American Family joint venture acquires Mandel building in Milwaukee

Building and nearby parking lot sold for $9.6 million

Mandel building
Mandel building. Photo courtesy of American Family Insurance

Last updated on March 17th, 2020 at 01:32 pm

The joint venture that will redevelop the former Mandel building into American Family Insurance Group’s new downtown Milwaukee office has purchased the building and a nearby parking lot for $9.6 million.

According to state records posted this week, Milwaukee AMBROZ LLC acquired the building at 1311-1325 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and the parking lot at 1402 N. Vel R. Phillips Drive late last week.

The building has an assessed value of $2.3 million and the parking lot was assessed at $134,499, according to city of Milwaukee records.

Madison-based American Family announced earlier this month it had selected the Mandel building for its new Milwaukee office, where it planned to place 400 workers.

American Family said then that the building would be owned by a joint venture between the company and the building’s current owners, MB Acquisition LLC. MB Acquisition is operated by Milwaukee-based Van Buren Management Inc. president Joel Lee and vice president Daniel Lee.

An American Family spokeswoman confirmed on Thursday that Milwaukee AMBROZ is the name of the joint venture. American Family will pay to renovate and expand the building, which could include adding floors onto the five-story structure. The lot will be used for parking for the building.

American Family will lease the building once it has been redeveloped, and will have an option to either purchase it or extend its lease after 10 years.

The next steps for the development team include meeting with prospective architects and general contractors. American Family will be issuing a request for proposals “in the near future” to formally select those firms, the spokeswoman said.

Detailed planning is underway to determine what the redevelopment will specifically entail. American Family said construction should begin 6 months to a year after an architect is hired, with the project expecting to take 2-3 years.

Once the work is completed, American Family will move 200 to 250 employees into the building from its Pewaukee office. The company will sell the Pewaukee building once it is vacated.

American Family will also create 150 new positions to be based in the new Milwaukee office. Those employees will work in functions such as technology and data science, community investments and partnerships, and sales and agent recruitment.

The office building will also contain a public space called DreamBank, which will host community events and have staff and resources to help people pursue their personal aspirations.

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Alex Zank, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.

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