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Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Decision could finally be near for area’s FBI office
July 30, 2014 10:27 AM
After more than three years of considering plans to relocate the Milwaukee office for the FBI, the federal government could finally be near a decision about where to locate the office, sources say.

The Milwaukee FBI office is currently located in an 80,000-square-foot space in the Plaza East Office Center, a multi-tenant office complex at 330 E. Kilbourn Ave. in downtown Milwaukee.

The federal government’s General Services Administration is considering plans to relocate the Milwaukee FBI office. The office needs 80,000 to 100,000 square feet of space that meets modern federal security standards, ideally located in a standalone building with significant setbacks.

Three developers are known to be competing for the Milwaukee FBI office:

- Boca Raton, Fla.-based Proacci Development Corp. which has submitted plans to purchase, renovate and lease a 105,000-square-foot building at W180 N7950 Town Hall Road in Menomonee Falls to the FBI.

- Milwaukee-based Mark Partners LLC, which submitted plans to purchase and lease the three-story, 103,553-square-foot office building at 440 S. Executive Dr. in Brookfield to the FBI.

- Las Vegas-based Molasky Group of Companies, which submitted plans to purchase and lease the 82,546-square-foot Stark Investments building at 3600 S. Lake Dr. in St. Francis to the FBI.

The GSA could also decide to keep the FBI office in downtown Milwaukee.

A decision is expected in a few weeks, according to sources.

If the federal government makes a decision on the FBI office it would likely be one of the largest office space lease deals of the year in the Milwaukee area.

“This is a big deal,” said Mike Judson, president of Judson & Associates, which is representing Proacci Development Corp.


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IT firm to move from Mt. Pleasant to Kenosha
July 30, 2014 10:43 AM
Vantage Point Corp., a rapidily-growing IT firm, will move from Mt. Pleasant to a larger space in Kenosha.

The business, which was founded in 2006, is currently located in a 2,300-square-foot space at 5720 Taylor Ave. in Mt. Pleasant. It will move in early September to a 5,760-square-foot space at 5700 77th St. in Kenosha.

Vantage Point is a direct technology provider or direct marketing reseller. The firm added a hardware, and some software, sales division in 2010. That division took off in 2012 and this year is expected to have $20 million in sales said co-owner Nick Preuss. The firm’s other co-owner is Ryan Sorensen.

The growth of the hardware and software sales division in leading to a major increase in employment for company, which currently has about 20 employees and has been added two to three employees each month recently, Preuss said. The company plans to have more than 30 employees by the end of the year and 50 to 75 employees next year.

Vantage Point Corp. is a first year winner of the MMAC/COSBE Future 50 award this year.

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Pleasant Prairie Plan Commission backs plans for Costco store
July 30, 2014 10:33 AM
The Pleasant Prairie Plan Commission voted unanimously to support Costco Wholesale Corp.’s plans to build a 153,962-square-foot store on a 17.5-acre site at 7775 94th Ave.

The site is located south of Highway 50, within the Prairie Ridge development next to St. Catherine’s Medical Center and a Holiday Inn Express and Suites hotel.

Costco plans to have 150 employees at the store, half of which will be full time employees.
Construction is expected to begin in the fall and be complete in late summer of 2015.
Costco also has plans to build stores in New Berlin and Menomonee Falls and currently has stores in Grafton and Pewaukee.

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Groundbreaking ceremony next week for new Good Harvest Market store
July 30, 2014 10:35 AM
A groundbreaking ceremony will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 5, to celebrate the start of construction for a new 23,000-square-foot Good Harvest Market organic grocery store a quarter of a mile west of the store’s existing 12,000-square-foot store at 1850 Meadow Lane in Waukesha.

The new store will be built on four acres of a 23-acre site on the south side of Silvernail Road, west of Marshview Street. Two acres of the site will be reserved for future mixed-use development. The remaining 17 acres of the site will remain as wetlands conservancy.

The new market will double the produce, seafood, health and beauty and wellness departments at Good Harvest Market, enlarge its prepared foods offerings and triple the amount of space available to provide more bulk sales.

Good Harvest Market expects to increase employment by 40 to 50 percent in the new store from the current 50 or so employees.

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New MU basketball coach buys Mequon home
July 30, 2014 10:37 AM
Steve Wojciechowski, the new coach of the Marquette University men’s basketball team, recently purchased a home at 9611 N. Columbia Dr. in Mequon for $1.325 million, according to state records.

The home was sold by Syed Hussaini. It has five bedrooms, seven bathroooms, a 3.5-car garage, and sits on a 2.1-acre site. The 7,945-square-foot home was built in 1993.

Wojciechowski was hired by Marquette earlier this year to take over for Buzz Williams, who left Marquette for Virginia Tech.

Wojciechowski played on the Duke University men’s basketball team from 1994-98 and was an assistant coach for the team since 1999 until he was hired by Marquette.

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Luxury apartment tower planned at Kilbourn and Van Buren
July 30, 2014 10:55 AM
Chicago-based Carroll Properties Inc. plans to build a 32- to 33-story luxury apartment building, with up to 270 units, at a site northeast of Van Buren Street and Kilbourn Avenue in downtown Milwaukee.

The site was formerly occupied by an Edwardo’s restaurant and is where New Land Enterprises LLP and later developers Tim Gokhman and Ann Shuk had planned to build a high rise apartment development called Bookends. But the Bookends project never moved forward.

Carroll Properties has a contract to purchase the site from Bookends Group LLC, said Bob King, president of Carroll Properties. That deal is expected to close by the end of the year, he said.

Carroll Properties hopes to break ground in the first quarter of 2015 on its planned apartment tower for the site. It would take 12 to 18 months to build, King said.

The site is zoned for a 244-unit apartment development, so Carroll Properties will need a zoning amendment to build 270 units there, King said. So far city officials have been receptive to the plans, he said.

“The city officials couldn’t be more nice, receptive and helpful, which we find refreshing,” King said. Carroll Properties is not seeking a subsidy for the project, he said.

Chicago-based FitzGerald Associates is the architect for the project.

The building will have numerous high end amenities, King said, including: bike storage, a dog wash, a business center, a business incubator, a barber and beauty salon, a theater, a fitness center, a sport court for basketball and volleyball (and other sports and activities), a computer gaming center and a shared patio on one of the upper floors.

“Everything you can think of are trying to put into this building,” King said. “We’re going to try to give, in effect, hotel-type convenience and amenities to our tenants.”

The building will also have about 10,000 square feet of commercial space for retail tenants.

“I can’t image why this would not be a good site for retail traffic,” King said.

For residents the building will provide expansive views of Lake Michigan and downtown Milwaukee.

“I think the views on a 360-degree basis will be spectacular,” King said.

The location is a “walk to everything site,” close to major downtown amenities, employers and other residences, he said.

The city’s apartment market has been robust recently, supporting numerous other recent new apartment developments.

“We think the apartment market is strong in Milwaukee, as it is in the rest of the country,” King said.

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City could help local group redevelop Shops of Grand Avenue
July 30, 2014 10:53 AM
City of Milwaukee officials are considering plans to help a local group of civic and business leaders that plans to purchase and redevelop the Shops of Grand Avenue mall in downtown Milwaukee.

Ald. Robert Bauman, who represents the downtown area, has introduced legislation that would “assist in the financing, acquisition, repurposing and redevelopment” of the mall.

The city has no plans to purchase the mall, but it could provide a loan guarantee or issue bonds backed by the city on behalf of the local group, known as WAM DC LLC (Wisconsin Avenue Milwaukee Development Corp.), said Richard “Rocky” Marcoux, commissioner of the Department of City Development.

WAM DC LLC is in negotiations to purchase the mall from its owner, a subsidiary of Bank of America investors. If it acquires the property, WAM DC plans to repurose the mall into a mix of uses that could include retail space, incubator office space, residences and an educational component.

“We believe the WAM DC group (is working on) a plan that we can back,” said Marcoux. “We believe WAM DC has some very good ideas about how to repurpose the mall. We want to be supportive of the WAM DC concept. We believe this will be successful. The city is positioning itself to make it clear that it supports WAM DC’s efforts.”

City officials have said for years that the struggling mall needs to be repurposed and incorporate different uses. WAM DC could finally make that happen.

“We believe this is an opportunity that should not be missed,” Marcoux said.

The city has already provided a significant amount of tax incremental financing for the mall and adjacent properties and does not intend to increase that amount, Marcoux said. The city wants to get the TIF funds that have been provided for the mall paid off, he said.
In addition, city officials want to see revitalization of West Wisconsin Avenue.

“The city’s main objective here is to restore viable retail on Wisconsin Avenue and to make the best possible use of the buildings between Fourth Street and the (Milwaukee) River,” Marcoux said.

WAM DC was created by a group of volunteers working to come up with a plan to revitalize West Wisconsin Avenue. The group's plans to redevelop the Shops of Grand Avenue are central to that effort. The group includes Stephen Chernof of Godfrey & Kahn, developer Gary Grunau, Mandel Group Inc. chief operating officer Robert Monnat, Greater Milwaukee Committee President Julia Taylor, Marianne Lubar, Kahler Slater CEO George Meyer and developer Ron Sanfilippo.

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Dental Associates to complete move downtown this week
July 30, 2014 10:50 AM
Dental Associates opened its new dental clinic Monday and will complete the move of its corporate headquarters by the end of this week to the Iron Block building in downtown Milwaukee.

The company recently completed a 30-month exterior and interior renovation project for the 154-year-old building at 205 E. Wisconsin Ave.

Dental Associates will have 58 employees working in the building, including 41 in the corporate office and 17 in the dental clinic.

Located at the southeast corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Water Street, the five-floor, 50,000-square-foot building sits at a prominent location in downtown Milwaukee. The building was purchased in 2012 by Dental Associates, which is moving its corporate headquarters there from Wauwatosa.

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Irgens acquires former Venice Club
July 30, 2014 10:47 AM
An affiliate of real estate development firm Irgens has acquired the former Venice Club property in Brookfield, according to state records.

The Venice Club was an iconic Brookfield restaurant, located at 1905 N. Calhoun Road, that closed about a month ago, according to Brookfield Mayor Steve Ponto.

"I think it was the restaurant most identified with the City of Brookfield," Ponto said. "I think all of us were very sad to see the Venice Club close."

The Venice Club opened in 1947 in downtown Milwaukee. It moved to Brookfield in 1983.
The Venice Club has also been a staple at Summerfest for 35 years. The restaurant's Summerfest stand was perhaps best known for its fried eggplant. The Venice Club served a ton of fried eggplant every day at Summerfest, according to the restaurant's website.

The Irgens affiliate acquired the Venice Club property from Pewaukee-based AMR Real Estate LLC in a sheriff's deed on foreclosure action. The value of the real estate transaction was $900,000, according to state records.

Ponto said he does not know what Irgens' plans are for the property, but he said the Venice Club signs have been removed.

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Downtown condo sales and prices on the rise
July 30, 2014 10:51 AM
The number of downtown Milwaukee condominium sales increased by 15 percent to 154 during the first half of the year compared to the first half of 2013, when 134 downtown condos were sold, according to the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors.

That comes after downtown condo sales were up 13 percent in 2013, compared to 2012. Last year was the third year of sales gains after the downtown condo market collapsed from 2008 to 2010.

Average sale prices for downtown Milwaukee condos are up 7 percent for the first half of this year, to $314,316, compared to the first six months of 2013, but they are still far from 2007’s first half average of $417,453 when the market was at its peak, according to the GMAR.

Average sales prices for downtown condos were basically flat (down 0.4 percent) between 2012 ($301,012) and 2013 ($299,671) but that was an improvement after five years of price decreases that ranged from 1 percent (in 2012 and 2009) to 20 percent (in 2008).

There has been little new condo development in downtown Milwaukee in recent years and almost all new housing developments under construction or planned downtown are apartment projects.

“With no supply being added to the downtown condo market, the law of supply and demand would dictate (additional) price increases in the future,” GMAR President Mike Ruzicka said.

The length of time that downtown condo units were on the market was down 42 percent in 2013, compared to 2012, and was down 39 percent in the first half of 2014, compared to the first half of 2013.

“Decreasing days on the market means downtown condos are moving quickly,” Ruzicka said.

GMAR will host a downtown condo open house event on Saturday, Aug. 2, from noon to 4 p.m. The list of the condos on the tour can be found at www.GMAR.com.

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Real estate odds and ends
July 30, 2014 10:42 AM

Storage company plans Pleasant Prairie warehouse expansion
Madison-based Central Storage & Warehouse Co. Inc. plans to build a 64,000-square-foot addition to its 111,712-square-foot food storage and distribution warehouse facility at 7800 95th St. in Pleasant Prairie. The facility current has 17 full time employees. Central Storage plans to add 2 to 3 additional full time warehouse workers and 1 to 2 full time clerical workers as a result of the planned expansion.

Voss Insurance leases space near Cabela’s
Helsan Development Co. LLC announced that Voss Insurance Group has leased 2,850 square feet of space in the 3070 Building, across from the Cabela’s store, in the Helsan Business Park in Richfield. With the addition of Voss Insurance, there are now two lease spaces available in the business park, a 6,950-square-foot office and warehouse space in the 3070 Building and a 2,30-square-foot space in the 3010 Retail Center.

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Leases
July 30, 2014 10:39 AM

NAI MLG Commercial

United Steel Workers leased 2,446 square feet of space and Santa Fe Commuications Inc. leased 1,724 square feet of space at 1126 S. 70th St., West Allis, from 1126 West Allis Operating Associates Limited Partnership.

Siegel-Gallagher

Children’s Medical Group leased 3,542 square feet of office space at 5650 N. Green Bay Ave., Glendale, from Glendale Medical Center LLC.

Thrivent Financials leased 2,226 square feet of office space at 5150 N. Port Washington Road, Glendale, from MG Atrium LLC.

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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 Andrew.Weiland@biztimes.com or call him at (414) 336-7120.


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