Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Milwaukee County issues RFP for Park East site
July 1, 2015 11:35 AM
As of today, Milwaukee County has added another Park East corridor site to its rolling RFP process for the land it owns in the corridor on vacant land in downtown Milwaukee.

Last year the county created the rolling RFP process to accept bids on an ongoing basis for property that it owns in the Park East corridor. The county initially offered its Park East corridor land west of the Milwaukee River in the rolling RFP process. The owners of the Milwaukee Bucks have offered to purchase all of that land for $1 and have submitted a $400 million mixed use development proposal that would be built around the proposed new downtown arena.

The site added to the Park East rolling RFP today is on the east side of the Milwaukee River. It is a 2.3-acre block bounded by Water Street, Milwaukee Street, Broadway and Ogden Avenue. The block is just west of the block where Wangard developed its Avenir apartment building.

The county previously agreed to sell the site to Opus Development Corp. and Mercy Housing Lakefront Inc., which planned to build a mixed-use development with 190 apartments, 33,000 square feet of retail space, 21,000 square feet of office space and 340 parking spaces.

However, that development never moved forward and Opus and Mercy’s option on the property has expired.

More information about the RFP for the site is available by clicking here.

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Bon-Ton sells three Milwaukee area stores
July 1, 2015 10:34 AM
The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., which has headquarters in Milwaukee and York, Pa., announced today that it has sold six of its stores, including three in the Milwaukee area, to one of New York-based W.P. Carey Inc.’s non-traded real estate investment trusts for $84 million.

Bon-Ton sold its Boston Store properties at Mayfair Mall in Wauwatosa, Bayshore Town Center in Glendale and Southridge Mall in Greendale; its Younkers store at Bay Park Square in Ashwaubenon; its Carson’s store in Joliet, Ill. and its Herberger’s store in Fargo, N.D.

The Mayfair Mall Boston Store property sold for about $18.4 million, the Southridge Boston Store property sold for about $16.3 million and the Younkers store property in Ashwaubenon sold for about $12 million, according to state records.

Bon-Ton bought the Southridge store last year from Anthony Palermo for $3.9 million. Bon-Ton completed a substantial remodeling of that store in 2012.

Sale price information about the Bayshore Town Center store was not immediately available.

Under a sale leaseback agreement with the  W.P. Carey REIT, Bon-Ton will continue to occupy the stores as a tenant.

“These are important properties for Bon-Ton. We see them as being committed to these properties,” said W.P. Carey spokesman Guy Lawrence. “We like their locations. They are good properties.”

Proceeds from the store sales, supplemented with money borrowed under Bon-Ton’s revolving credit facility, will be used to pay one of the company’s mortgage loan facilities due in April of 2016. Each mortgage loan facility has principal outstanding of about $105 million and consists of 12 properties, the company said.

“The sale-leaseback of these six properties allows us to address the maturity of one of our mortgage facilities and further enhances our financial flexibility through the value of the remaining properties no longer encumbered by the mortgage facility,” Bon-Ton president and chief executive officer Kathryn Bufano said. “We are actively pursuing refinancing options for the second of our two mortgage facilities.”

Bufano joined Bon-Ton last year and is working to turn around the struggling company. Bon-Ton reported a fiscal first quarter loss of $34.1 million and has not turned an annual profit since 2010.

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Ruling by county judge boosts prospects for The Couture
July 1, 2015 11:10 AM
Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Christopher Foley on Friday provided a major victory for supporters of private development on the site of the Milwaukee County Transit Center.

Foley granted Milwaukee County and the City of Milwaukee’s request for summary judgement to dismiss parks advocacy group Preserve Our Parks’ legal argument that private development is forbidden on the site, located southwest of Lincoln Memorial Drive and Michigan Street near the lakefront in downtown Milwaukee.

County officials want to sell the property to Barrett Lo Visionary Development, which plans to build a 44-story luxury apartment tower on the site.

Foley’s ruling today is a major victory for The Couture project and a major defeat for Preserve Our Parks’ efforts to stop it. However, Preserve Our Parks could appeal the ruling to a higher court and ultimately the final decision may be up to the state Supreme Court.

“I’m disappointed (by Foley’s ruling),” Preserve Our Parks president John Lunz said. He said the group has not decided if it will appeal the case to a higher court.

“This is what we expected to occur,” said Alan Marcuvitz of von Briesen & Roper, who was hired by the county to assist with the legal battle on the site’s development rights. “We anticipate this will be reviewed by an appellate court, hopefully soon.”

The county has been unable to get title insurance to sell the site to Barrett because Preserve Our Parks has threatened legal action to block the development. Preserve Our Parks says most of the site was originally park of Lake Michigan and therefore private development of the site is forbidden by the public trust doctrine.

In 2013 the state Legislature passed, and Gov. Scott Walker signed, legislation establishing that the historic shoreline is east of the Downtown Transit Center site. The state Legislature used the 1913 shoreline as the basis for the law to establish a boundary between the lakefront and where private development would be allowed.

Preserve Our Parks said the lakefront boundary should be based on the 1848 shoreline of Milwaukee.

Foley said that the 1913 boundary is not the accurate location for the city’s historic shoreline. But he said it would be difficult to establish the 1844 line “with any level of absolute certainty, maybe even reasonable certainty.”

He also said that there is legal precedent that allows the state Legislature to grant public trust lands to a private entity as long as there is a public benefit and doing so does not impact navigation or public access to the water.

Foley said he did not see any way Preserve Our Parks could argue that the Legislature’s action provided a negative impact.

“The actual land in dispute has not been lake for over 100 years, so there is no impact on navigation,” Foley said. “That is self-evident.”

Plans for the $122 million Couture development include retail space, public parking, a rooftop park, a public transportation concourse, a streetcar stop, a pedestrian bridge over Lincoln Memorial Drive to the lakefront, connections to other adjacent properties, a streetcar stop and a bike sharing station. The project has 81,560 square feet of public space and if the public parking is included it has 178,000 square feet of public space.

The property is currently owned by Milwaukee County and is used for bus storage and bus transfers. There is public park space on top of the building.

Foley said Preserve Our Parks would be unable to argue that The Couture development harmed public access to the lakefront.

“If anything it appears from this record that it will benefit those interests,” Foley said. “There is just no way Preserve Our Parks can establish anything that is a negative impact. In all likelihood it could only show it is a positive impact.”

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Glendale hotel conversion to Holiday Inn completed
July 1, 2015 10:57 AM
A grand opening event was held recently to celebrate the completion of an $8 million project to convert the 160-room former Milwaukee River Hilton hotel at 4700 N. Port Washington Road in Glendale into the Holiday Inn Milwaukee Riverfront hotel.

The hotel is managed by Greenbelt, Md.-based Chesapeake Hospitality.

Updated features in the hotel include an expanded lobby offering an open gathering space for guests and a new bar area highlighting surrounding river views. The guest rooms feature updated décor, new furniture and bathroom fixtures.

In addition, the hotel’s Anchorage Restaurant rolled out a menu featuring a variety of seafood options along with more contemporary culinary offerings.

“The newly enhanced features of the hotel, including the revamped banquet room and riverside outdoor patio, are better suited to highlight our unique location, while improving our ability to service corporate events and other functions,” said hotel general manager Brian Brooks.

“We are very excited to share with the community a hotel that leverages the ambiance of the river with contemporary rooms and public areas for the residents of Glendale and Milwaukee. The fully renovated ballroom and other meeting spaces were designed to meet the sophisticated needs of area residents who have responded very warmly to these upgrades. We are particularly pleased to partner with IHG/Holiday Inn and Chesapeake Hospitality who bring a strong and loyal customer base along with a guest-centric management philosophy,” said Nagib Lakhani on behalf of the investor group who purchased the hotel and undertook the renovations.

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Mayfair adds kate spade store
July 1, 2015 11:00 AM
Wauwatosa’s Mayfair Mall has announced it will add a kate spade new york store, the first full price store the popular retailer will open in Wisconsin.

kate spade, a retailer known worldwide for its women’s handbags, clothing, jewelry, shoes and fashion accessories, is expected to open its Mayfair store in spring 2016 on the lower level center court.

The addition of a big name luxury brand like kate spade is another win for the shopping mall, which has benefited from the addition of high-end anchor department store Nordstrom. That store will open in October.

“kate spade new york is a wonderful addition to our mix of fashionable retailers,” said Stephen Smith, senior general manager of Mayfair. “We continue our commitment to providing our guests with the most exclusive stores to enhance their shopping experience, and kate spade new york perfectly aligns with that goal.”

Mayfair is owned and operated by Chicago-based public company General Growth Properties Inc.

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Wangard Partners adds chief financial officer
July 1, 2015 11:05 AM
Wauwatosa-based Wangard Partners, Inc. has introduced a chief financial officer to its staff.

The real estate company has appointed industry veteran Beth Schumacher to the newly created position.

Schumacher, a certified public accountant, has more than 30 years of experience in finance and accounting for property development and management. Her skillsets include board expertise in internal and external reporting, systems implementation, insurance, and cash and risk management.

As CFO at Wangard Partners, she will manage financial and operational practices for the firm’s divisions as well as head human resources, information technology and risk management. Schumacher will also work to create more efficiency and more effective accounting and reporting systems for the firm.

“As Wangard’s growth has doubled, so have our needs to be more lean and efficient,” Wayne Wiertzema, president of Wangard Partners, said in an announcement. “Beth’s depth of expertise within our industry will enhance our internal processes in order to provide the best service to our clients and many partners. Her talent will stimulate our core value of knowledge leadership through entrepreneurial spirit, which will lead to more development.”

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Animal hospital planned in Pleasant Prairie
July 1, 2015 11:09 AM
The Pleasant Prairie Plan Commission earlier this week approved plans for an 11,021-square-foot Care Animal Hospital on a 2-acre site located on the north side of Prairie Ridge Boulevard, west of 88th Avenue in Pleasant Prairie.

Care Animal Hospital (CARE) has operated from a location on the north side of Highway 50 in Pleasant Prairie since April of 2000. CARE plans to relocate to the new larger location upon its completion in 2017.

Between 128 and 160 customer visits are expected per day.

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PAVE Milwaukee moves office to Matthews Building
July 1, 2015 11:07 AM
PAVE Milwaukee, an education-focused nonprofit organization, will gain 1,000 square feet as it relocates its offices to the Matthews Building on Wisconsin Avenue today.

The nonprofit, which works to build strong boards for area partner schools, is moving from a 3,000-square-foot space in the Germania Building at 135 W. Wells Street, Suite 850, to a 4,000-square-foot space in the Matthews Building, located at 301 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 300.

The move was prompted by Vangard Group LLC’s plans to convert the Germania Building into 70 “affordable” apartments.

“That was the main driver,” said Michelle Burmeister, communications director of PAVE.

PAVE has leased office space in the Germania Building for eight years, according to Burmeister. The organization agreed to vacate the building by mid-summer.

While the nonprofit’s old office featured an open cubicle environment, its new office site has more private offices and two large conference rooms. The Matthews Building, connected to the Shops of Grand Avenue, also offers shared conference rooms for its tenants.

The space was formerly occupied by the Greater Milwaukee Committee, according to Burmeister.

The extra square feet will equip PAVE with more space and flexibility to accommodate the organization’s interns and student staff members while also giving it the bandwidth to grow, Burmeister said.

“As we continue to do our work, we may continue to grow and want to add more staff and it would be nice to have the extra space for that as well,” she said.

PAVE currently operates with six full-time and two part-time staff members.

The new site’s central downtown location will also be advantageous as it gives PAVE’s program staffers “quick and easy access to every corner of the city,” Burmeister said, adding that the new location will also be a convenient destination for school officials and board members needing to visit the nonprofit.

PAVE currently collaborates with more than 50 schools located all across Milwaukee.

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July 1, 2015 10:30 AM

DTZ Barry

eMarketing 4 Business LLC leased 8,500 square feet of office space at W237 N2920 Woodgate Road, Pewaukee, from Z Rental Properties LLC.

NAI MLG Commercial

Schroeder Woodworking leased 6,000 square feet of space at 404 Wilmont Dr., Waukesha, from 404 Wilmont Drive LLC.

ExactDrive leased 2,575 square feet of space at 231 E. Buffalo St., Milwaukee, from 231 East Buffalo LLC.

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July 1, 2015 10:32 AM

DTZ Barry

Builders Roofing & Supply LLC purchased a 104,600-square-foot building at 5519 W. Woolworth Ave., Milwaukee, from Fairview Holdings Inc.

HCP Real Estate LLC d.b.a. Frentzel Products purchased a 26,600-square-foot building at W227 N6370 Sussex Road, Sussex, from CJSM LLC.

NAI MLG Commercial

CIMCO Resources Inc. purchased 179,967 square feet of space at 2929 S. Chase Ave., Milwaukee, from LaLonde II LLC.

S.T. Evenignasiak LLC purchased 5,000 square feet of space at 6014 W. Beloit Road, West Allis, from 6014 Beloit LLC.

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New construction
July 1, 2015 11:40 AM

Wauwatosa-based Selzer-Ornst Construction Co. has been selected as construction manager for Cobalt Partner's 60-acre, suburban mixed-use White Stone Station development in Menomonee Falls. Work to include over 200,000 square feet of retail, restaurant, hotel, office and financial facilities and will include a Costco and 200 multi-family living units.

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Andrew Weiland This exclusive news bulletin is compiled by BizTimes Milwaukee reporter Andrew Weiland. This bulletin is published every Wednesday morning. Send real estate news tips to or call him at (414) 336-7120.

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