Chase Tower is for sale

The 22-story Chase Tower, the third largest office building in downtown Milwaukee, is for sale, according to Milwaukee commercial real estate sources.

The 472,507-square-foot building is located along the Milwaukee River and southwest of Wisconsin Avenue and Water Street at 111 E. Wisconsin Ave. It is owned by Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management Inc.’s Brookfield Real Estate Opportunity Group, which in 2006 purchased the building and several others from J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

The building has an assessed value of $28.6 million, or about $60.52 per square foot, according to city records.

One commercial real estate source said that Brookfield Real Estate Opportunity Group has spent about $19 million on improvements to the building and appears eager to sell it.

“It’s just been a money pit for them,” the source said. “They’re huge. It’s not like they can’t handle it. I think they’re just tired (of owning the building).”

Another commercial real estate source said selling the building is a good move for Brookfield Real Estate Opportunity Group.

“I’m a shareholder. I like their strategy to dump this turkey,” the source said. “I wasn’t happy it was in the portfolio they bought in ’06 but the portfolio came with some gems.”

Chase Tower is considered a class B office building in the downtown Milwaukee office market. By comparison, the 35-story, 432,092-square-foot 100 East Wisconsin Ave. building, which is considered a class office building, was sold last year by Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. to Newton, Mass.-based CommonWealth REIT for $81.3 million, or about $188.15 per square foot.

“There’s no way (Chase Tower) trades for more than $100 (per square foot),” one source said. “It’s probably between $60 to $80 (per square foot), if I had to guess.”

The building, constructed by Marine Bank in 1961, was the first modern high-rise office building in downtown Milwaukee.

“It’s a great asset,” one commercial real estate source said. “They do have some nice spaces and some good views up there.”

The building has an occupancy rate of about 80 percent, according to a commercial real estate source. J.P. Morgan Chase occupies 240,000 square feet, Infinity HealthCare occupies 60,000 square feet and Milwaukee Public Radio WUWM occupies 20,000 square feet, according to the source.

Jaime Fink, senior managing director for Holliday Fenoglio Fowler L.P. is handling the sale for Brookfield Real Estate Opportunity Group.

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