Illinois investor enters Milwaukee market with purchase of two south side apartment buildings

Acquires Kunzelmann-Esser Lofts, Golden Domes Apartments

Kunzelmann-Esser Lofts.

An Illinois real-estate investment and management firm that specializes in workforce housing has made its entry into Wisconsin with the purchase of two apartment buildings on Milwaukee’s south side.

Kunzelmann-Esser Lofts.

Evanston, Illinois-based Arnel Inc. recently acquired the Kunzelmann-Esser Lofts at 710 W. Historic Mitchell St., as well as the nearby Golden Domes Apartments, located at 1620 S. Sixth St., said Joseph O’Brien, president of Arnel.

O’Brien didn’t disclose the sale price of the properties, but state records indicate the Kunzelmann-Esser Lofts went for $4.78 million. The city of Milwaukee assesses the Kunzelmann-Esser Lofts building at nearly $3.7 million, while the Golden Domes have an assessed value of roughly $4.5 million.

O’Brien said it owns or manages buildings in Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota. The recent acquisitions are its first Wisconsin properties. He said the Kunzelmann-Esser Lofts were rehabilitated not too long ago, so the building mechanics and structure are sound there. However, the Golden Domes will need some limited work performed.

Golden Domes Apartments.

“We like the locations of these properties as far as access to downtown, and we think with the right attention they could be strong, quality apartments,” said O’Brien, later adding that the buildings will be maintained as “solid workforce housing.”

Both properties were sold by affiliates of Oregon-based Gorman & Co. A company representative could not immediately be reached for comment on the transaction.

According to Gorman’s website, it was approached by community leaders to revitalize a “very troubled apartment complex” in the 106-unit Golden Domes project. The building now features amenities such as a swimming pool, community room, computer room and exercise facility.

The Kunzelmann-Esser Lofts, meanwhile, involved the conversion of a well-known historic department store building into 67 artist lofts and 11,000 square feet of retail space. The development is designed specifically for working artists, allowing them to create, display and sell their work in the same building, according to the Gorman website.

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