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Wednesday, June 25, 2014
State places temporary moratorium on historic preservation tax credits
June 25, 2014 10:45 AM
The state's historic preservation tax credit, which under new legislation was increased from 10 percent to 20 percent of eligible expenditures at the beginning of the year, has been so popular with developers this year that state officials have decided to temporarily suspend the program to examine its fiscal impact on the state.

The state’s Department of Revenue and the Wisconsin Historical Society projected that $4 million in historic preservation tax credits would be allocated this year. But roughly halfway through the year the state has already authorized more than $35 million in historic preservation tax credits.

“The utilization of this credit has far exceeded the original estimates,” said Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. Secretary and CEO Reed Hall in a letter to the co-chairs of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee. “The impact of this program is further evidenced by the variety of applications that have been submitted, with projects encompassing everything from rural communities to urban city-centers. WEDC has seen a large influx of projects come through that will provide a considerable boost to their respective communities.”

If fully realized, the amount of historic preservation tax credits allocated this year could result in $180 million in additional economic development in the state, Hall said. However, the large amont of tax credits allocated  demonstrates that need to examine the program’s fiscal impact on the state budget, he said.

“We’re weighing the economic benefit of continuing the tax credits against the budget impact,” said Kelly Lietz, spokesman for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. “We did get to a point that the buget impact (of the tax credits) needs to be considered.”

It is yet to be determined how long the moratorium on the historic preservation tax credits will last.

“That’s hard to say,” Lietz said. “We don’t have a sense of that right now.”

Fifteen projects in southeastern Wisconsin have received state historic tax credits this year, according to the WEDC. Those projects are:

- Rehabilitation of the Machinery Row Building as part of the Rootworks Project in Racine, $9 million tax credit
- Rehabilitation of the Posner Building in Milwaukee, $4.2 million tax credit
- Rehabilitation of the Pritzlaff Building in Milwaukee, $4.1 million tax credit
- Rehabilitation of an 86-year-old office building in Milwaukee, $3.4 million tax credit
- Rehabilitation of the Milwaukee Paper Box building in Milwaukee, $2.7 million tax credit
- Rehabilitation of a Pfister Vogel Tannery building in Milwaukee, $2.2 million tax credit
- Rehabilitation of the building at 700 W. Michigan St., Milwaukee, $1.3 million tax credit
- Rehabilitation of the former Juneau Theatre building on Mitchell Street in Milwaukee, $335,600 tax credit
- Rehabilitation of a building in the North Third Street Historic District by 1818 MLK Drive LLC in Milwaukee, $262,119 tax credit
- Rehabilitation of the Mitchell Building at 207 E. Michigan St. in Milwaukee, $240,000 tax credit
- Rehabilitation of the Best Place building in the former Pabst Brewery complex in Milwaukee, $100,000 tax credit
- Rehabilitation of the Dr. Volney L. Morre house in Waukesha, $26,000 tax credit
- Rehabilitation of the Kelleher-Weber House in Waukesha, $18,000 tax credit
- Rehabilitation of a 112-year-old Johnson Controls office building in Milwaukee, $16,000 tax credit
- Rehabilitation of the Southside Historict District in Racine, $12,493 tax credit

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Home sale prices surge in Kenosha and Racine counties
June 25, 2014 10:52 AM
The median prices of homes sold in Kenosha County and Racine County has increased dramatically this year, according to the latest data from the Wisconsin Realtors Association.

Median home sale prices were up 31.6 percent in Kenosha County in May to $148,250 and up 15.6 percent during first five months of the year to $122,000.

Median home sale prices were up 14.3 percent in Racine County in May to $133,700 and up 14.5 percent during the first five months of the year to $115,000.

Those price increases far outpace the increase in home prices in the entire eight county southeastern Wisconsin region during the same time period. Median home sale prices in the region were up 4.6 percent in May to $160,000 and were up 3.6 percent during the first five months of the year to $145,000.

Only two counties in the region have had home sales price declines this year. Median home sale prices in Washington County were down 6.0 percent in May to $168,000 and down 0.4 percent during the first five months of the year to $169,900. Median home sale prices in Sheboygan County were down 1.5 percent to $127,900 and were down 5.7 percent for the first five months of the year to $115,000.

Despite the rise in prices in the region, sales remain down this year in all eight counties. The number of homes sold in the region in May were down 9.9 percent to 2,390 and the number of homes sold for the first five months of the year were down 9.2 percent to 8,732.

Kenosha County has attracted several businesses in recent years from Illinois, which could be contributing to the home sale price increase there. Kenosha County’s housing market is also influenced by the Chicago housing market, said John Horning, executive vice president of Brookfield-based Shorewest Realtors.

“The Chicago market has been doing well,” Horning said. “As they do well some of the buyers push out into the outer counties. You can get more home for the money (in Kenosha County than in the Chicago area).”

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Groundbreaking ceremony held for Mt. Pleasant business park
June 25, 2014 11:01 AM
A groundbreaking ceremony was held today to celebrate the start of construction for the Land and Lakes at Mount Pleasant Business Park, located near the intersection of Highway 20 and International Drive in Mt. Pleasant.

The developer for the project is Rosemont, Ill.-based Land and Lakes Development Company.

The 60-acre parcel  can accommodate up to four buildings, totaling 770,000 square feet.

The ceremony today celebrated the start of construction of the first building in the business park, which is 132,000 feet, and is expandable. The building will be available for occupancy by the end of the year.

“This is a unique development offering many amenities in an ideal location for new and existing businesses to grow and expand in Wisconsin,” said Gov. Scott Walker. “Located 15 minutes from General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee and less than one hour from O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Land and Lakes at Mount Pleasant Business Park has easy access to two major metropolitan areas.”

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Bakery planned in downtown West Allis
June 25, 2014 10:36 AM
Aggie’s Cakes and Pastries LLC plans to open a bakery at 7326-28 W. Greenfield Ave. in downtown West Allis.

An affiliate company of Aggie’s Cakes and Pastries, which is owned by Adam Purcell, plans to purchase the two story building, accoding to a City of West Allis staff report. The two-story, 9,780-square-foot building was constructed in 2000 and has an assessed value of $382,800, according to city records.

Aggies Cakes and Pastries plans to use 1,000 square feet of the building for retail space and 4,600 square feet of space for production. A second first floor tenant space, of about 1,000 square feet, will be used for a future complementary retail/service use such as a photographer or other wedding industry service professional. A 2,500-square-foot space on the second floor of the building will be used as a co-working business center.

The bakery will have seating for 20 to 30 customers and will have 15 employees initially.

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Gardner Denver already considering expansion plans for HQ
June 25, 2014 09:34 AM
Gardner Denver Inc., which is in the process of moving its corporate headquarters from suburban Philadelphia to Milwaukee, is already considering future expansion plans here, according to Luis de Leon, chief executive officer of the firm’s Industrials Group.

Gardner Denver currently has about 25 employees in Milwaukee, which is now the corporate headquarters for the company and the headquarters for its Industrials Group. Initially the company plans to grow the Milwaukee headquarters to about 40 employees.

“We are actively recruiting a team here,” said de Leon. “We’ve got 25 now. We will grow to about 40 and that will give us enough people for the headquarters. Then we will see how things work and decide what else we could bring here.”

One possibility the company is considering for Milwaukee is the creation of a training center.

“We have ideas (for the Milwaukee headquarters),” de Leon said. “We’re going to evaluate each of them.”

The company’s medical division will remain based in Germany “for now,” de Leon said. Its energy division is based in Houston and will likely remain there, he said.

But the corporate headquarters in Milwaukee could grow to “a couple hundred people” in two to three years if a training center is established and other functions are moved here, de Leon said, but no firm plans have been established.

Gardner Denver, a manufacturer of industrial compressors, blowers, pumps, loading arms and fuel systems, is a Fortune 1000 company with annual revenue of about $2.4 billion and more than 6,000 employees worldwide. The company was established in Quincy, Ill. in 1859.
The company still has manufacturing and back office functions, including engineering and finance, in Quincy. Some of the back office operations could also eventually be moved to Milwaukee, de Leon said.

Gardner moved its corporate headquarters to the Philadelphia area in 2010 saying it needed to be based in a major metropolitan area.

Last year the company opened an office at 222 E. Erie St. in the Historic Third Ward in Milwaukee when Milwaukee business executive Tim Sullivan, the former chief executive officer of South Milwaukee-based Bucyrus International Inc., became the president and CEO of Gardner Denver.

The company occupies one and a half floors in the Third Ward building but will likely need to relocate if it grows the headquarters beyond its initial plans of about 40 employees.

“It’s getting to the point that we’re already pretty tight,” de Leon said. “It’s already getting pretty packed.”

If the office is relocated it will likely remain in the downtown area, he said.

“We like where we are,” de Leon said. “The employees enjoy everything the Third Ward has to offer.”


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Northwestern Mutual unveils new renderings for HQ project
June 25, 2014 09:23 AM
Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. unveiled some new renderings today for its 1.1 million-square-foot, 32-story Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons project at its corporate headquarters in downtown Milwaukee.

Click here to see the new renderings for the $450 million project.

New Haven, Conn.-based Pickard Chilton is the design architect for the project. Houston-based Kendall/Heaton Associates is the architect of record for the project. Chicago-based Valerio Dewalt Train Associates is the interior architect for the project.

The new building will replace a 16-story, 452,000-square-foot building that has been torn down. A demolition crew last week eliminated the final vertical portion of the building. Rogers, Minn.-based specialty contracting and waste management firm Veit, which has a Milwaukee-area office in New Berlin, is the project manager for the building demolition project.

Construction work is expected to begin later this year, after the final demolition work is done, and the new building is expected to be completed in 2017.

A team of Gilbane Building Co. and Milwaukee-based C.G. Schmidt Inc. is the general contractor for the project.

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Merged utility keeping options open for HQ site
June 25, 2014 09:20 AM
Wisconsin Energy Corp. announced this week that it plans to acquire Integrys Energy Group Inc. for $9.1 billion in cash and stock, creating WEC Energy Group Inc., the eighth largest natural gas distributor in the country.

Wisconsin Energy Corp. said it plans to keep its corporate headquarters in the “metropolitan Milwaukee area” once the deal is completed, but didn’t commit to a City of Milwaukee headquarters. Wisconsin Energy Corp. is currently headquartered at 221 W. Michigan St. in downtown Milwaukee.

“At this point all we know is that accommodating a headquarters for us, a combined company, is going to have an impact on our space,” said Rick White, vice president of corporate communications at Wisconsin Energy Corp. “We’ll have operational headquarters in the city as we do now, Green Bay and Chicago. But just looking at our current facilities and what we have now, what we might need, we just don’t know.”

White said he expects WEC Energy will be bringing employees of the combined company to the headquarters, but isn’t sure yet how many might be transferred to or hired in the Milwaukee area. The deal isn’t expected to close and pass regulatory approval until summer 2015.

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Kohl’s buys two more Menomonee Falls buildings
June 25, 2014 09:28 AM
Menmonee Falls-based Kohl’s Corp. continues to execute a strategy of expanding its corporate headquarters by purchasing existing nearby buildings rather than building new.

Kohl’s recently purchased a pair of buildings from Ultra Tool and Manufacturing Inc., a 31,720-square-foot building at W168 N5900 Ridgewood Dr. for $1.74 million, and a 42,746-square-foot building at W169 N5954 Ridgewood Dr. for $2.35 million, according to state records.

“These buildings will house operational functions in the short term, and will allow for potential expansion in the future,” said Kohl’s spokeswoman Kristen Cunningham.

The two properties have a total of 7.7 acres and are located just north of Kohl’s corporate headquarters at N56 W17000 Ridgewood Dr.

Ultra Tool and Manufacturing plans to move its operations to Germantown, where it purchased the former Forrer Supply facility at W194 N11811 McCormick Dr. Ultra Tool and Manufacturing plans to expand the 41,800-square-foot facility, increasing it to 84,820 square feet.

Kohl’s had planned to build a $250 million, 900,000-square-foot second corporate campus in the Woodland Prime office park in Menomonee Falls, but dropped those plans last year.

Instead of building a new corporate campus, Kohl's in late 2013 purchased two buildings in Menomonee Falls to help meet its expansion needs: the 300,000-square-foot former InnoWare building at W165 N5830 Ridgewood Dr., which the company bought for $15.2 million; and the 28,000-square-foot former ProHealth Care medical building at W165 N5595 Creekwood Crossing, which the company bought for $2.5 million. The company bought the former InnoWare building to house its IT workers and it bought the former ProHealth Care building to be used as an employee wellness center and fitness facility.

Also, last year the company acquired the 53,000-square-foot 800 Woodland Prime building at W127 N7564 Flint Dr. in the Woodland Prime office park in Menomonee Falls, about 4.5 miles from its headquarters.

Earlier this year the company bought a vacant 6 acre site on Davian Drive, near the Kohl’s headquarters, for $1.25 million.

Kohl’s now has nearly a dozen facilities in Menomonee Falls and on the far northwest side of Milwaukee.

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Construction begins for Mequon Town Center
June 25, 2014 09:31 AM
WiRED Properties and Shaffer Development have begun construction of the $19 million Mequon Town Center mixed-use development at the northwest corner of Mequon and Cedarburg roads in Mequon. WiRED and Shaffer announced Thursday that they have closed on a $13.4 million construction loan for the project with BMO Harris Bank.

The development will be comprised of five buildings and a central parking lot. Two four-story mixed-use buildings will have 28 luxury apartments on the upper levels and ground-floor retail space. There will be a two-story restaurant building at the corner of Mequon and Cedarburg roads and a two-story commercial building along Mequon Road. The existing gas station building on the site will be moved to a new location and will be converted into the new home of an American Legion post.

So far 75 percent of the 36,640 square feet of retail and commercial space in the project has been leased. The tenants will include: a Colectivo café, the Lowlands Group’s Café Hollander, Ruby Tap, Sola Salon, Elements Massage, Health in Balance and Supercuts.

“At Mequon Town Center, we have created a community that emphasizes local residents, local businesses, and local business-people,” said Blair Williams, WiRED Properties president. “We have created a new way for Mequon to live, and a new concentration of civic identity. This is the new heart of the community.”

About 5,000 square feet of retail space and 3,600 square feet of office space remains available for lease.

The average size of the apartments in the project will be more than 1,700 square feet and rents will start at $2,200.

Mayer Helminiak Architects is the designer for the project and Rinka Chung Architects did the design work for the Café Hollander building.

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Niagara Bottling buys Pleasant Prairie site for nearly $3 million
June 25, 2014 09:25 AM
Ontario, Calif.-based Niagara Bottling LLC recently purchased a 22.8-acre site in Pleasant Prairie where it plans to build a $56 million, 377,000-square-foot plant.

Niagara Bottling bought the site, located at 11031 88th Ave. in the LakeView Corporate Park, from Oak Brook, Ill.-based Centerpoint Wispark Land Company for $2.98 million, according to state records.

The facility will package and distribute private label water for customers as well as the Niagara label. It is expected to open in early 2015.

The plant initially will include one production line with the option for installing additional lines in the future. The $56 million project is expected to create about 40 jobs in the first phase.

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Wangard buys site for Wauwatosa apartment development
June 25, 2014 10:34 AM
An affiliate of Wangard Partners Inc. recently purchased a 9.4-acre site at 1201/1215 N. 62nd St. in Wauwatosa for $2.265 million from an affiliate of Northbrook, Ill.-based Learsi & Co. Inc., according to state records.

The site was formerly occupied by a Western Metals plant.

Wangard plans to develop a six-building, 169-unit apartment complex on the site. A groundbreaking ceremony for the project will be held on July 17.

The project is called The Reef. The site is located along the Schoonmaker Reef, a 425 million-year-old fossilized reef that is a national historic landmark. The apartment development will provide public access to the Schoonmaker Reef.

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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 Andrew.Weiland@biztimes.com or call him at (414) 277-8181, ext. 120.

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