Downtown cluster to be redeveloped

An investors group this week purchased a cluster of six small buildings, all built around 1900, located southwest of East Wisconsin Avenue and North Broadway in downtown Milwaukee, with plans to redevelop the site. The buildings wrap around the Railway Exchange building at the corner of Wisconsin and Broadway.

District Savior LLC purchased the six buildings at 217-227 E. Wisconsin Ave. and 627-637 N. Broadway, which have a total of 26,891 square feet, from Guardian Credit Union for $985,000. Dave Pudlosky of Jones Lang LaSalle, and formerly of The Boerke Company, brokered the deal for District Savior and John Kuhn of Siegel-Gallagher represented Guardian Credit Union.

Pudlosky said he could not disclose details about the group that purchased the buildings, or what their plans are for the properties.

“The plan is to rehab them,” Pudlosky said. “I think it’s going to be a partial rehab and a partial new. I think the goal is to preserve the historial nature of the buildings. However, we have to be realistic. A lot of what’s there isn’t going to work. They’re in pretty rough condition. They’re pretty run down.”

Kuhn said he was unaware of the buyer’s plans for the buildings.

“They’ve kept their cards very close to their chest,” he said. “They did say it would be a new development. It will be exciting to see what they have planned for that corner. More good news for downtown Milwaukee.”

All of the buildings are in “very, very rough condition,” Kuhn said.

The project will likely involve the restoration of the facades with new structures behind them, similar to the Wisconsin Avenue façade of the new Marriott hotel downtown, Pudlosky said.

Ald. Robert Bauman, who represents the downtown area, said he has not been informed about the project.

“I am curious about the statement about preserving facades since the buildings on Broadway have no facades,” he said. “They were removed during previous renovation work and never restored.”

The buildings currently only have one tenant, a convenience store that occupies 1,700 square feet of space. The remaining space has been vacant for about 10 to 15 years, Pudlosky said.

The buildings were previously owned by Franklin-based Icon Development Corp., which lost them to Guardian Credit Union in a foreclosure action.

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