanding After Record-Breaking Year

Acts Housing broke its own record in 2021, helping 305 families purchase homes.

Now the organization is looking to add a dozen new members to its team because it believes there is more work to be done.

“While I’m thrilled, it’s not enough,” said Michael Gosman, the president, and CEO of Acts Housing. “We’re trying to figure out a way to significantly build on the progress we made.”

Acts Housing, at 2414 W. Vliet St., jumped from helping 183 purchase homes in its previous best year to 305 in 2021. The nonprofit organization provides homebuyer and financial coaching, lending and real estate services and home rehab coaching

Read the full article

MPS’ Fletcher School Would Be Sold For Choice School

A former public school could soon see new life as the home for a sectarian choice school.

A proposal is pending before the Milwaukee Common Council for a private company to purchase the vacant Fletcher Elementary School, 9500 W. Allyn St., for $500,000 and lease it to Greater Holy Temple Christian Academy (GHTCA). The redeveloped 60,754-square-foot building would open to students in August 2023 according to a Department of City Development report.

The deal is part of a $5.3 million project by GHTCA that also includes a plan to open an early learning academy in a new building on what is currently a large asphalt lot immediately west of the school. The redevelopment would also include a new parking lot, lighted basketball court and playground.

The nine-acre Fletcher property is located northwest of the intersection of W. Brown Deer Rd. and N. 91st St. and immediately south of Milwaukee County Parks’ Joseph Lichter Park.

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Former Hospital Designated Historic

The Historic Preservation Commission unanimously granted permanent historic designation Monday to the oldest portion of the former Columbia Hospital, while UW-Milwaukee continues to pursue demolition of the structure in the middle of its campus. Supporters of the designation contend the university should further explore converting the largely unaltered building to housing, while UWM is seeking to demolish the structure because it has not identified a viable use for it.

The university paid $20.2 million in 2010 for the 1.1-million-square-foot hospital complex at 2015-2025 E. Newport Ave. The oldest portion, an L-shaped building near the intersection of N. Maryland Ave. and E. Hartford Ave., was constructed between 1919 and 1969.

The designation still requires approval from the full Common Council, which has overruled the historic commission in recent years. And even if the designation is approved, UWM could still pursue multiple avenues to demolish the building.

“The real case will be when they file a [Certificate of Appropriateness] for demolition,” said area Alderman Nik Kovac. A COA request, subject to HPC and council review, is the process by which a historic building can be altered or demolished. The council could determine the structure to be worthy of designation, but later approve a demolition request that UWM could argue on economic grounds.

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Four-Story Riverwest Apartments Okayed By Plan Commission

A proposal to develop a new affordable apartment complex and shared commercial kitchen on E. North Ave. received a unanimous thumbs-up Monday afternoon.

The City Plan Commission recommended approval of a zoning change to enable a partnership of KG Development and General Capital Group to develop the four-story, 91-unit apartment building.

Planned for a vacant site just west of the Milwaukee River, the building would include the “Riverwest Food Accelerator.” The 2,500-square-foot space would be the “cornerstone” of the project said the development team. It would include a full commercial kitchen, configured for use for cooking classes, startup businesses or residents. “Really importantly, we are not seeking to duplicate anyone’s efforts,” said General Capital partner Sig Strautmanis. An operating partner is still being sought. “It really is an exciting concept that is still evolving.”

And while the food accelerator may be the cornerstone of the project overlooking E. North Ave. and N. Commerce St., the heart of the proposal is to create affordable housing: 77 apartments set aside at below-market rates. The partners won a city-issued request for proposals to buy the site in 2020 and secured low-income housing tax credits to fund the project in 2021. Units would have a mix of one, two and three bedroom layouts. Through the tax credit program, units would have rents structured not to exceed 30% of household incomes. Specific units would be set aside for those making less than 30%, 40%, 50% and 60% of the Milwaukee County median income with rental prices ranging from $418 to $1,024 per month. Fourteen of the units would be rented at market rates, targeted at $1,200 for a one-bedroom apartment and $2,400 for a two-bedroom apartment.

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High Court Asked To Remove Eviction Court Records After One Year

Lawyers who represent low-income Wisconsin residents are asking the state Supreme Court to remove most eviction cases from court records after one year.

Landlords use those records to exclude prospective tenants, says Korey Lundin, an attorney with Legal Action of Wisconsin. That happens even if the case is dropped without a court-ordered eviction, he says — which is what happens in more than four out of five cases that are filed, according to data compiled by the Wisconsin Department of Administration.

Legal Action, which provides legal aid in civil cases to low-income people who can’t afford to hire a lawyer, wants the court system to remove the records of those cases that end without a money judgment against the tenant. Cases that result in a court-ordered eviction and restitution would still remain on file for 20 years under the group’s proposal.

Even though the majority of eviction cases never get that far, “under Wisconsin law it’s explicitly legal for landlords to refuse to rent to anybody if an eviction was filed against them,” Lundin says, regardless of how the case turned out. “Landlords will still use the [court] record to refuse to rent to somebody.”

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One thought on “Plats and Parcels: Madison Company Buys Third Ward Block”

  1. 45 years in the City says:

    Johnson Controls occupied 417 E. Chicago St. for several years until the late 70s / early 80s. This was in addition to rented space at 200 N. Jefferson, plus their involvement in what became the parking structure across the street from 417 E. Chicago.

    Soon they will completely end their downtown / 3rd ward presence.

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