Details unveiled for redevelopment of former Schuster’s building on King Drive

Seeking $15 million from city of Milwaukee

Rendering of the redeveloped former Gimbels and Schuster’s Department Store building.
Rendering of the redeveloped former Gimbels and Schuster’s Department Store building.

Last updated on November 21st, 2019 at 12:46 pm

The redeveloped former Gimbels and Schuster’s Department Store building in Milwaukee’s Halyard Park neighborhood will include 131,000 square feet of office space, 40,000 square feet of early childhood education and fitness center space, 77 affordable apartment units and a 315-stall parking structure.

The approximately $84.5 million project might also receive $15 million from the city.

The redevelopment effort was first announced in March. That’s when the Medical College of Wisconsin and Greater Milwaukee Foundation said they had selected the building at 2153 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive as the location of their new partnership.

New project details were revealed in a city report that outlined the proposed $15 million in city assistance through the creation of a new tax incremental financing district.

The effort would redevelop the 470,000-square-foot building that has been primarily used as storage for decades. The office space will be home to both MCW’s community engagement programs and the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s headquarters.

Of the 77 dwelling units, 13 of them would be available to families earning under 30% of the area median income, nine will be available to those earning under 50%, 31 will be for those earning under 60% and 24 will be for those earning under 80%.

Construction is to commence by Sept. 1, 2020 and substantially finish by May 1, 2022.

According to the report, money would come in the form of a developer-financed cash grant to partially offset costs related to “the facade restoration, affordable housing units and other extraordinary costs related to the project.”

The project developer, Milwaukee-based Royal Capital Group LLC, will advance all costs for the project. The city will provide annual cash grants to the developer, paid from incremental taxes generated annually in the tax-financing district.

According to the city report, the project will have an assessed value of $45 million by 2022. The office portion is expected to have an assessed value of $37.2 million, the early childhood education and fitness center portion is expected to have an assessed value of $3.2 million, and the residential portion is expected to be valued at $4.6 million.

The Schuster’s building is currently assessed at roughly $2.4 million, and the four properties that comprise the proposed tax-financing district are altogether assessed at nearly $3.8 million.

The Schuster’s building was constructed in 1907. It underwent several additions, including a major addition in 1913. It operated as a department store until 1969, and after the store closed, it was used for storage by Gimbels until 1992, when CH Coakley & Co. bought the building. Coakley used the building for storage and office space for the past 25-plus years.

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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.

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