Chicago firm buys West Wisconsin Avenue office building

Plans $15 million project to renovate and convert it into apartments

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A Chicago-based developer has purchased an office tower on West Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Milwaukee with plans to convert it into 144 apartments.

735 W. Wisconsin Ave.

3L Real Estate bought the 12-story building at 735 W. Wisconsin Ave. from Zilber Ltd. for an undisclosed price. The company is planning a $15 million conversion and renovation project of the 110,000-square-foot building.

“735 West’s proximity to (Marquette) University, the lakefront, retail and restaurants render it perfect for conversion to residential use,” said Joe Slezak, CEO of 3L. “At the same time, we are confident that the building will benefit the surrounding neighborhood.”

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BizTimes reported in November that 3L Real Estate had the building under contract and was planning to convert it into apartments but had to first negotiate with existing tenants.

At the time, the Class B office tower was about 40 percent occupied, according to sources. It is assessed by the city of Milwaukee at $3.2 million. Tenants included Eye Care Specialists, Miller & Miller law firm, Securitas Security Services and the Schiro & Zarzynski law firm.

John Kersey, executive vice president of Zilber LTD, said he is eager to see 3L transform the space into a community asset.

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“This structure stands in the heart of Westown, amidst a vibrant and growing mix of retail, dining, entertainment and institutional activity that draw people to the area,” Kersey said.

The studio and one-bedroom apartment rents are expected to start at $900 per month. Renters will be within walking distance of the new Milwaukee Bucks entertainment district, Marquette University and the downtown Milwaukee transit system.

Wells Fargo Bank will remain on the first floor though the conversion. 3L plans to add additional retail space on the ground floor.

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Building amenities will include bike storage, free internet, condo‐style apartment finishes, a fitness center and more when the apartments are delivered.

Construction is set to begin this summer with completion anticipated in summer of 2018.

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