Aloft hotel developers may be close to obtaining financing

The developers for a proposed 160-room Aloft hotel northeast of West Juneau Avenue and North Old World Third Street along the Milwaukee River in downtown Milwaukee may be close to obtaining financing for the project.

The Wisconsin Community Development Legacy Fund, a partnership of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA), Milwaukee-based Legacy Bancorp and Impact Seven Inc. has approved a $10 million allocation of new markets tax credits for the $40 million Aloft hotel development, according to a WHEDA news release.

In addition Allison Rozek, senior planner with the Department of City Development, told the city’s Redevelopment Authority last week that, "the developer (for the Aloft hotel) is now in the process of closing on the project’s construction loans." The Redevelopment Authority voted to approve a cost sharing plan for construction of a riverwalk segment along the property. The city will provide tax incremental financing (TIF) funds to cover 70 percent of the riverwalk costs, 70 percent of the costs of a public plaza on the property and 50 percent of the costs of a dockwall.

The developers for the project are Rob Ruvin and David Florsheim. The project has been delayed since last year. However the delays have been a result of design changes and the length of the approval process, not the credit crunch that has made it difficult for developers to obtain financing for projects, Ruvin and Florsheim said.

Originally the project included office space and residential condos. Advertising and marketing firm Kramer-Crasselt planned to move its Milwaukee offices to the building, but later backed out because of the construction delays. Then Ruvin and Florsheim developers dropped the office space from the project and earlier this year eliminated the condos from the project.

Florsheim and Ruvin said they hope to have their construction loan closed "shortly" and plan to begin construction as soon as possible, but they declined to provide additional details.

Florsheim said they are talking to a "national bank" for the financing, but declined to name the institution.

Construction of the riverwalk segment along the property should be completed by the fall of next year, Rozek said.

In addition to the 160-room hotel, the five story building will also have 3,200 square feet of retail space.

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