Downtown alderman seeks larger downtown hotel

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

Milwaukee Ald. Robert Bauman says the surface parking lot at North Fourth Street and West Wisconsin Avenue, located across the street from the Midwest Airlines Convention Center, should be the city’s top redevelopment priority for downtown Milwaukee. Understand, Bauman doesn’t consider the PabstCity site to be part of downtown.
Brookfield-based Hunzinger Construction Co. had planned to build a 255-room Sheraton Hotel on the site south of the convention center. The Milwaukee Common Council agreed to sell the property to Hunzinger for just $1 to subsidize the development. However, earlier this year, Hunzinger abandoned the project, after contamination was discovered in the soil at the site.
Aldermen were anxious to see something developed at the site, which has been a parking lot for about 20 years. But Bauman, whose ward includes the downtown area, said he is glad Hunzinger’s project failed because the city now has a chance to attract a more impressive development to the prominent site.
"I see Fourth and Wisconsin as an opportunity to do a signature development," he said. "A building as large as Cathedral Place, perhaps bigger."
Cathedral Place, 555 E. Wells St., is an 18-story mixed-use building with office space, condominiums and street-level retail space that was developed by Van Buren Management Inc. and New Land Enterprises LLP.
Bauman would like to see a large mixed-use building developed at Fourth and Wisconsin with office space, a hotel, street-level retail and restaurant space. The building should have as much underground parking as possible, and the development should incorporate public gathering space into the site, he said. The building should be at least 15 to 25 stories tall, he said.
The Wisconsin Center District, which owns and operates the Midwest Airlines Center, wants to see a large hotel developed in downtown Milwaukee to help attract more conventions. The Fourth and Wisconsin site is the ideal location for a new hotel to serve the convention center, Franklyn Gimbel, chairman of the board for the Wisconsin Center District, told SBT earlier this year. Gimbel said some conventions refuse to come to Milwaukee because the city does not have a downtown hotel with 800 or more rooms.
Gimbel said he would like to see a 1,000-room hotel built at the Fourth and Wisconsin site. Bauman agrees.
"Eight hundred to 1,000 rooms sounds right to me," Bauman said. "That’s certainly a doable goal."
If necessary, Bauman said, he would support the use of tax incremental financing (TIF), within reasonable limits, to subsidize a development at Fourth and Wisconsin if it would help bring a significant development with a large hotel to the site.
However, other hotel operators in downtown Milwaukee would likely complain if a new competing hotel receives a TIF subsidy. Some hotel operators say there are barely enough visitors to Milwaukee, especially in the winter, to support the existing inventory of downtown hotels.
But Gimbel has said a new hotel would attract more conventions and therefore more visitors who would absorb the additional room capacity.
Bauman said he is trying to contact Madison developer Curt Brink, to see if he is interested in doing a development at the Fourth and Wisconsin site. Brink has proposed 570-foot-tall, 1.4-million-square-foot mixed-use building in downtown Madison.
"He’d be another potential player," Bauman said.
U.S. Bank development plans
Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp is considering development of a mixed-use building next to the existing 42-story U.S. Bank Center at 777 E. Wisconsin Ave. in downtown Milwaukee. The plans are extremely preliminary, and the company is not sure how big the building would be, if developed, or what types of tenants would occupy the building, said Joe Ullrich, vice president of corporate real estate for U.S. Bank.
Media reports that U.S. Bank is planning to build a 42-story "twin tower" next to the U.S. Bank Center are premature, Ullrich said.
"We’re exploring options for our development site," he said.
The development could provide a combination of office space, residential condominiums, a hotel and retail space. U.S. Bank executives are examining the market to see what tenants would be interested in their potential development.
"We have to see what demand brings our way," Ullrich said.
The development could be a high-rise building or a mid-rise similar to the 875 East building, an eight-story office building at 875 E. Wisconsin Ave. developed by Irgens Development Partners next to the U.S. Bank Center. That building filled up quickly with office tenants.
"(875 East) was very successful," Ullrich said. "We are very happy with that."
Bauman said he asked U.S. Bank officials to do their development at the surface parking lot at North Fourth Street and West Wisconsin Avenue, but he said they told him they are not interested. U.S. Bancorp is trying to attract a high-end hotel chain that would serve business travelers visiting tenants in the U.S. Bank Center, Bauman said.
"A top-rung hotel chain like Ritz Carlton or the Four Seasons is looking to go in there," Bauman said. "They (U.S. Bancorp officials) wouldn’t tell me who."
An upscale hotel chain would not be interested in being located near the convention center because convention hotel business is too "price sensitive," Bauman said U.S. Bank officials told him.
However, Ullrich said a high-priced hotel chain such as Ritz Carlton or Four Seasons would not be interested in the Milwaukee market. When asked if a chain similar to the Westin Hotel could be attracted to the U.S. Bank development, Ullrich said that is a possibility.
"We thought (a hotel) would be a nice amenity for this side of town," Ullrich said. "Right now, we are just trying to see what our options are."
It appears the corporate headquarters for Glendale-based Manpower Inc. is not one of those options, Ullrich said. Manpower is looking for a new office headquarters location in the metro Milwaukee area. Ullrich said he would be very surprised if Manpower decided to move to the U.S. Bank development that is being considered.
"They’re not looking for a class A downtown office space," Ullrich said. "I don’t see that happening."
However, a real estate industry source said Manpower is still considering class A downtown locations.
Another real estate industry source said he expects Manpower to make a decision about the future location of its corporate headquarters by the end of this summer.
Steven Palec, senior vice president of the office property group for The Polacheck Co., could not be reached for comment. He is representing Manpower in the company’s search for a new headquarters location.
More Milwaukee news
Mekato’s Colombian Bakery plans to move from Chicago to 3500 W. National Ave. The building, at the corner of South 35th Street, has housed several bars. It will be renovated by Layton Boulevard West Neighbors Inc., which owns the building. The project will cost about $530,000. The City of Milwaukee is providing a $150,000 grant for the project, and Milwaukee County is providing a $100,000 loan. "The City of Milwaukee works with groups like Layton Boulevard West Neighbors to foster growth," said Mayor Tom Barrett. "We are thrilled to welcome Mekato’s Colombian Bakery to a street that features an array of businesses owned by people of different ethnicities including Hmong, Laotian, Thai, Hispanic and African-American."
Overland Park, Kan.-based Applebee’s International Inc. plans to open an Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar at Holt Plaza, located north of Holton Avenue between South Chase Avenue and South 3rd Street on Milwaukee’s south side. Applebee’s has 1,700 locations in 49 states and 12 countries. Currently, Applebee’s has several suburban Milwaukee locations, but only two locations in the city, at The Shops of Grand Avenue downtown and at Midtown Center, 5712 W. Capitol Drive.
Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee) recently opened her new district office at 219 N. Milwaukee St., Suite 3A, in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward. Moore said she placed her office in the Third Ward so it would be accessible to residents of both the north and south sides of Milwaukee.
Bentley Management Group purchased a 65,000-square-foot building near Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee to expand operations of Bentley World-Packaging Ltd.
Glen Allen, Va.-based CarMax Auto Superstores plans to build an automobile dealership on the site of Rodeway Inn & Suites at 2417 Bluemound Road. The 117-room hotel was a Holiday Inn franchise until about two years ago. CarMax plans to demolish all of the buildings on the site and build a 17,158-square-foot structure for its auto dealership. CarMax will sell used cars at the dealership of a variety of makes and models, said Waukesha city planner Mike Hoeft. CarMax will have about 300 vehicles for sale at the dealership, he said. CarMax has 60 used car superstores in 27 markets around the country and seven new car franchises. The only CarMax location in Wisconsin is in Kenosha County near I-94. CarMax also plans to build a dealership in Milwaukee on the south side of West Metro Boulevard and west of North 107th Street on the city’s far northwest side.
Beverly Sullivan and Kevin McElroy recently opened Robert Laurence Hair Studio at 4060 N. Oakland Ave. The business is an Aveda concept salon and is located in an old church building.
DACO Tool and Design plans to build a 53,000-square-foot addition to its manufacturing facility at 8565 Highway 45 in the Village of Kewaskum’s industrial park. Oconomowoc-based MSI General Corp. was selected to design and build the office and manufacturing addition to the building. DACO Tool and Design is the sister company of West Bend-based Daco Precision Inc., and specializes in aluminum die cast and plastic injection made tooling.
Town of Richfield
Helsan Development Co. LLC recently purchased 40 acres in the Town of Richfield to extend the Endeavor Business Park to the south. The original 100 acres for the business park, located on the south side of Pioneer Road at the Highway 41 and Highway 45 split, was purchased by Helsan last year. Roads are currently under construction there. The additional 40 acres will consist of six light industrial lots.

Commercial Real Estate Transactions
Apex Commercial Inc.
Met Life has leased 870 square feet of space at 2421 N. Mayfair Road, Wauwatosa, from 2400 Mayfair Road Limited Partnership.
CDI has leased 1,138 square feet of space at 2433 N. Mayfair Road, Wauwatosa, from 2400 Mayfair Road Limited Partnership.
The Foss Group has leased 6,422 square feet of space at 2100 N. Mayfair Road, Wauwatosa, from 2100 Mayfair Road Limited Partnership.
Reserve Advisors Inc. has leased 4,158 square feet of space at 205 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, from 205 Wisconsin Partners LLC.
Koch, Koch & Clark has leased 1,794 square feet of space at 740 Pilgrim Parkway, Elm Grove, from James D. and Patricia A. Williams.
The Dickman Company Inc.
AFLAC has leased 3,326 square feet of space at 6737 W. Washington St., West Allis, from Whitnall Summit Company LLC.
Inland Companies
American Cable & Electronics leased 10,080 square feet of office space at Northwest Business Park II, 5490 N. Campbell Dr., Menomonee Falls.
Human Resource Services leased 1,259 square feet of office space at the General Mitchell International Airport atrium, 5007 S. Howell Ave., Milwaukee.
Coverall Cleaning Concepts leased 5,400 square feet of office space at Northwest Business Park I, 13405 W. Silver Spring Dr., Menomonee Falls.
GSF Mortgage Corporation leased 1,352 square feet of office space at Vincent Park, 19265 W. Capitol Dr., Brookfield.
T.D. Waterhouse leased 1,776 square feet of office space at 250 Plaza located at 250 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee
Legacy Capital leased 2,205 square feet of office space at 250 Plaza located at 250 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee
NAI MLG Commercial
Second Wind Exercise Equipment has leased 4,000 square feet of space at 7800 W. Layton Ave., Greenfield, from Cort Business Services Corp.
LCA-Vision Inc. d.b.a Lasik Plus has leased 3,292 square feet of space in The Shoppes of Brookfield Commons at 15455 W. Bluemound Road, Brookfield, from Integrity Development Partners.
Domino’s Pizza and Mountain Mudd Expresso have each leased 1,500 square feet of space in a new development, which will break ground on June 1, at S74 W16865 Janesville Road, Muskego.
Eye on Video has leased 4,500 square feet of space at 7625-27 W. Fond du Lac Ave., Milwaukee, from Crown Group.
Children’s Orchard has leased 1,200 square feet of retail space in the National Plaza at 11110 W. National Avenue, West Allis. Children’s Orchard is the nation’s first franchise of gently used and new children’s brand name clothing, toys, equipment and accessories. This is the first location for Children’s Orchard in Wisconsin. They have 80 locations in several cities around the country.
CPM Sales and Service Inc. has leased 490 square feet of space at 10335 W. Oklahoma Ave., West Allis, from Custom Development LLC.
Stan’s Fit For Your Feet has leased 5,625 square feet of space at 505 W. Silver Spring Dr., Glendale, from Integral Investments LLC.
Bituminois Insurance Company has leased 4,384 square feet of space in the Brookfield Corporate Center III at 18000 W. Sarah Lane, Brookfield, from Great Lakes Corporate Center III Ltd. Partnership.
Wisconsin Essential Computers recently leased 750 square feet of retail space at W229 S8668 Big Bend Dr., Big Bend, from Arcom Investments, LLC.
The Polackeck Co. Inc.
PeopleNext Inc. has leased 2,735 square feet of space at 306 N. Milwaukee St., Milwaukee, from Leopold Miller Limited Partnership.
John Lynch d.b.a. Migun has leased 1,273 square feet of space at 2738 Heritage Ridge Dr., Delafield, from Kensington Development.
Community Financial Service Center Corporation has leased 3,041 square feet of space at 6404 N. 76th St., Milwaukee, from Metropolitan Mill Road Venture.
American Mattress Inc. has leased 4,300 square feet of space at Plaza 50 Shopping Center, at 75th Street and 57th to 60th avenues, Kenosha, from Plaza 50 Property Association LLP.
Hoffman Construction Company has leased 800 square feet at 8050 N. Port Washington Road, Milwaukee, from Nozarc Development Group LLC.

The Dickman Company Inc.
Square B Corporation has purchased the 160,600-square-foot industrial building at 1320 S. 1st St., Milwaukee, from Grede Foundries Inc.
Illing Company Inc. has purchased 106,621 square feet of industrial space at N113 W18900 Carnegie Dr. and N114 W18937 Clinton Dr. in Germantown from Conopco Inc. The selling price was $2.3 million.
Vernon Lane LLC has purchased 10,000 square feet of commercial space at W233 S7260 Vernon Lane, Town of Vernon, from ROK. The sale price was $1.1 million.
Robert Swan has purchased 3.22 acres in the Muskego Industrial Park from Apollo Development LLC. The sale price was $289,800.
Mandel Riverfront Holdings III LLC has purchased one acre of land at 401 E. Erie St., in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward, from GPI Interim. The sale price was $1 million.
Crown Development & Advisors LLC has purchased 13,500 square feet of industrial space at 200 Travis Lane, Waukesha, from James M. Murphy and Mary A. Murphy. The sale price was $640,000.
Jack J. Andersen and Janis G. Andersen have purchased 148,250 square feet of industrial space at 2761 Buell Dr., East Troy, from WAMACO Inc. The sale price was $4.6 million.
The Polacheck Company Inc.
McDonald’s USA LLC has purchased 0.21 acres of land at 7615 W. Oklahoma Ave., Milwaukee, from Sankhu LLC.
Amcore Bank N.A. has purchased 1.37 acres of land at 2365 N. Mayfair Road, Wauwatosa, from Jacobus Mayfair Properties LLC.
Gerrard Timms has purchased a 3,732-square-foot building at 922 S. 2nd St., Milwaukee, from Coqui LLC.
Grubb & Ellis|Boerke Company
Riteway Business Services Inc. has purchased 104 acres of vacant land at W200 N13880 Fond du Lac Ave., Germantown, from Granite Four LLC. The sale price was $1.4 million.
CCS Holdings LLC has purchased 45,320 square feet of warehouse space at 9411 W. Fond du Lac Ave., Milwaukee, from Southeast Wisconsin Carpenter’s Union. The sale price was $1.2 million.
Ted Dragotta has purchased 186,000 square feet of industrial space at 944 N. 45th St., Milwaukee, from Steve Raasch and Bill Kennedy. The sale price was $575,000.
Clybourn Investments LLC has purchased 69,500 square feet of industrial space in the former H.H. West facility at 2202-2322 Clybourn St., Milwaukee, from Cooper & Associates. The sale price was $1.25 million.
NAI MLG Commercial
Julie Hollingsworth and Jeffrey Swanson of The City Market purchased a 3,920-square-foot building at 8721-25 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa, from Dennis and Barbara Wanless.

New Construction
Creative Constructors, Menomonee Falls, was awarded the contract to build the Walter Riley Davis Senior Housing project, a 5,900-square-foot, eight unit senior housing facility with a community room on the Little Menomonee River. The building was designed by Barrientos Design & Consulting LLC, Milwaukee. Creative Contractors was also awarded a $1 million contract to remodel the penthouse electrical substation, chiller plant and main building lightning protection at the downtown Milwaukee MATC campus.
Selzer-Ornst Co., Wauwatosa, is currently building the addition and remodeling of the Ambassador Hotel, 2308 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee. The project includes remodeling of the reception area, lobby, restrooms, bistro, lounge and five floors. Exterior work includes a new parking area and the addition of patios and a fountain for outdoor dining. Torke Wirth Pujara in the project architect. Selzer-Ornst is also building a 445-vehicle parking structure at the Summit Place office complex at 6737 W. Washington St., West Allis. The structure was designed by Milwaukee-based Renner Architects.

MEDC Loans
Vai and Zoua Yang received an $88,000 MEDC loan and $132,000 in financing from additional sources to buy Asian Best Video and Gifts, 3107-09 W. National Ave., Milwaukee. Asian Best is a video rental store that focuses on Chinese, Thai, Hmong, Korean, Vietnamese and Indian movies, video games and other art films.
Dr. Noemi Prieto and Dr. Gary Nordyke received a $182,262 MEDC loan and $273,393 in financing from other sources. They bought a former barber shop located next to their pediatric clinic at 8522 W. Capitol Dr., razed the building and are preparing to build a one-story 3,534-square-foot building for radiologists at the Center for Family Diagnostic Imaging S.C., which plans to set up a radiology clinic in the new building.
First Edge Ventures LLC, 300 N. Jefferson St., Milwaukee, received a $116,000 MEDC loan and $174,00 in financing from other sources to buy a B452A four-color printing press and a Mitsubishi DPX front-end computer and plate maker.
Andrew Weiland is the managing editor of 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.

May 13, 2005, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI

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