At least one major real estate development in the Milwaukee region has been dealt a setback in reaction to the economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus.
Michael Campbell, founder and managing member of Atlanta-based Campbell Capital Group LLC, said an investor has pulled his money out of a proposed 186-unit luxury apartment development that Campbell planned to build in downtown Waukesha.
The Reserve at Waukesha mixed-unit project includes the apartments and 2,100 square feet of commercial space. It would be built along the Fox River, about a block west from the southwest corner of St. Paul Avenue and Barstow Street.
Campbell said the investor decided "they were going to sit on the sidelines" due to the uncertain economic conditions. Campbell specifically said the investor was concerned about the respiratory disease COVID-19, which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, and the resulting uncertainty playing out in the stock market, which this week has plunged into a Bear Market.
Campbell said he now has to find between $11 million and $14 million in equity for the project to move forward.
"I love that deal and I'm still working on it," he said. He added he was not sure how long it would take to find another investor, "but I am still very interested in moving forward on that property."
Campbell quickly added that he doesn't know whether what he's experiencing with his project is happening on a broader scale. Even so, he's found himself pausing this particular development because of investor uncertainty.
He informed city staffers of the setback by email on Monday morning. City administrator Kevin Lahner forwarded the email to elected officials that afternoon.
Alderman Aaron Perry commented on the project Wednesday evening via Twitter. He noted the project setback was indicative of the seriousness of the COVID-19 outbreak.
"I want the economy to thrive. We ALL should," Perry tweeted. "An email to my inbox today informed the Council that a major downtown Waukesha project has had investors pull out due to 'uncertainty happening in the world economy.' This isn't #fakenews folks. It's public record, and reality."