Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

HUB640 Owner Buys Parking Structure For Fiserv

$6.3 million purchase will assure parking for Fiserv headquarters move to Downtown.

By - Mar 6th, 2023 02:22 pm
615 N. Vel R. Phillips structure (right) and HUB640 (left) in 2019. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

615 N. Vel R. Phillips structure (right) and HUB640 (left) in 2019. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Fiserv’s proposed move from Brookfield to Downtown has resulted in a Westown parking structure changing hands.

North Wells Capital purchased the eight-level, 712-space structure at 615 N. Vel R. Phillips Ave. for $6.25 million according to state real estate transfer records posted Friday.

The structure is connected by a third-floor skywalk over N. Vel R. Phillips Ave. to the HUB640 office building, which will soon be anchored by financial technology services company Fiserv’s corporate headquarters. Fiserv is to house 780 workers at the building, including 250 newly-created jobs. The city is providing a $7 million tax incremental financing subsidy if the job target is reached and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is providing $7 million in income tax credits if the company reaches a series of job targets, including 980 employees in Wisconsin.

It was revealed during the city subsidy approval process that Chicago-based North Wells was pursuing the purchase of the parking structure from an affiliate of Zilber Property Group. Fiserv is expected to spend $37 million on its office buildout, which includes new, private elevators and a host of other improvements. The company will lease the third, fourth and fifth floors of the eight-story building. A handful of other office tenants are located in the building.

Both the office building and the parking structure were once owned and operated by Boston Store, which had its headquarters and a flagship department store in the complex. But Boston Store and its parent Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. repeatedly downsized before declaring bankruptcy in 2018. Apartments are now located in the upper portion of the HUB640 building and a smaller-format Kohl’s department store is planned to open on the first floor of the building. North Wells acquired Bon-Ton’s share of the building before its bankruptcy as part of a leaseback agreement, and later acquired the apartments. It now owns the parking structure, which runs along W. Michigan St. from N. Vel R. Phillips Ave. to N. 5th St., and is expected to make several improvements to the aging structure.

According to city assessment records, the structure was constructed in 1967. It replaced a smaller structure once located on a portion of the site. A 1955 city downtown parking plan encouraged a larger structure to be built on the site. But before that 1955 vision came to reality, Boston Store and a Pittsburgh developer publicly floated the idea for a 28-story parking structure and apartment building with a medical center and rooftop pool. The tower plan fell apart for a lack of financing.

The structure contains a novel design, at least for the era in which it was built in Milwaukee. It is designed as effectively two overlapping structures, with drivers routed to either odd or even floors depending on if they enter on N. Vel R. Phillips Ave. (formerly N. 4th St.) or N. 5th St. A circular exit ramp guides you down two floors at a time, avoiding the need to encounter entering drivers. In 1967, The Milwaukee Journal reported that project engineer Charles J. Mazza said it was the “most advanced” structure in the country for its circulation system, which used colors instead of floor numbers and electronic ticketing and routing machines. Three commercial spaces are located on the first floor of the structure and are leased to a dry cleaner, United States Marine Corps recruiting office and Budget/Avis rental car office.

In 2012, Zilber paid an affiliate of WisPark $2.65 million for the structure. It was most recently operated by Interstate Parking Partners. Boston Store’s ownership ended in 2001 when its then-parent Saks Incorporated (still listed in property records as prior parent P.A. Bergner & Co.) sold the structure for $3 million to WisPark.

For additional details on Fiserv’s relocation, including a number of nearby public improvements the city plans to make with increased property tax revenue, see our prior coverage.

A North Wells representative did not respond to a request for comment on the acquisition by the time of publication.


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One thought on “Eyes on Milwaukee: HUB640 Owner Buys Parking Structure For Fiserv”

  1. prospectave says:

    Great research! Thanks for the history lesson.

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