Ghazi option may be extended

The purchase option granted to Charlotte, N.C.-based The Ghazi Company LLC for the vacant downtown lot at North Fourth Street and Wisconsin Avenue may be extended to July 1, 2009.

The Milwaukee Department of City Development is recommending that the purchase option granted to Charlotte, N.C.-based The Ghazi Company LLC for the vacant downtown lot at North Fourth Street and Wisconsin Avenue be extended to July 1, 2009.

"We’re proposing to extend Ghazi’s option…in order to allow the developer more time to secure financing on more favorable terms," said DCD spokeswoman Andrea Rowe Richards.

Ghazi had proposed a mixed-use development, called Catalyst, with condos, a hotel, retail and entertainment space for the site located across Wisconsin Avenue from the Midwest Airlines Center. However, the credit crunch that has hit the nation’s economy during the recession has made it difficult for Ghazi to obtain financing for the project.

"We’re still optimistic about this project based on the success of the developer’s Epicenter project in Charlotte, N.C.," Richards said. "The developer is optimistic that commercial lending terms will improve next year and they are bullish about their Catalyst project for Milwaukee. We believe this is a project worth waiting for."

Ghazi’s Epicenter project, similar to its plans in Milwaukee, includes a hotel, bars and clubs, retail space and a movie theater.

Afshin Ghazi, the founder and president of Ghazi Co., could not be reached for comment.

The city’s Redevelopment Authority will consider the proposal to extend Ghazi’s purchase option for the property during its meeting on Thursday.

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