Jeffers proposing up to 203 units of housing for Journal Sentinel building

Redevelopment won't occur until at least late 2020

Courtesy of J. Jeffers & Co.
Courtesy of J. Jeffers & Co.

Milwaukee developer J. Jeffers & Co. announced its plans to redevelop the Journal Sentinel building in downtown Milwaukee, including the creation of up to 203 units of affordable, student and workforce residential housing.

According to a news release, Jeffers will redevelop the Journal Sentinel building at 333 W. State St. into 103 residential units, which will be a mix of affordable, student and workforce housing. That building was constructed in 1924.

The building addition to the east, constructed in 1962, will be similarly converted into 80-100 residential dwellings. This section will focus on a mix of student and affordable units but also offer some workforce-housing options.

Jeffers announced on Oct. 31 it had acquired the three Journal Sentinel buildings as part of plans for a historic rehabilitation project. The buildings are located on a downtown block bounded by Vel R. Phillips Avenue, State Street, Old World Third Street and Kilbourn Avenue. Jeffers paid $8 million for the buildings, according to state records.

The developer earlier this month filed development plans with the city for the main building, which revealed the 103 affordable units and ground-floor retail space.

Jeffers didn’t disclose plans for the remaining buildings, which include a four-story structure to the south and the Major Goolsby’s sports bar at 340 W. Kilbourn Ave.

Project details are still not final, and the work cannot begin until the newspaper’s lease expires in late 2020, Jeffers noted.

In financing the project, the firm will seek both historic and affordable housing tax credits.

“There are thousands of people who work and study within a few blocks of these important buildings, and while Downtown Milwaukee has witnessed unprecedented growth in the last few years, housing has been the one sector that has been left behind and is still lagging,” Josh Jeffers, president and chief executive of Jeffers, said. “Our project is aimed at that sweet spot that combines work, play and study in an historic building, and we are cautiously optimistic that the market will respond positively.”

Courtesy of J. Jeffers & Co.
Courtesy of J. Jeffers & Co.

The ground floors of both buildings provide unique commercial development opportunities, said Jeffers.

“The lobby of the original Journal Communications building presents a classic and grand design, while the opposite end of the property opens to the river and a park,” he said. “The development opportunities are significant.”

In deciding on the housing options, Jeffers pointed to the city’s goal of creating 10,000 new affordable units over the next 10 years. Also, the buildings are within walking distance to several nearby colleges, as well as major places of employment such as the Bucks’ Deer District.

Jeffers said Friday that the entire redevelopment of the Journal Square block could cost up to $115 million.

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