Developer wants to convert Wisconsin Ave. office building into apartments

Chicago firm negotiating with existing tenants

735 W. Wisconsin Ave.

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 05:00 pm

An underused office tower on West Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Milwaukee is being eyed by a Chicago real estate firm for redevelopment into apartments.

735 W. Wisconsin Ave.
735 W. Wisconsin Ave.

3L Real Estate has 735 W. Wisconsin Ave. under contract to buy from Zilber Ltd., to convert the second through 12th floors of the building into apartments, according to several sources familiar with the deal.

Wells Fargo, which operates a bank branch on the first floor would remain a tenant, sources say.

John Kersey, vice president with Zilber Property Group, would not comment on the pending sale. Joseph Slezak, chief executive officer with 3L could not immediately be reached for comment.

The 12-story, 111,109-square-foot Class B office tower is about 40 percent occupied, according to sources. It is assessed by the city of Milwaukee at $3.2 million. Tenants include Eye Care Specialists, which leases the entire fourth floor; Miller & Miller law firm, which leases the sixth floor; Securitas Security Services, which leases the entire 11th floor and Schiro & Zarzynski law firm, which leases the entire 12th floor.

Jeffrey Zarzynski said his firm has seven years left on an eight-year lease and he has been in negotiations with 3L about whether his firm would stay through the transition or be bought out of its lease.

“It is a wonderful office space and I would love to stay here for the rest of my career,” Zarzynski said.

Before moving to 735 W. Wisconsin eight years ago, Zarzynski was in another Zilber-owned building, 633 W. Wisconsin. He said the two buildings are the only office towers within walking distance to the Milwaukee County Courthouse.

“Nothing else nearby gives us the same opportunity,” Zarzynski said. “I’ve been in communications with (3L) and I have a lawyer trying to spearhead discussions with them. They wanted to close in October, but that didn’t happen.”

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