Developer dares to change Madison’s skyline

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:33 pm

Developer Curt Brink wants to build a 570-foot tall, mixed-use commercial building in downtown Madison. If he’s successful, Brink’s structure would be the second-tallest building in the state, behind only the 600-foot tall U.S. Bank Center in downtown Milwaukee.
Currently, the second-tallest building in the state is the 550-foot tall office building at 100 E. Wisconsin Ave. in downtown Milwaukee.
Brink’s proposed $250 million, 1.4 million-square-foot, 27-story building, called Archipelago Village, would have about 600,000 square feet of office space, 400,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, two hotels, some condos, 3,200 parking spaces and a transportation hub for buses, bicycles and a possible future streetcar or light rail system. Archipelago Village would be one building that would look like a cluster of several buildings, Brink said. It would only have 27 floors because the retail floors are higher than office space floors, said Mike Schmidt, the project manager for the design of Archipelago Village.
In Milwaukee, such a project would be considered a triumph and a sign of downtown renewal. In Madison, a much smaller city with a much lower skyline, some residents have reacted with shock after hearing about Brink’s proposal.
"The big issue seems to be the height," Brink said.
The Wisconsin State Capitol, the tallest building in Madison, is only 285 feet tall. Archipelago Village would be built in the 900 block of East Washington Ave., about 4,000 feet northeast of the Capitol building. It’s a blighted area of downtown with several vacant lots and abandoned industrial buildings.
To preserve views of the State Capitol, the City of Madison has a law that states no building within one mile of the Capitol can be built higher than the bottom of its rotunda, or about 187 feet high. Archipelago Village would exceed that height limit by nearly 400 feet, but Brink says people will still be able to clearly see the Capitol on East Washington Avenue.
"We don’t block the Capitol," the Madison developer said. "East Washington is a straight street (that leads straight to the Capitol)."
The Dane County Regional Airport has also raised concerns about the building blocking flight paths.
It will not be easy to convince Madison city leaders to provide a variance to allow Archipelago Village to exceed the height limit.
Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz has already stated publicly that he opposes any change to the height limit. Brink could move the project farther away from the Capitol to avoid the height restriction, but a more remote site would be less desirable, he said.
Brink hopes to convince city officials to approve his huge project by showing dense downtown development is the best alternative to urban sprawl and is necessary to support Cieselwicz’s vision for a downtown streetcar or light rail system.
Brink wants his building to provide a transportation hub for downtown Madison.
Parking is scarce in downtown Madison, and it is difficult for visitors to move from place to place if they have to find another parking spot for each destination. A streetcar system would help people get around downtown easier, Brink said.
People could park downtown at Archipelago Village and use the streetcar or a bus to get to State Street, the University of Wisconsin campus, the Capitol, the Monona Terrace Convention Center or other destinations, he said.
However, the streetcar system and the transportation hub will not succeed without larger developments to support it, Brink said.
"You have to have the density to support that," he said.
Without a large office building, downtown Madison will not be able to attract any additional large corporate headquarters, Brink said.
"People in our city say we want density, we don’t want sprawl," Brink said. "Otherwise those companies do have to go to the suburbs to put their offices."
Brink says his proposal is only a starting point for discussion with residents and city officials about the project.
"I think people will become more comfortable with the height when they understand it is a mixed use project to support mass transit, not just a big building," Brink said.
The project will need some tax incremental financing to pay for parking facilities and the mass transit center, but Brink declined to estimate how much TIF funding would be needed.
"Madison has a lot of levels to go through. It’s just a part of the process. I think it will hold up to the scrutiny," Brink said.
Whether or not he’s successful in Madison, Brink may look eastward.
"We’d be more than happy to do one in Milwaukee," he said. "I don’t know Milwaukee as well. If there was the right piece of land and the economics were right, I’d be more than happy to do it."
To learn more about Archipelago Village, visit
Chicago-based Granitewerks Inc. plans to open a showroom for custom stone applications at 826 Genesee St. Granitewerks specializes in producing counter tops of granite and silestone quartz surfacing. The company’s projects include the Chicago Cubs Walk of Fame at Wrigley Field and the Milwaukee Brewers Walk of Fame at Miller Park.
Watsonville, Calif.-based West Marine Products Inc. plans to open a boating and fishing equipment and supplies store at 3220 Golf Road, in the Shops at Nagawaukee. West Marine has 376 stores in 38 states, Canada and Puerto Rico, including stores in Milwaukee and Racine.
Roger and Susan Steiner plan to open a jewelry, hand bag and antique store at 637 Main St., in the same building at Holy Cow.
Paul Karsten plans to open a floor covering retail store called Karsten Floor Covering at 617 Main St.
Fox Point
Three businesses are planning to relocate into a former Kohl’s grocery store at 6940 N. Santa Monica Blvd. General Capital Management Inc., which owns the building, is moving its offices with 13 employees from Mequon into the building. The Hoff Group Inc., an affiliate of General Capital with five employees, also plans to move from Mequon into the building. Sampson Investments plans to move from another part of the shopping center into the building. Most of the building is already occupied by a Wheel and Sprocket store.
Denise Nerdahl recently moved her crafts and gifts store called, A Whole Lotta Country, from downtown Oconomowoc to the Prairie Creek Shoppes, a 102,000-square-foot retail center located at County Highway P and County Highway Z.
Cold Stone Creamery plans to open a store in 1,568 square feet of space at the southwest corner of Grandview Boulevard and Silvernail Road. Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Cold Stone has 900 stores in 47 states, the Caribbean and Guam. The ice cream company has stores in Milwaukee, Delafield, Brookfield, Wauwatosa, West Allis, Greenfield, Fox Point, Oak Creek and Kenosha. The Polacheck Co. brokered the lease of the space for Cold Stone.
Greensquare LLC plans to open a restaurant called Greensquare Café in 2,544 square feet at 6789 N. Green Bay Ave.
Cristal and Joe Lieungh plan to open a self-preparation, take-home meal assembly specialty shop called Dinner By Design in 1,600 square feet of the North Bay Center at 6150 N. Port Washington Road.
Champaign, Ill.-based Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwich Shops is opening a restaurant in Glendale at 6969 N. Port Washington Road. The sandwich restaurant chain has over 300 locations.
Pleasant Prairie
IRIS USA Inc. plans to add a 245,000-square-foot warehouse space addition to its manufacturing, distribution and office complex in LakeView Corporate Park.
Silver Lake
The Village of Silver Lake plans to develop a second business park north of the Schenning Business Park. The village bought 14 acres from Kenosha County for $112,600 to create the business park.

Andrew Weiland is the managing editor for Small Business Times. Send news about commercial real estate to or by calling him at (414) 277-8181 ext. 120. News can also be sent to Andrew Weiland, Small Business Times, 1123 N. Water St., Milwaukee, WI 53202.

Commercial real estate transactions
Apex Commercial Inc.
Home Mortgage Partners has leased 1,669 square feet of space at 933 N. Mayfair Road, Wauwatosa, from 933 Mayfair Road Limited Partnership.
Action Law Offices has leased 2,664 square feet of space at 933 N. Mayfair Road, Wauwatosa, from 933 Mayfair Road Limited Partnership.
Ken MacKenzie & Associates has leased 1,420 square feet of space at 700 Pilgrim Parkway, Elm Grove, from James and Patricia Williams.
Kings Way Realty Inc. has leased 4,033 square feet of space at 700 Pilgrim Parkway, Elm Grove, from James and Patricia Williams.
Dolan & Dustin has leased 3,410 square feet of space at 1011 N. Mayfair Road, Wauwatosa, from 1011 Mayfair Road Limited Partnership.
Amcore Bank N.A. has leased 1,650 square feet of space at 2401 N. Mayfair Road, Wauwatosa, from 2400 Mayfair Road Limited Partnership.
Tedro & Associates has leased 988 square feet of space at 2401 N. Mayfair Road, Wauwatosa, from 2400 Mayfair Road Limited Partnership.
Sams Commodities has leased 557 square feet of space at 2401 N. Mayfair Road, Wauwatosa, from 2400 Mayfair Road Limited Partnership.
Initial Tropical Plants Inc. has leased 17,520 square feet of space at the Eastgate Business Center in Brookfield from Eastgate LLC.
Colliers Barry
Wingfoot Commercial Tire Inc. has leased 42,000 square feet of space at 5435 N. 131st St., Butler.
Athletic & Therapeutic Institute has leased 5,349 square feet of space at 2835 N. Grandview Boulevard, Waukesha.
The Dickman Company Inc.
Engine Power has leased 10,000 square feet of industrial space at 1880 Executive Dr., Oconomowoc, from James B. Quirk.
Eagle Technology Group Inc. has leased 5,400 square feet of office space at 11575 W. Theodore Trecker Way, West Allis, from Zenner Family Limited Partnership.
Inland Companies
United Products has leased 42,000 square feet of warehouse space at 15905 W Ryerson Rd., New Berlin.
All About Learning Daycare has leased 7,867 square feet of office space at 2232 S. 106th Street, West Allis.
DAAR Engineering has leased 6,018 square feet of office space at the West Allis Center located at 1126 S. 70th Street, West Allis.
The Legacy Group has leased 1,533 square feet of office space at Executive Center III located at 125 North Executive Drive, Brookfield.
Money Line Mortgage has leased 1,118 square feet of office space at 405 N. Calhoun Road, Brookfield.
Mid-America Real Estate
Gamestop has leased 1,680 square feet of space at Delavan Retail Center II at Delavan Crossings, located at the northeast corner of I-43 and Highway 50 in Delavan.
Supercuts has leased 1,269 square feet of space at New Berlin City Center, on National Avenue in New Berlin, from Investor’s Equity LLC.
Equity One has leased 1,575 square feet of space at Ruby Isle Shopping Center in Brookfield.
Quizno’s has leased 1,600 square feet of space at North Bay Shopping Center in Glendale.
The Polacheck Company
KNSA Investments LLC has leased 14,075 square feet of space at 5675 S. 27th St., Milwaukee, from Samson Trusts Venture.

Colliers Barry
Desmore Enterprises LLC purchased the 20,800-square-foot industrial facility at 6533 N. Teutonia Ave., Milwaukee from Gerald and Kathleen Krause. Desmore Enterprises plans to expand the business into the facility. Gerald and Kathleen Krause have moved their business into a larger facility on the northwest side of Milwaukee.
PRM Properties purchased the 3,000-square-foot office building at 7402 W. Becher St., West Allis, from B&N Properties of Wind Lake LLC. B&N Properties will lease the building from PRM until the company’s new building in Wind Lake is completed. Once B&N Properties has moved, PRM plans to move its offices into the building from downtown Milwaukee.
A private investment group purchased the 27,300-square-foot industrial facility at 5660 S. Westridge Dr. in the Westridge Business Park, New Berlin, from the estate of Charlotte Williams.
Engine & Transmission Exchange purchased a 56,000-square-foot industrial facility at 8155 N. 76th St., Milwaukee.
Bullpen Enterprises purchased the 14,400-square-foot Frontier Medical Products facility at 140 S. Park St., Port Washington.
HMB Contractors Inc. purchased the 19,000-square-foot former Bonsal American facility at N91 W13906 Warren St., Menomonee Falls.
Mandel Group purchased the 14,000-square-foot Masonic Lodge at 7800 W. Green Bay Ave., Glendale.
Cedar Home Farms purchased 233 acres at N2360 Jefferson Road, Ashippun.
Sisters 3 LLC purchased the 55,000-square-foot Flighway Technologies facility at 731 Palmyra St., Sullivan.
Milwaukee Bag purchased the 26,746-square-foot industrial facility at N57 W13282 Carmen Ave., Menomonee Falls.
The Dickman Company Inc.
GMK Realty LLC purchased 50,000 square feet of commercial space at 5430 W. Layton Ave., Greenfield, from Claudia R. Luebbers Revocable Trust for $735,000.
Grubb & Ellis|Boerke Company
Bernhard Schreib and Nancy Schreib purchased 21,304 square feet of space at 2365 S. 170th St., New Berlin, from Klockner KHS Inc. for $560,000.
Stephen Horgan purchased 4,750 square feet of space at 940 Maxwell St., Building #1, Lake Geneva, from Trostel Ltd. for $124,500.
Inland Companies
ING Clarion purchased 63,000 square feet at Pewaukee Commerce Center I, N25 W23260 Paul Road, Pewaukee; 78,750 square feet at The Pewaukee Commerce Center II, N25 W23040 Paul Road, Pewaukee; 80,150 square feet at The Glendale Commerce Center, 330 West Olive Street, Glendale; 77,950 square feet at The Forrer Business Interiors Inc. Building, 555 W. Estabrook Blvd., Glendale; and 80,150 square feet at The Franklin Commerce Center, 9630 S. 54th Street, Franklin.
FABCO Equipment purchased 7.5 Acres of land on Pewaukee Road, Pewaukee.
NAI MLG Commercial
Waukesha Health Care Inc. purchased 2.8 acres of land on Corporate Center Drive, in the Oconomowoc Corporate Center in Oconomowoc, from Valley Road Limited Partnership.
Primax Properties LLC purchased 0.5 acres of land at 861 E. Wisconsin Ave., Oconomowoc, from Peter Herr. In addition, Primax Properties purchased the adjacent 0.75 acre of land from Central Railroad Properties for the development of an Advance Autoparts store.
The Polacheck Company
Vallis LLC purchased 5,395 square feet of space at 4483 N. Oakland Ave. #1, Shorewood, from Met-Spec Oakland LLC.
GMK Realty LLC purchased 5.5 acres at 5430 W. Layton Ave., Greenfield, from Claudia R. Luebbers Revocable Trust.

New Construction
Briohn Building Corp., Brookfield, has completed the design and construction of a 35,629-square-foot tenant improvement for Capital Equipment & Handling in the Cottonwood IV building at 1100 Cottonwood Ave., Hartland. In addition, Briohn Building has been contracted to design and build a 29,365-square-foot new multi-tenant building for Z Rental Properties LLC at W237 N2920 Woodgate Road, Pewaukee, including a 10,900-square-foot space for Outsource Inc. and a 7,644-square-foot space for Reich Installation Services. Briohn Building has also been contracted to design a 32,313-square-foot multi-tenant building for Mirror Image Dance Academy in Grand Chute. Briohn Building has been contracted to design and build a 24,587-square-foot tenant improvement for Midwest Engineered Systems Group at W233 N2800 Roundy Circle West, Suite 200, Pewaukee, and a 38,041-square-foot new multi-tenant building for Hansen Storage Co. at N29 W23825 Woodgate Court West, Pewaukee.
The Redmond Company, Waukesha, has been selected to design and build a new 7,040-square-foot main office building for Taylor Community Credit Union in the Detroit suburb of Taylor, Mich. In addition, The Redmond Co. also has been selected to design and construct a façade upgrade for Waukesha Plaza, a multi-tenant shopping center at Moreland Road and Highway 164 in Waukesha.
Engberg Anderson Design Partnership, Milwaukee, has been selected to provide architecture and interior design services for a $5 million expansion of the Schenectady County Public Library in Schenectady, N.Y. The 12,500-square-foot addition to the main branch of the public library will contain a children’s center, performance space, a quiet room and a young adult area. The existing building will also undergo some modifications. Engberg Anderson Design Partnership has designed over 1.8 million square feet of library space for over 57 libraries across the country.
Selzer-Ornst Company, Wauwatosa, is currently building the Greenridge Pump Station. The work consists of an addition to the existing water pumping station for the City of New Berlin. Selzer-Ornst is also currently building the Grange Avenue Pump Station, a new water pumping station for the City of New Berlin. Selzer-Ornst also recently completed the construction of a new 13,000-square-foot community based residential facility (CBRF) for Linden Court, which is comprised of 24 units, and the company has also completed the tenant build-out for the Career Education Center at the Summit Place office building in West Allis. In addition, Selzer-Ornst has completed its work on the construction of the Historic Teweles Seed Co. Loft Apartments at 222 S. 3rd St., in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood.
Inland Construction, Milwaukee, was awarded a 4,000-square-foot office tenant improvement for B.C. Ziegler at 250 E. Wisconsin Ave. in downtown Milwaukee, a 6,018-square-foot tenant improvement for DAAR Engineering in the West Allis Center at 1126 S. 70th St., West Allis, and a 2,800-sqaure-foot tenant improvement for APS Health at 300 N. Executive Dr., Brookfield.
MSI General Corp., Oconomowoc, has completed construction of the 50,000-square-foot Pick ‘n Save store and a 23,700-square-foot retail building at the southwest corner of Port Washington and Greentree Roads in Glendale.

April 15, 2005, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI

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