Irgens sues Westin hotel developers, U.S. Bank

Firm alleging 833 East office tower will be blocked by hotel development

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Milwaukee-based commercial real estate development firm Irgens filed a lawsuit Wednesday morning in Milwaukee County Circuit Court to block the proposed Westin Hotel development next to Irgens’ 833 East office tower.

Irgens is also suing U.S. Bank. Irgens purchased the site at 833 E. Michigan in 2014 from U.S. Bank with an understanding that the bank would not allow a property that it owns to unreasonably interfere with another property on the U.S. Bank Center Campus, including the 833 East site.

833 East

Irgens is alleging the Westin Hotel planned for 550 N. Van Buren St., immediately west of the 17-story 833 East building, will obstruct views and negatively impact Irgens’ ability to lease office space at 833 East. Construction of the 833 East building is nearing completion and construction is expected to begin soon for the hotel.

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At issue is not the height of the proposed 10-story hotel, rather the shape. Original plans shared with Irgens in March of 2014 showed a design that was rectangular in shape on the southernmost portion of 550 N. Van Buren, with minimal overlap of the 833 East building, the firm says.

Irgens alleges that in October 2015, the company requested an update from the hotel developers, JSWD Wisconsin Venture One LLC, but were denied a meeting. At that time, Irgens learned of several changes to the hotel project’s design, including moving the hotel tower to the north, where it would impact a greater portion of 833 East’s west side.

Representatives from JSWD Wisconsin Venture One LLC and U.S. Bank could not be reached for comment.

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In December 2015, Irgens obtained drawings for the proposed hotel and found the new building is L-shaped and directly blocks 48 feet of the 833 East building. Additionally, the new plan calls for driving deep pilings to support the hotel’s foundation – a process that will involve considerable noise and vibrations to nearby buildings and tenants, according to the complaint from Irgens.

Irgens said it contacted U.S. Bank and the hotel developers this month, but both parties refused to meet.

“After discovering the change in design plans for the hotel and the resulting impact on the 833 East building, we were repeatedly rebuffed in our efforts to meet with representatives of U.S. Bank and the hotel developer to discuss the changes,” Mark Irgens, CEO of Irgens said in a statement. “This legal action is being taken as a last resort to protect our interests in the 833 East building.”

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