Century City 1 building fully leased, owners say

Officials hope milestone means more development for Century City business park

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Five years after its construction was completed, the Century City 1 building in the Century City business park on Milwaukee’s northwest side is 100% leased, the building’s owners announced today.

Century City 1 is a 53,400-square-foot industrial building located southwest of West Capitol Drive and North 31st Street in the business park, created by the city of Milwaukee at the former A.O. Smith manufacturing complex site.

The building is now home to five tenants, including startup Craft Beverage Warehouse, urban farm Hundred Acre, and established Milwaukee companies including Klein-Dickert Glass, B83 Testing and Engineering and Good City Brewing.

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Century City 1 was built on a speculative basis by the city of Milwaukee and Fox Point-based General Capital Group. In 2015, the Milwaukee Economic Development Corp. approved a loan of up to $3.5 million (about $3 million was ultimately drawn on the loan) to help finance construction of the building, which was completed in 2016.

An ownership group led by Dan Katt of Good City Brewing acquired the building in 2018. The group assumed nearly $3.3 million in debt (including the $3 million loan and a $236,000 loan from the city’s Redevelopment Authority tied to the land) and paid $35,000 to acquire the ownership interest in the building from a city of Milwaukee entity and General Capital Group, which each invested $400,000 to develop the building. The city and General Capital split the $35,000 payment, leaving each with a $382,500 loss on the investment.

Katt said in a statement that interest in the building picked up earlier this year.

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“We felt it was important to market the building ourselves and talk directly with prospective tenants to tell the story of the building and what our experience has been,” Katt said. “Once the (COVID-19) pandemic started to subside in early 2021, the interest level for the space sky-rocketed and the building filled very quickly. There is much more demand for modern industrial space in this part of the city than there is supply.”

Good City Brewing announced four years ago its plans to move to Century City from the East Side.

Most of the business park remains vacant. Katt said the filling of his building will hopefully translate to more development.

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He said his group is talking with companies interested in relocating or adding operations at Century City. It is also “actively exploring financing opportunities for future development.”

“I’m pleased that this portion of Century City is realizing the great potential the entire site has,” Mayor Tom Barrett said in a statement. “The neighborhood is well connected to workforce and transportation, and forward-thinking companies are finding opportunities at Century City.”

The city spent $24.8 million to create Century City through tax incremental financing. The TIF district has struggled, and required assistance from other overperforming districts to help pay off its debts the city incurred.

Strass Brands LLC once planned to move to the Century City business park from Franklin. But the Milwaukee Common Council rejected the proposal. Franklin officials later endorsed a new Strauss Brands facility.

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