Jeramey Jannene
Plats and Parcels

Trust Company Expanding In Walker’s Point

Milwaukee's urban core a post-pandemic winner. Plus: Recap of week's real estate news.

By - Apr 23rd, 2023 04:57 pm
The Tannery complex, with the Timbers Building in the rear left. 2021 file photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The Tannery complex, with the Timbers Building in the rear left. 2021 file photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Capital First Trust Company is making a splash in Walker’s Point.

The company leased the entire fifth floor of the Timber Building at The Tannery complex. The 22,178-square-foot space is double the size of its current location at 234 Florida, another redeveloped Cream City-brick building located a few blocks to the east.

Capital First specializes in the administration of personal trusts and also provides other fiduciary services.

“We are growing and require a high-quality office space that is fit for our future. Our investment in an updated and larger office space in the desirable Walker’s Point neighborhood will improve team collaboration, boost productivity and positively impact employee morale and company culture,” said Levi Dax, marketing officer at Capital First.

The company’s move also is another indicator that Milwaukee’s urban core continues to fare better than that of peer cities following a COVID-19-induced shift to remote and hybrid work.

“One of the biggest trends we’ll continue to see this year is the flight to quality office space that is prevalent in Milwaukee and metropolitan cities across the country,” said Matt Hunter, executive vice president at JLL, which brokered the lease for Capital First. Property owner R2 Companies was represented by John Davis and Ned Purtell of Founders 3 on the lease.

“Our team has been hard at work helping tenants like Capital First Trust Company upgrade their corporate offices to provide best-in-class amenities and updated common areas to enhance the employee experience,” said Hunter. “Landlords can get ahead of this trend by proactively reinvesting in their properties, so they continue to have the most success leasing in today’s marketplace.” That’s exactly what R2 did.

Much of the former Pfister & Vogel tanning complex was first converted to office space in the 1990s by Peter Moede and changed hands twice before being acquired for $25 million in 2018 by Chicago-based R2. In 2021, R2 and Founders 3 announced the start of a “full-scale” renovation that included rehabilitated common areas, a new fitness center with locker rooms, secure bike storage, tenant lounge, new central lobby and “enhanced outdoor amenities.”

The seven-story, 122,000-square-foot Timbers Building, 700 W. Virginia St., is now 85% leased. JLL and Founders 3 report that Bullmoose Financial, Interim Healthcare, Bloom Art Therapies and Universal Services of America have also leased space at the building within the past six months.

The 67,760-square-foot, seven-story Atlas Building, 600 W. Virginia St., was also renovated as part of the project. A handful of other office buildings are included in the complex.

Much of The Tannery complex’s northern half, now accessed by W. Freshwater Way and separated by Canadian Pacific railroad tracks, was redeveloped in phases into apartments known as River Place Lofts by Moede and his firm Atlas Development. A new apartment building, the final phase, is under construction on the site of the former complex power plant.

Capital First is headquartered in Sioux Falls, SD. Milwaukee is home to its second office.

234 Florida, redeveloped by Pieper Properties in 2008, is a LEED-certified (environmentally-focused) redevelopment targeted at small businesses. The floor size, according to its website, is 13,500 square feet.

Weekly Recap

Wisconsin Homes Becoming Less Affordable

Wisconsin has a seller’s market for homes where demand far outpaces supply. That, coupled with high mortgage rates, is pricing first-time home buyers — typically millennials — out of the market.

Those trends could continue through 2023 and into 2024, especially if interest rates remain high, according to David Clark, a Marquette University economist and consultant for the Wisconsin Realtors Association. And when supply and demand realign, he said home prices are unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels.

From March 2022 to March 2023, purchasing a home has become less affordable, according to a new report from the Wisconsin Realtors Association. Median home prices have increased by 6.9 percent, statewide listings have decreased by over 20 percent, mortgage rates have increased and median family incomes have remained relatively flat.

Over the last year, supply has been especially tight for entry-level homes, priced between $125,000 and $350,000, the report said. The strongest supply has been in homes priced at $500,000 or more.

Read the full article

Work Starts on Redeveloping 150 Vacant Homes

City of Milwaukee leaders and several small developers gathered Wednesday to celebrate the start of a $15 million project designed to redevelop 150 vacant homes, create nearly as many new homeowners and transform neighborhoods.

Known as Homes MKE, the effort will take vacant, dilapidated properties acquired via property tax foreclosure and transfer them, with a subsidy, to participating small developers. The resulting homes will be sold at affordable rates, leased affordably or placed into lease-to-own programs.

“After hard work and preparation, we are off and running,” said Department of City Development Commissioner Lafayette Crump while standing outside one of the first five houses that will be redeveloped. “We are working to ensure Milwaukeeans have access to the quality, affordable, stable housing they need.”

The Common Council funded the program in October 2021 with $15 million from its $394.2 million American Rescue Plan Act grant. The first development teams were announced in September.

Read the full article

11-Story East Side Hotel Approved

The Milwaukee Common Council unanimously approved a zoning change Tuesday to enable the development of an 11-story, 130-room hotel on Milwaukee’s Lower East Side.

“It’s a wonderful addition in one of Milwaukee’s most exciting neighborhoods,” said area Alderman Jonathan Brostoff after the vote.

The new hotel, a brand for which has yet to be announced, would include a first-floor restaurant and a top-floor event space.

The glassy, triangular hotel would be developed on an 18,179-square-foot lot at the intersection of E. Brady St., N. Cambridge Ave. and N. Farwell Ave.

Read the full article

Inside Rite-Hite’s New HQ

Rite-Hite‘s new corporate headquarters has all of the amenities of a modern office building, but also a dizzying amount of warehouse equipment.

And while it’s the glassy building that the public will see, the company is banking on the numerous loading docks, doors, fans and safety barriers to draw the attention of its customers.

Located just south of Downtown in the Reed Street Yards business park, the two-building complex features a “Customer Experience Center” with demonstration versions of the warehouse equipment company’s products, a “live dock” with a rain simulator and semi-trailers to show how the products work in real-world conditions and a training center where service technicians and customers can learn how to install and repair the various products.

The new complex, which fully opened in March, marks the complete relocation of the Brown Deer company to Milwaukee. Founded in 1965, the family-owned company tracks its success to the 1980 introduction of a dock-locking restraint (Dok-Lok) that secures a trailer to a loading dock. It’s grown substantially since then through acquisitions and new products.

Read the full article

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