Jeramey Jannene
Plats and Parcels

Bucks May Do Housing Development on Sydney HiH Block

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

By - Jan 8th, 2023 02:34 pm
Block 5 in the Deer District development, pictured in 2016. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Block 5 in the Deer District development, pictured in 2016. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The next project in the Deer District development pipeline is likely to be a residential building.

“I think you’re going to see some news in the next couple of months there,” said Michael Belot, senior vice president of Bucks Ventures and development, in a presentation to the Rotary Club of Milwaukee Tuesday.

The complex would be developed on what the Milwaukee Bucks refer to as “Block 5,” a 2.19-acre lot bounded by W. McKinley Ave., N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., W. Juneau Ave. and N. Vel R. Phillips Ave. Dating back to Fiserv Forum‘s construction start in 2016, the team has used much of the former Park East freeway site for parking. The Sydney HiH building, demolished in 2012, long stood on the site.

A 2015 development agreement with the county calls for the site to eventually be redeveloped with 215 luxury apartments, 100,000 square feet of office space, 16,000 square feet of commercial space and a 240-space parking structure.

Belot said the team is exploring a workforce housing development for the site. Such developments, often funded with low-income housing tax credits, are often targeted at service industry workers and include income restrictions.

“We did have a deal in place and then with interest rates and inflation, it made the project not viable at least at this time, but that’s something we’re definitely evaluating and I think we might have a partner coming up here in the next couple months,” said the Bucks executive. “We want Milwaukee and the Deer District to be a place for everyone and part of that is always considering workforce housing.”

The team’s real estate arm previously partnered with Royal Capital Group on the development of the 112-unit Five Fifty Ultra Lofts along N. 6th St. between W. McKinley Ave. and W. Juneau Ave. The six-story, market-rate development was completed in 2020 and covers the western side of the arena parking structure.

Bucks President Peter Feigin, in a message echoed by Belot Tuesday, has repeatedly said the team is aiming to develop a 30-acre, mixed-use neighborhood around the arena. “This is about the vision of how we create a place where people live, work, play, stay and have fun,” said Feigin in May 2021.

Construction is expected to start this month on a “play” and “have fun” component of the vision.

Construction on FPC Live‘s two-venue concert complex is expected to start at the northeast corner of the former Bradley Center site. It will open towards the plaza at N. Vel R. Phillips Ave. and W. Highland Ave. and include 800 and 4,000-person venues targeted at primarily standing crowds. Over the protests of competing venue operators, the Common Council unanimously approved the complex’s design in November. Frank Productions, a subsidiary of national promoter and ticketing company Live Nation, will own and operate the venue. A partnership of Miron Construction and JCP Construction will lead the general contracting.

And while that project starts, work is winding down on The Trade hotel, 420 W. Juneau Ave. The nine-story, 207-room hotel is targeted for a May opening. The Trade will be a Marriott Autograph Collection-branded hotel, with restaurants on the first and ninth floor and a large ballroom on the second floor. Belot, in his remarks, highlighted the fourth floor’s suitability for visiting basketball teams.

The Bucks have yet to bring a major “work” development forward as part of the mixed-use vision.

“The Milwaukee office market is really tough right now. For us to justify building a new office building without having an anchor tenant that will take 100,000 square feet and really spur the project, that I think is really a challenge,” said Belot. An office building is expected to eventually be built on the north side of the new hotel.



You can watch Belot’s full presentation on YouTube.

Weekly Recap

Pattee Buys Historic Church, Two Neighboring Houses

A historic church near N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. and W. North Ave. has a new owner and a likely non-sectarian future.

On Friday, developer Ryan Pattee acquired the historic Second German Methodist Episcopal Church, 140 W. Garfield Ave. The $400,000 purchase also includes two adjacent single-family homes and a vacant lot.

“I love the old, gritty brick Milwaukee structures,” said Pattee in an interview. “It’s been a dream to own something like that.”

He has that and more with his latest acquisition.

Read the full article

Outside Investors, Labor Shortage Hamper Milwaukee Affordable Housing Efforts

A labor shortage and outside investors who snap up properties have created a double whammy that’s impeding efforts to boost affordable housing in Milwaukee.

For the past few years and especially since the pandemic, out-of-state investors have been buying up and renting single-family homes and duplexes throughout the city.

Housing experts from Acts Housing, the Social Development Commission and Take Root Milwaukee said they are directly competing with families with low to moderate income.

According to an article by Mike Gousha and John D. Johnson for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “out-of-state investors now own 7,170 single family homes, condos, duplexes or triplexes across the city, up from 5,250 at the end of 2018.”

Read the full article

MU Mansions Rise at 17th and State

Three new “mansions” are rising atop a long-vacant lot at N. 17th St. and W. State St.

Three B Company is developing what it calls the MU Mansions on a 10,932-square-lot, 1703-1709 W. State St., just west of the Marquette University campus.

They’ll join an existing Three B property, marketed as “the mansion,” located immediately to the south at 953-955 N. 17th St.

The three new homes, all duplexes, will join a larger portfolio of properties Three B owns and markets toward Marquette students. According to public records, the company is connected to William Brachman, Sonny Bando and Brad Sehler.

Read the full article

Milwaukee Evictions Surged in December

Evictions in the Milwaukee area were 51% above average for the region in the first 10 days of December, according to Eviction Lab at Princeton University, which has published the first ever dataset of evictions across the U.S. since 2000. The December data for Milwaukee represents the largest surge in eviction filings in recent months. Filings in November were 8% above average.

Areas with majority Black residents in both the northern and southern portions of the county were some of the most affected, according to an interactive map of eviction filings across Milwaukee County.

Until November, the last time eviction filings climbed above average was in March 2022, when landlords in Milwaukee County filed evictions at a rate of 27% above average.

Housing advocates in Milwaukee are well acquainted both with the raw statistics, and the human suffering behind them. Over the last several weeks, the Milwaukee Autonomous Tenants Union (MATU) has chronicled the plight of area tenants. Some have been evicted, while others have been forced to live in squalid conditions in properties left derelict by landlords. On Dec. 28, WISN 12 reported on a tenant who endured nearly two weeks without water and heat. The news story aired just days after parts of Wisconsin, and much of the country, experienced plummeting temperatures and heavy December snows.

Read the full article

Land Purchased For Downtown Brewery and Dog Park

The $12 million proposal to develop Foxtown Landing, a downtown dog park and brewery along the Milwaukee River, took a significant step forward at the end of 2022.

An affiliate of Fromm Nieman Brands purchased the vacant, 0.43-acre parcel, 412-420 N. Plankinton Ave., that forms the majority of the development site for $995,000 on Dec. 30. The family company, which owns Foxtown Brewing and Fromm Family Pet Food, would develop a dog-friendly, three-story brewing, distilling and event complex at the corner of W. St. Paul Ave. and N. Plankinton Ave. Immediately to the north, a publicly-owned dog park would be created underneath Interstate 794. An extension of the Milwaukee RiverWalk would link the two and provide public access.

The Milwaukee Downtown and the Historic Third Ward business improvement districts have pursued the dog park since 2020, and announced Fromm as the naming-rights partner and future neighbor in November. “It’s an amenity where we are outperformed by many of our peer cities,” said Milwaukee Downtown economic development director Matt Dorner to the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee on Dec. 6.

“There is a huge need in urban settings for dog parks,” said company CEO Tom Nieman. The nearest dog parks are approximately three miles away, either to the north in Riverwest or south in Bay View.

Read the full article

Shuttered Midtown Walmart Could Gain Businesses, Dog Park

The new owner of the shuttered Midtown Center Walmart store has plans to bring at least four new businesses and a dog park to the property located near W. Capitol Dr. and W. Fond du Lac Ave.

A redevelopment plan, revealed in pieces through property listings, includes selling a portion of the 500-space parking lot for redevelopment, leasing the front of the 160,000-square-foot store to a retailer and adding a self-storage operation to the back of the building. It also includes converting a grass lot adjacent to the building into a dog park and repurposing part of the parking lot as an event area.

An affiliate of Affordable Family Storage paid $3.28 million for the 15.24-acre property in July. The property, vacant since 2016, was listed with auction service Ten-X in June. It was sold by an affiliate of New York-based DLC Management, which in 2014 paid $47.2 million for the larger shopping center complex and continues to operate it as such. The Walmart store, 5825 W. Hope Ave. was constructed in 2002 and renovated in 2006.

Affordable, through Iowa-based O&H Investments, listed two 0.75-acre lots for sale along N. 60th St. It’s part of a strategy known as “out lots,” to parcel off portions of underutilized parking lots for small commercial development, which has become increasingly common in the past decade. Examples abound along W. Fond du Lac Ave. on the east side of the shopping center, where the 0.87-acre McDonald’s lot provides a visual example of what a future development could look like.

Read the full article

City Selling Former Teutonia Ave. Grocery

The City of Milwaukee is looking for a new owner to revive a 139-year-old building on N. Teutonia Ave.

The Department of City Development (DCD) is asking $30,000 for the two-story, 1,884-square-foot building at 2824-2826 N. Teutonia Ave.

City records indicate the upper floor has spent its entire life as an apartment while the lower floor has held a variety of predominantly food-related tenants. Located along a key northside corridor, the building has housed a fish market, several grocery stores, a sausage manufacturer, a gift and variety shop, a floral shop and a sports store.

The city acquired the property via property tax foreclosure in 2017 from longtime owner Larry Minor. It was during Minor’s two decades of ownership that the property housed Black Market Sports, presumably a store, but of which nothing can be found in online records or historical newspapers. An occupancy permit indicates it opened in 2005. By 2011 the sign was covered up.

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Associated Bank, Quarles Write Their Names on Skyline

Next time you’re Downtown, look up. Two firms have rewritten their names on the skyline.

Associated Bank has installed its name on its namesake office tower, the Associated Bank River Center. The Green Bay-based bank acquired the 28-story office tower in 2016, but spent years planning and renovating the interior before relocating its regional office from the 330 Kilbourn complex. The move, completed last year, included the removal of bank signage at its former office.

The 30-story 411 East Wisconsin Center also has new signage. Long-time tenant Quarles & Brady had its signage removed in November, only to unveil a new brand (“Quarles”) and signage in December. The law firm has been in the building since 1986.

Both company’s signs were hoisted by helicopters in recent weeks.

Read the full article

Most Popular Real Estate Articles of 2022

But what got the most attention from Urban Milwaukee readers? It’s an unusual list.

Yes, Ascent, the world’s tallest mass timber building, made the list, as did the soccer stadium. But you won’t find the convention center expansion, the FPC Live Deer District venue or the Milwaukee Public Museum on the list. Those projects were popular, but, due to a confluence of factors, a host of other articles got far more attention.

The Top 10 list, calculated based on pageviews, includes the conversion of a funeral home into apartments and the demolition of a nondescript house. There is also a political article: Milwaukee’s new mayor Cavalier Johnson makes the list, though not for anything Johnson did in office.

Read the full article

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2 thoughts on “Plats and Parcels: Bucks May Do Housing Development on Sydney HiH Block”

  1. BigRed81 says:

    The BUCKS owners should pay for building housing for service industry workers. Apply income restrictions.

  2. Polaris says:

    First, RIP Sydney HiH. It would have been great to have renovated those buildings from their funky past…

    Second, YES to housing! I can’t imagine there is much more potential for luxury rentals downtown, what with 7Seventy7, Ascent, the Couture and now 333 N. Water. Is “workforce housing” simply a euphemism for affordable housing? I suspect it is, but the Bucks don’t want to hurt their illustrious brand. Frankly, MKE needs a lot of affordable housing, nothing wrong with that. The people put up so much money for the Deer District, why shouldn’t it be a place for all the people, not just the affluent.

    Yeah, new office development and commercial/retail will be challenging for years and years until we see how the new economy shakes out relative to tangible use of spaces. I’ll again recommend that the Bucks look at potential nonprofit “office” uses. Jeffers has done such a great job with the old Journal Sentinel block. And, higher ed. and healthcare are nonprofits, too.

    I believe it was Michelangelo who once said, “The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work. It is already there, I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.” The Bucks need to strive less for what they hope or had once hoped to do and consider what is already there within their “blocks,” ready to be revealed…

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