Anchor Bank continues to fund First Place on the River

First Place on the River, a 151-unit condominium unit on the Milwaukee River in the Historic Third Ward, filed for receivership earlier this month, but Madison-based Anchor Bank is still funding the project’s construction costs.

Anchor Bank is the largest creditor for the project, holding a $48 million mortgage. The project is about $60 million in debt, said Michael Polsky, a shareholder with the Milwaukee-based law firm Beck, Chaet, Bamberger & Polsky S.C.

Approximately 70 of the 151 units in First Place on the River have not yet been sold, Polsky said.

Sixty-eight condos are currently listed for sale on First Place on the River’s web site. The total of their combined asking prices is $35.7 million.

A court recently approved post-petition financing for the project, which allows Anchor Bank to continue funding ongoing construction. The project’s lobby, docks and boat slips are still under construction, Polsky said. The lobby will be completed in February, while the boat slips and docks will be finished later in the spring.

The ongoing construction costs that are being funded by Anchor Bank are part of the $48 million finance package it is providing to the project. While continuing financing for a project that is in receivership might look foolhardy, it is the bank’s best chance for recovering its costs, Polsky said.

"The best way to maximize (the project’s value) is to complete it as intended in a first-class way and to market the units through professionals that market this type of unit," he said. "The receivership will have no negative impact on the amenities, the quality of construction and the manner in which the project is marketed."

Anchor Bank officials declined to comment for this report.

Also last week, the First Place on the River received approval to finalize the sale of some condos within the development that were under letter of intent, Polsky said.

"We had had three closings this week," he said Friday. "And we have a number of people that can’t wait to move in."

Polsky is helping to coordinate a new marketing plan for the remaining 70 condo units.

"This is a cooperative effort between me, the lender and the city of Milwaukee, to make this project successful," he said.

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