CRE Spotlight: Fullhouse Media to move to Fifth Ward

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 10:59 am

Fullhouse Media Inc. plans to move its headquarters from Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward four blocks southwest to 24,000 square feet of office space in a former Transpak Corp. building.

The company will occupy the upper two floors of the four-story building at the southeast corner of East Pittsburgh Avenue and South Barclay Street.

Fullhouse’s headquarters are currently located in 19,000 square feet of space at 207 N. Milwaukee St. in the Third Ward. The company, an interactive marketing agency, is growing and needs a larger and more efficient space, said Fullhouse chairman Glenn Kleiman.

The company has added 26 employees this year at its headquarters, bringing total employment there to 88.

Fullhouse provides interactive marketing services, including web site management, live interactive experiences (including numerous bar promotions for MillerCoors LLC) and digital signage.

“We’ve grown tremendously in the last year or so,” Kleiman said. “A lot of marketing that had been spent on traditional media is moving more toward the interactive space, so we’re getting a bigger share of the marketing budget.”

Fullhouse has been in the Third Ward for 20 years, seeing it transform into one of Milwaukee’s hottest development areas. The company sees similar potential across the Milwaukee River in its future neighborhood in the Fifth Ward/Walker’s Point area.

“It’s an old building that has a lot of character,” Kleiman said. “And the neighborhood has a lot of potential.”

The building that Fullhouse plans to move to is part of a six-acre site, located south of Pittsburgh Avenue between Barclay and South Water Street, that is being redeveloped by Milwaukee-based Lighthouse Development Company LLC into a mixed-use urban neighborhood called South Water Works. The company purchased the site from Transpak, which leased it back for two years and then moved to a new facility in Franklin.

At South Water Works, Lighthouse wants to create a mixed-use urban environment similar to the Third Ward. In recent years, the development wave from the Third Ward has begun to cross the Milwaukee River into the area around the South Water Works site.

“We see ourselves as an extension of the Third Ward,” said Lighthouse member Tom DeMuth. “We want to keep that feeling going (across the river). We had this property under contact for three years and we were worried that we were going to be pioneers (in the neighborhood). But the area has grown up around us.”

Demolition and construction work began on the site earlier this year, and Lighthouse recently received a $500,000 brownfield grant from the state for the project. Lighthouse has also received historical tax credits for a portion of the project, and is applying for additional historical tax credits.

Lighthouse is restoring the 86-year-old, five-story historic building at 235 E. Pittsburgh Ave., and adding a four-story addition to the building, to create a 55-unit apartment building. The apartments will have 750 to 1,200 square feet of space. Two thirds will have one bedroom and one-third will have two bedrooms. Rents will be between $1,050 and $1,680. Construction of the building, and its addition, is expected to be complete in spring of 2009.

The 73-year-old, four-story building at the corner of Pittsburgh and Barclay, where Fullhouse Media is moving to, will be renovated into 35,000 square feet of office space and 10,000 square feet of retail space. A four-story addition, with 40 apartments, will be built onto the building to the south along Barclay. The apartments will have 750 to 1,200 square feet of space and rents will cost between $1,087 and $1,740. The building, and its addition, is expected to be complete next summer.

A building between the 235 E. Pittsburgh building and the future Fullhouse building was demolished by Lighthouse, creating space for a new road through the property. Lighthouse also plans to extend Oregon Street through the property, which was closed off decades ago. The buildings in the project will surround a central courtyard which will be used for green space and parking.

In a later phase of the project, Lighthouse plans to redevelop a former Beck Carton building along Oregon Street. The vacant five-story, 87,000-square-foot building is about 70 years old and will be converted into office space or residences.

Three non-historic buildings, ranging from 15,000 to 7,000 square feet of space, on the east side of the property are also available to tenants. A variety of tenants are showing interest, DeMuth said, including a retailer and an entertainment venue. The space could also still be used as industrial space. One of the buildings has high ceilings and cranes.

“All of these buildings (in the development) are in great shape,” DeMuth said.

On the higher floors of the historic buildings in the development tenants and residents in South Water Works will have views of the surrounding neighborhood, the downtown skyline, the Milwaukee River and Lake Michigan.

The apartments will feature quality amenities including granite counter tops and wood floors.

“I think we’re delivering a great product,” DeMuth said. “And at night the area is really cool. There’s a lot of energy on the street here.”

Lighthouse plans to obtain LEED certification for some if not all of the redeveloped buildings in South Water Works, largely because of the adaptive re-use of buildings in a former brownfield property. The addition of new mechanical and lighting systems will also help the project gain LEED certification, DeMuth said.

Environmentally friendly “green” buildings are becoming more in demand from tenants, making the LEED certification valuable, DeMuth said.

“(Green building aspects) is something a lot of our prospective users are demanding,” DeMuth said. “It’s very important to them to portray the right image to their clients.”

Developers need to respond to that demand, he said.

“It’s less costly to do (the project) non-green,” DeMuth said. “But we tend to hold the buildings we develop. (The green building trend) could be even more important in 10 to 15 years down the road, and then you might not be able to sell it (without LEED certification). The energy savings benefit the tenants, not the owner so much. But if tenants demand it, why not deliver it?”


Jim and Judy Semrad, who have owned the Sentry grocery store at W189 S7847 Racine Ave. since it was built in 1995, have become Piggy Wiggly franchisees and recently converted the store to a Piggly Wiggly store. The Piggly Wiggly chain is owned by Sheboygan-based Fresh Brands Distributing Inc. A few years ago, Fresh Brands was a struggling publicly held company on the verge of bankruptcy. Several Piggly Wiggly stores were closed, including one on the east side of Muskego. Fresh Brands went private in 2006, and last year, chief executive officer Paul Butera bought out the other owners of the company to gain sole control. Now the company is growing again, Jim Semrad said. “They’ve really turned everything around,” he said. Piggy Wiggly and Sentry, owned by Eden Prairie, Minn.-based SuperValu Inc., have similar food quality, but Fresh Brands reduced its wholesale prices to help its retail franchisees, Semrad said. Therefore, he will be able to sell groceries at lower prices as a Piggly Wiggly store than as a Sentry store. So far customers are appreciative, Semrad said. “Since (the change to Piggly Wiggly) we’ve been booming,” he said. There are fewer than 30 Sentry stores in the state now, compared with 94 Piggly Wiggly stores Wisconsin and northern Illinois, giving Fresh Brands stronger buying power, Semrad said.

Pleasant Prairie

Milwaukee-based Towne Investments announced that it will begin construction of two speculative industrial buildings, an 82,104-square-foot building and a 51,540-square-foot building, in the LakeView Corporate Park in Pleasant Prairie. Construction is expected to be complete in December. The buildings will be available for sale or lease and will be marketed by John Shapre, Rick Delisle and Sergio Chapa from Less & Associates in Chicago. LakeView Corporate Park has attracted several businesses from northern Illinois to move north of the state line, as sprawl from the Chicago area has fueled growth in Kenosha County. Towne has built several buildings in LakeView Corporate Park. “This business park has proven to be ideally suited for the type of industrial buildings we are building for sale, or lease and have attracted a wide range of users,” said John Kersey, director of Towne Investments, which is the trade name under which Milwaukee-based Zilber Ltd. develops, owns and manages commercial real estate.


Menomonee Falls-based Kohl’s Department Stores recently opened its 1,000th store at 1032 Milwaukee Ave. in Burlington. It is the 39th Kohl’s store in Wisconsin. About 130 people will work at the Burlington store.


WCL Association and Twilight Burgers LLC plans to build a Sonic restaurant in the Shoppes at Fox River development at 1200 W. Sunset Dr. Oklahoma City, Ok.-based Sonic Corp. has 3,300 locations, but none are in Wisconsin. Another Sonic restaurant is planned for 2080 S. Miller Park Way in West Milwaukee. Rosemont, Ill.-based Opus North Corp. is building the 500,000-square-foot Shoppes at Fox River development in Waukesha on a 54-acre site that was formerly a Fleming Co. distribution center. The project’s anchor tenants will include a 132,000-square-foot Target store and a 60,000-square-foot Pick ‘n Save store.


Milwaukee-based Roundy’s Supermarkets Inc. is considering plans to build a 60,000-square-foot Pick ‘n Save Metro Market grocery store on a vacant 7.5-acre site, located between a Shell gas station and an Elite Fitness Center, at 11558 N. Port Washington Road in Mequon. If built the store would replace the company’s existing Pick ‘n Save store at 11300 N. Port Washington Road. Roundy’s leases that space. Roundy’s came up with the Metro Market store concept in 2004, when it opened the new-concept grocery store in a space formerly occupied by a Kohl’s Food store at 1123 N. Van Buren St. in downtown Milwaukee. The Metro Market stores are targeted to an upscale customer base.

M.P.C. LLC plans to build a 10,000-square-foot, two-story, office building in the Settler’s Square development at 14135 N. Cedarburg Road. Champaign, Ill.-based Jimmy John’s has about 690 locations.

Mt. Pleasant

Mike and Tiffany Durso recently opened a Jimmy John’s sub shop at 5502 Washington Ave., in a retail center at Highway 20 and Highway 31.

Commercial real estate Transactions


Boerke Company

DeVry Inc. leased 9,840 square feet of office space in the 411 Center at 411 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, from Triple Net Properties.

Colliers Barry

Rexam Beauty and Closures Inc. leased 43,800 square feet of space at W229 N1492 Westwood Dr., Waukesha, from John and Jane Evans Revocable Trust and William Evans.

U.S. Chemical leased 150,000 square feet of space at 1009 S. 12th St., Watertown, from Wangard Partners Inc.

Mid-America Real Estate

Huntington Learning Center leased 3,000 square feet of space at Ruby Isle, 2205 N. Calhoun Road, Brookfield.

Quizno’s Subs leased 1,560 square feet of space at Bay Ridge Plaza, 6316 52nd St., Kenosha, from Bay Ridge Plaza.

Wireless Zone leased 937 square feet of space at Williams Corner in Kenosha from Williams Corners Investors LLC.

Portrait Innovations leased 2,202 square feet of space at Prairie Ridge Commons in Pleasant Prairie from Prairie Ridge Investments LLC.


The RiCH Company leased 3,789 square feet of office space in The Blatz House at 252 E. Highland Blvd., Milwaukee, from Gg 252 Highland LLC.


Colliers Barry

8100 W. Florist Avenue LLC purchased the 43,360-square-foot flex building in the Germantown Industrial Park at N115 W1900 Edison Dr., Germantown, from Daniel Genzel and Michael Goetz. The multi-tenant building, which is currently 90 percent occupied, sold for $1.7 million.

TNC Development Inc. purchased the 13,380-square-foot facility at 3245 N. 126th St., Brookfield, from Hearthstone Group LLC.

New construction

New Berlin-based Titan Building Company was recently selected to perform the general construction services for the M&I – AML Group Project at Schlitz Park in Milwaukee, and has also been awarded two projects for extensive renovations at MATC. 

Butler-based Berghammer Construction Corp., was recently selected by Chicago-based HSA Commercial Real Estate to build two speculative industrial buildings, a 320,000-square-foot building and a 125,000-square-foot building, in the Village of Mount Pleasant. These are the first two buildings being constructed in the Park 94 Business Park. 

Oconomowoc-based MSI General Corp. of Oconomowoc was selected by E.J. Plesko & Associates to design and build a new 11,400-square-foot multi-tenant retail center at 220 Oak Street in Grafton. The facility, to be called Highland Ridge, will be anchored by a new 60,000-square-foot Pick ‘n Save grocery store. 

New Berlin-based Anderson-Ashton Inc. recently received a contract to design and build an addition to the NAPA Auto Parts store at 1901 S. Moorland Road, New Berlin.

Wauwatosa-based Selzer-Ornst Co. recently held a ground-breaking ceremony for the Rotary Performance Pavilion at Hart Park in Wauwatosa.

Brookfield-based Briohn Building Corp. was contracted to design and build a 9,110-square-foot shell building and tenant improvement for Park Bank in the Brookfield Market Place at 14870 W. Greenfield Ave., Brookfield. In addition, Briohn recently completed the design and construction of a 4,075-square-foot ballet studio for the Milwaukee Ballet in the Brookfield Towne Centre at 3815 N. Brookfield Road, Brookfield.

Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

No posts to display