Blue Ribbon Lofts receives equity financing

National City Bank and Great Lakes Capital Fund are each providing about $4.8 million in equity financing.

Cleveland, Ohio-based National City Bank announced this week that its National City Community Development Corp. is providing $4.8 million in equity financing for the Blue Ribbon Lofts Apartments project, which is being developed by Madison-based Gorman & Company Inc. at the former Pabst brewery site in downtown Milwaukee. The project is also receiving about $4.8 million in equity financing from Lansing, Mich.-based Great Lakes Capital Fund. The $15.8 million project is also receiving federal low income housing tax credits, federal rehabilitations tax credits and state historic tax credits.

"We purchased $4.8 million of tax credits. So, we are a 49 percent equity partner in the limited liability partnership with Great Lakes Capital Fund and Gorman & Company," said Terri Wilson, vice president of corporate media relations for National City. "No one else had wanted to do this project. There apparently was some difficulty in getting the financing. The tax credits always provide a really unique opportunity in these type of situations. It just so happens that the executive director of our National City Community Development (Corporation), he is the president and serves on the Great Lakes Capital Fund board. And so we needed another financing partner and investor to help with the equity on this project and that’s how Great Lakes came to Milwaukee, it was through National City’s relationship with them."

Gorman & Company is transforming the former Keg House building, located at 901 W. Winnebago St., at the former Pabst brewery site into a 95-unit mixed income apartment building with some market rate apartments and some units that will be affordable to families and individuals making 50 to 60 percent of the area’s median income. The development will serve local artists, entrepreneurs and others with live-work units and with amenities such as a music studio, artists’ workspaces and galleries, a business center, conference rooms, a fitness center and a theater/presentation space.

Construction for the project began in March and is expected to be completed around the end of the year. The former Pabst brewery complex is being transformed into a mixed-use urban neighborhood by Zilber Ltd. founder Joseph Zilber, who is selling some of the buildings in the complex to other developers, such as Gorman.

National City Bank entered the Milwaukee market last year, when it acquired MAF Bancorp Inc., the parent company of MidAmerica Bank that had acquired St, Francis Capital Corp., the former parent company of St. Francis Bank, in 2003. National City Bank says it is Milwaukee’s fifth largest bank.

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