Developers acquire Journal Sentinel buildings and parking lot for $9 million

Buildings will be redeveloped

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The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel buildings and a neighboring parking lot in downtown Milwaukee commanded a price tag of $9 million, according to real estate transaction records posted recently by the state.

Milwaukee developer J. Jeffers & Co. in late October announced it had acquired the buildings, located on the block bounded by Vel R. Phillips Avenue, State Street, Old World Third Street and Kilbourn Avenue, and was planning a redevelopment project there. According to an application filed with the city, the main Journal Sentinel building on 333 W. State St. will be converted into multi-family housing with first-floor retail space.

State records show the three buildings on that block had been sold for $8 million. The records posted Wednesday only show that the buildings were transferred from Journal Sentinel Inc. to State-Kilbourn Holdings LLC, an affiliate of Journal Sentinel parent company Gannett. Josh Jeffers, president and chief executive officer of Jeffers & Co. confirmed the buildings were then sold to his firm for the price of $8 million.

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Also, a Journal Sentinel-owned parking lot across the street, at 332 W. State St., was sold for $1 million to an affiliate of Milwaukee-based Interstate Development Partners LLC. Tony Janowiec, president and chief manager of Interstate, has partnered with Jeffers on other projects, such as the redevelopment of the Milwaukee Athletic Club building at 758 N. Broadway.

The buildings and parking lot were sold for less than their assessed value.

According to city records, the main six-story, 256,400-square-foot building and the 181,800-square-foot, four-story structure attached to the south have a total assessed value of nearly $11.9 million. The third building, the Major Goolsby’s sports bar at 340 W. Kilbourn Ave., is assessed at $1.2 million.

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Meanwhile, the parking lot is assessed at roughly $1.1 million.

Neither Jeffers nor Janowiec immediately responded to requests for comment on Wednesday.

According to a previous announcement from Jeffers, the Journal Sentinel will remain in the buildings until its lease expires in 2020, when it will then move into the 330 Kilbourn office towers in downtown Milwaukee.

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Jeffers plans to turn the six-story office building into 103 residential units and 8,800 square feet of retail space. Also included will be 169 underground parking spaces, which will serve both the main State Street building and the east addition built in 1962. The project is referred to as Journal Square Lofts.

Redevelopment plans for the other two buildings are still unknown.

“The Journal Communications project presents an opportunity to do something very special, given its connection to the cultural and social fabric of Milwaukee for over 100 years,” Jeffers said in a news release from October.

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