Cobalt Partners acquires site for West Allis development

Developer purchases nine properties for $11.75 million

A rendering of Cobalt Partners LLC’s West Quarter project.

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 04:47 pm

Milwaukee-based Cobalt Partners LLC on Friday completed its acquisition of nine parcels along the 70th Street corridor in West Allis related to its planned West Quarter project. The development firm paid a total of $11.75 million for the properties.

A rendering of Cobalt Partners LLC’s West Quarter project. (Credit: Courtesy Cobalt Partners)

The acquisition includes eight properties on the west side of 70th Street, which an affiliate of Cobalt acquired from the school district for $7.25 million, said Scott Yauck, Cobalt president and chief executive officer. The other property on the east side of the street, the former site of Allis-Chalmers’ offices, was purchased from a New Mexico investor for $4.5 million, Yauck added.

The West Quarter mixed-use development plan consists of 300,000 square feet of office space, 140,000 square feet of educational/institutional uses, 18,000 square feet of retail and a 128-room hotel over 23 acres. Here, Cobalt envisions at the development site a transit-oriented, amenity-rich district focused on industry, education and innovation woven into a, urban, live-work-play fabric.

Yauck said the “high-density, amenity-rich redevelopment will redefine and reactivate the 70th Street corridor and catalyze the new, emerging brand for the city of West Allis in a bold and tangible way.”

The hotel will be branded as a Home2 Suites, according to development plans filed earlier this year with the city.

Development plans consist of making renovations to the former school district-owned building, including a new facade and interior renovations, relocating the existing tenants from the east-side property to the newly renovated school property, demolishing the building on the eastern parcel and redeveloping the remaining vacant land on both sides of 70th Street.

The project includes a planned $4.6 million worth of upgrades and tenant build-out to 125,000 square feet of existing office space, 18 acres of developable land in the heart of West Allis and the preservation and relocation of the existing McKinley Park.

Financing for the project includes $7.2 million in tax increment financing from the city, with future TIF support for vertical development, as well as $15.8 million in new market tax credits. Since the project is partly located in an Economic Opportunity Zone, Cobalt has also formed the West Quarter Opportunity Zone Fund to attract investment to the area. Additionally, charitable contributions were made to the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp., West Allis Community Improvement Foundation, Midwest Bikeshare Inc. and Beyond Vision (Wiscraft Inc.).

The initial project budget of approximately $25 million consists of property acquisition, renovations and demolition work, and excludes the construction of the hotel and all new vertical development.

“This project is more evidence that developers are seeing the value of the West Allis community,” West Allis Mayor Dan Devine said in a statement. “With our convenient location between Milwaukee and Waukesha developers such as Cobalt realize what an ideal location for successful development West Allis offers.”

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Alex Zank
Alex Zank covers commercial and residential real estate for BizTimes. Alex previously worked for Farm Equipment magazine and also covered statewide construction news at The Daily Reporter. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he studied journalism, political science and economics. Having grown up in rural western Wisconsin, Alex loves all things outdoors, including camping, hiking, four-wheeling and hunting.