Wednesday, March 19, 2014
National Business Furniture opens online showroom at Shops of Grand Avenue
March 19, 2014 10:00 AM
Milwaukee-based National Business Furniture has opened a showroom, for its online customers, in a 15,000-square-foot space formerly occupied by an Old Navy store in the Shops of Grand Avenue in downtown Milwaukee.

NBF consultants use portable wireless cameras to show the products to customers on the Internet.

“This showroom is really intended for our website visitors so they can connect with our sales people and get live product demonstrations right from our web site,” said Dean Stier, vice president of marketing for National Business Furniture.

“We want to engage with our customers in new and better ways, and live video demonstrations offer the next best thing to actually being next to an item,” said NBF President Kent Anderson. “We believe this service bridges the gap between retail shopping and web shopping.”

The Old Navy store at the Shops of Grand Avenue closed in 2009. The mall has struggled with a high vacancy rate for years and the mall’s ownership has changed hands numerous times in recent years. The mall has tried to fill space with non-traditional tenants including nonprofits, artists, creative companies and entrepreneurs.

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Majestic plans Racine County business park
March 19, 2014 09:00 AM
City of Industry, Calif.-based Majestic Realty Co., which is working on plans for industrial developments in Kenosha County, is also planning to develop a 57-acre business park in Caledonia, on County Highway K about two miles east of I-94. The location is the south side of Highway K, slightly east of Highway V.

The business park has the potential for 750,000 square feet of development.

Construction is expected to begin in spring on the first of three buidings planned in the business park. Occupancy is expected to be available by October.

The industrial real estate market is tight in Racine County, which has an industrial space vacancy rate of 4.5 percent, according to Xceligent. By comparison, southeastern Wisconsin has a 6.1 percent industrial space vacancy rate.

“With Racine County, we found a growing business community, solid partnerships and a healthy investment environment,” said Taylor Talt of Majestic Realty. “We are excited about the future of this development site.”

The project is another sign that development activity remains hot in the I-94 corridor between Milwaukee and Chicago, and is on the rise in Racine County.

“The Milwaukee/Chicago corridor continues to provide itself as a magnet for investment,” said Caledonia Village President Bob Bradley. “We are ready to make the necessary investments to welcome new development to our community.”

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Zilber to build spec industrial building in Pleasant Prairie
March 19, 2014 09:00 AM
Milwaukee-based Zilber Property Group announced plans to build a 176,000-square-foot speculative industrial building in LakeView Corporate Park in Pleasant Prairie.

It will be the sixth spec buiding developed by Zilber in LakeView Corporate Park since 2008.

“The project represents our continued commitment to growing Zilber Property Group’s industrial portfolio and our confidence in the long-term value of investment along the
Chicago-Milwaukee Corridor,” said John Kersey, executive vice president of Zilber Ltd.

Construction is expected to begin soon and be complete in October.

Lee & Associates is the marketing agent for the building. Riley Construction will provide design/build construction services for the project.

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Gorman buys site at former Pabst brewery to build apartments
March 19, 2014 09:00 AM
Oregon, Wis.-based Gorman & Company recently purchased a 1.3-acre site at the former Pabst brewery complex in downtown Milwaukee for $1.425 million, according to state records.

The site was sold by Brewery Project LLC, which was formed by Zilber Ltd. founder Joseph Zilber to redevelopment the former brewery complex into a mixed-use neighborhood.

Gorman & Company plans to build a 100-unit, market rate apartment building on the site, located at the northeast corner of North 9th Street and West Juneau Avenue.

The apartment building will be called Frederick Lofts and will have four floors of apartments over a level of enclosed parking.

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Meijer could get $5 million in tax credits for Pleasant Prairie distribution center
March 19, 2014 10:00 AM
Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer Meijer Inc., which plans to open several stores in southeastern Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker announced this week.

Meijer is expanding the former Supervalu distribution center in Pleasant Prairie. Once work is completed, the 770,000-square-foot facility is expected to employ 271 full-time workers and 42 part-time employees.

Meijer Distribution Inc., is eligible for up to $5.25 million in tax credits from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) over the next eight years. The actual  amount of the credits will be contingent upon the number of jobs created.

Meijer is investing $146 million to purchase, remodel and expand the former Supervalu facility.

“Meijer’s decision to operate in Pleasant Prairie is another strong signal that Kenosha County is the premier location for new investment in the Chicago-Milwaukee corridor,” added Todd Battle, President of the Kenosha Area Business Alliance (KABA). “This is a major investment by a strong company with an incredible brand, a great history, and bright future.”

KABA is currently working with Meijer, Gateway Technical College, and the Kenosha County Job Center to help the company meet its hiring needs for the new facility.

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Walker signs Milwaukee shoreline bill to assist The Couture
March 19, 2014 10:00 AM
Gov. Scott Walker earlier this week signed the Milwaukee shoreline bill, which is intended to assist The Couture development, at a ceremony this afternoon at Discovery World on the downtown Milwaukee lakefront.

The bill, approved last week by the state Senate and previously by the Assembly, would formally recognize the Milwaukee shoreline boundary that was established in 1913, by an agreement between the City of Milwaukee and the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad.

The legal definition of the location of the shoreline is critical to Milwaukee County's efforts to attract development to the Downtown Transit Center site, located southwest of Lincoln Memorial Drive and Michigan Street near the lakefront. County officials want to sell the property, currently used for bus storage, to developer Rick Barrett, who plans to build The Couture, a 44-story tower with luxury apartments, a hotel and retail space.

The Couture project would be a $180 million development that would add $10 million to the local tax base and would create 2,600 direct and indirect construction jobs, according to Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele's office.

“The potential for redevelopment of the Milwaukee shoreline will stimulate the local economy and provide thousands of jobs for the City of Milwaukee and surrounding area,” Walker said. “Business leaders need stability, and this legislation gives them the certainty they need to move forward with their development plans.”

But parks advocacy group Preserve Our Parks has threatened to file a lawsuit to block The Couture project. The group says that most of the Downtown Transit Center site was originally part of the Lake Michigan lakebed and that therefore the state's public trust doctrine forbids development there.

Preserve Our Parks has threatened to challenge the law in court and because of that threat the county has been unable to obtain title insurance for the site.

The lack of title insurance for the site has prevented the county from selling the property to Barrett, which has stalled the entire development. The county may have to file its own lawsuit to establish its development rights for the site, as some County Board Supervisors, including Pat Jursik, have said.

Despite the legislation that Walker signed into law, Preserve Our Parks board member Charlie Kamps said the group still plans to file a lawsuit to block The Couture if the county sells the property to Barrett.

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Student housing building near MU sold for $20.5 million
March 19, 2014 10:00 AM
An affiliate of Austin, Texas-based student housing firm Campus Advantage recently purchased the 2040 Lofts student housing facility near the Marquettee University campus for about $20.5 million, according to state records.

The 235,266-square-foot building at 2040 W. Wisconsin Ave. has 231 rental units and 612 beds.

The building was sold by Bethesda, Md.-based ASB Real Estate Investments.

The property has an assessed value of $33.9 million, according to city records.

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Irgens gives $2 million to UW-Madison real estate center
March 19, 2014 10:00 AM
Mark Irgens, the chief executive officer and president of Wauwatosa-based real estate development firm Irgens, and his wife Susan have donated $2 million to the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate at the Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the center announced Wednesday. The funds will be used to endow the center's executive directorship.

Mark and Susan Irgens are UW-Madison alumni.

"I received a public education all the way through," Mark Irgens said. "It's important to protect, reinforce and even enhance these institutions that create value and give people a start."

The Graaskamp Center works to link faculty, students, alumni, the professional community, government agencies and the general public.

"Real estate development is an in-the-trenches, duke-it-out type job," Irgens said, "But if you have the sophistication and skills that you learn at the business school and through Graaskamp, it helps you perform at a far higher level. Education is a huge difference-maker in people's lives. With a good education, you can become anything. Making a gift to something that made such a big change in our lives was a natural choice."

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LISC to revive ACRE program
March 19, 2014 10:00 AM
Local Initiatives Support Corp.’s Milwaukee office is taking the lead on redeveloping the Associates in Commercial Real Estate program to train minorities for career paths in commercial real estate and connect them to industry professionals.

The ACRE program was launched in 2005 by Marquette University’s College of Business Administration and Professor Mark Eppli, now the college’s interim dean. After serving more than 140 students through ACRE, the college temporarily discontinued the program in 2010.

“Since then, there’s been a number of people – both individuals who have been involved with the program as well as industry leaders who were familiar with the program – who were really anxious to have it re-launched,” said Leo Ries, executive director of LISC Milwaukee.

The nonprofit organization, which works to bolster and beautify central city neighborhoods, is answering the call for the program with a new structure that will expose students to property management, construction management and real estate development to prepare them for entry level positions.

ACRE will be facilitated primarily by volunteer instructors, with a 26-week curriculum encompassing site visits and networking events, as well as coursework at Marquette, Milwaukee School of Engineering and industry trade associations. LISC expects to launch the program in September with 20 to 25 students.

Marquette, MSOE, the Commercial Association of Realtors Wisconsin, the Associated General Contractors of Greater Milwaukee, the Institute of Real Estate Management Milwaukee, and the Commercial Real Estate Development Association Wisconsin Chapter have provided operational support for ACRE.

Barry Mandel of Mandel Group, Inc., CARW and NAIOP have offered financial backing. The Opus Foundation has supplied a $50,000 lead sponsorship grant. Ries said LISC is currently working to raise additional funds to cover all program costs.

As the ACRE program strengthens minority presence in the real estate industry, it will also advance LISC’s support of the community development system in Milwaukee.

“It’s an important part of our mission to help cultivate the leadership needed to rebuild Milwaukee’s neighborhoods,” Ries said.

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March 19, 2014 10:00 AM

Colliers International|Wisconsin

Sears leased 9,600 square feet of industrial space at 16262 Lincoln Ave., New Berlin.

Doctors Express leased 4,733 square feet of retail space at 1900 Coral Dr., Cedarburg.

Commercial Property Associates

O'Reilly Auto Parts leased a 23,400-square-foot outlot in Delavan Plaza at Highway 50 and Wright Street in Delavan, from Delavan Plaza Station LLC.

Dollar Tree leased 8,000 square feet o of lot 3 on North Wisconsin Avenue in Elkhorn.

Rue 21 leased 6,000 square feet of space at West Allis Town Center.

World Finance Corp. leased 1,535 square feet of space in Paradise Walk Shopping Center at 840 Paradise Dr., West Bend, from IBT West Bend LLC.

Subway leased 1,501 square feet of space at the Shoppes at Brookfield Commons, 15375 W. Bluemound Road, Brookfield.

Transcending Salon ad Spa leased 1,454 square feet of space at 1935 W. Silver Spring Dr., Milwaukee, from Silver Bay Plaza LLC.

Judson & Associates

Alpha Plastics Solutions Inc. leased 2,100 square feet of space at S84 W18752 Enterprise Dr., Muskego, from 187 Muskego LLC.

Good Frienz Movement Centre LLC leased 2,364 square feet of space at 860 Rose Dr., Hartland, from Nagawicka Dairy Farms LLC.

National Liner LLC leased 590 square feet of space at 375 Williamstowne, Delafield, from Williamstowne Properties LLC.

NAI MLG Commercial

Piggly Wiggly Midwest LLC renewed its lease of 47,912 square feet of space at N81 W15182 Appleton Ave., Menomonee Falls, from MP Falls Plaza LLC.

Endpoint Solutions Corp. leased 9,100 square feet of space at 6871 S. Lovers Lane, Franklin, from Priests of the Sacred Heart U.S. Province.

St. Vincent DePaul Racine Council leased 5,820 square feet of space at 820 Forest Lane, Waterford, from Thomas G. Kreul.

Sentinel Technologies Inc. leased 5,215 square feet of space at 3720 N. 124th St., Wauwatosa, from KL 124th Partners LLC.

Ziegler Capital Management LLC leased 4,424 square feet of space at 309 N. Water St., Milwaukee, from Aviva Real Estate Investors LLC.

Pixologie Inc. leased 2,775 square feet of space at 8825 S. Howell Ave., Oak Creek, from BFD Properties LLC.

Edward Jones & Co. leased 1,314 square feet of space at N79 W14700 Appleton Ave., Menomonee Falls, from RCH Holdings LLC.

UbreakiFix LLC leased 1,050 square feet of space at 7440 W. Holmes Ave., Greenfield, from Greenfield LP.

Supercuts Inc. leased 980 square feet of space at 1701 N. Mayfair Road, Wauwatosa.

Crohn's & Colitis Foundation leased 569 square feet of space at 1126 S. 70th St., West Allis, from 1126 West Allis Operating Associates.

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March 19, 2014 10:00 AM

Colliers International|Wisconsin

Lifetime Transition Strategies LLC purchased the building at 3205 N. 124th St., Brookfield, for $1.92 million.

Associated Bank purchased the building at 2815 N. Grandview Blvd., Waukesha, for $585,000.

NAI MLG Commercial

Loft Space Partnership LLP purchased 5 acres at Highway 20 and Main Street in East Troy from Adam Bower.

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Andrew Weiland BizTimes Real Estate Weekly is compiled by BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor Andrew Weiland. This bulletin is published every Wednesday morning. Send real estate news tips to or call him at (414) 277-8181, ext. 120.

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