Living in luxury – A sneak preview of Milwaukee’s priciest condos

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:27 pm

Living in luxury – A sneak preview of Milwaukee’s priciest condos

By Katherine Michalets, of SBT

Room service, a rooftop garden, a swimming pool, a two-story health club, a marble whirlpool, a concierge, valet parking and maid service. Sounds like a four star hotel for only special getaways?
Actually, such luxurious accouterments will be part of everyday life in the 32-story University Club Tower, a new condominium development by Mandel Group,
"The Tower" will be located in Milwaukee along North Prospect Avenue between East Kilbourn Avenue and East Wells Street.
The average condominium in the building will span about 3,500 square feet and be priced at $400 per square foot. That means the average price will be $1.5 million per condo.
"They are not only buying a luxurious space, but a lifestyle," said Barry Mandel, chief executive officer of Mandel Group. "We found that there is a market for large condominium spaces with large outdoor terraces."
Of University Club Tower’s 54 units, more than 65% have been reserved by buyers, and those reservations are being turned into contracts, Mandel said. The developer hopes to begin construction by April 2004, with a planned completion date in October or November 2005.
Mandel estimates University Club Tower to be a $78 million development in revenue and sales.
Mandel envisions most of the condo purchasers to be middle-aged professionals – like him. That is why he and his three business partners will be residing in the tower condominiums.
The average age of a University Club Tower condo owner is in the mid-50s according to Mandel, meaning that most are still working. However, some of the residents will be retirees.
"The partnership decided to move forward and to provide an alternative for people who wanted to live in a luxurious space," said Mandel.
Some condo owners will sell their houses and move to the tower. Others may be empty-nesters or people who already reside downtown. "We are selling to people of substantial means," he said.
To help with the designing process of individual units, Mandel Group is providing a product selection person to work with purchasers and their interior decorators.
"We want to make it so it is painless and in fact, a fun and exciting process," he said.
It was the design of University Club Tower that lured Katie Heil to the development.
"I would not have given up where I live now if it wasn’t for the superior design and phenomenal location," said Heil, who plans to move into the tower. "I do think that it is going to be a landmark in Milwaukee."
Heil currently resides in a house on the east side of Milwaukee. An active member the community who is involved in many non-profit organizations and likes to travel, Heil was attracted by the security that the tower will provide.
Heil, who also owns a dog, values the University Club Tower’s commitment to resident dog owners.
In its design, Mandel Group incorporated a 17,000-square-foot terrace on top of the parking garage for both dogs and humans to enjoy. Dog-walker services will be offered.
Another plus for Heil and other buyers is the list of standard features, optional features, service amenities and the easy access to the University Club, located next door.
The building’s features include access to a laundry, shopping and valet service.
Standard features in each room will pamper the owners. Each unit will have a personal 315-square-foot terrace, expansive windows, 10-foot ceilings, granite countertops and gas fireplaces. For those who want a little more, optional features include a central sound system, a built-in wet bar, a wall safe and lined silver closets.
Such features and amenities prompted Nita Soref to be the first buyer of a condo in the tower. She will move to the tower from her two-story house in Whitefish Bay.
"There has never been a building built here like the ones in Chicago or New York," said Soref, who, while living in New York for 19 years, learned to value such services as a concierge and security. "This is exactly what I wanted."
Other building amenities include a lap pool, a port cochere at building entrance, a common room with a gourmet kitchen, a wine cellar with a tasting room and individual wine lockers, and two parking spaces per unit in the parking garage.
The rooftop terrace will feature lawn grass, formal gardens, sitting areas and a special storm water drainage system.
The tower will feature no hallways. Secured elevators will open directly into the condos.
Another feature that Mandel is especially proud of is the partnership with the University Club. Residents of the tower will gain access to banquet rooms and guestrooms. The Club will gain additional parking, members and funding for maintenance and improvements.
The University Club Tower also offers fantastic views of Milwaukee. From different units, residents may be able to see Lake Michigan, Juneau Park, the Milwaukee skyline or the Milwaukee Art Museum.
"It’s the best site in southeastern Wisconsin. It’s overlooking Lake Michigan, the University Club, which is an historical building, and looks over what will become a national monument: the Calatrava addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum," Mandel said.
"I think that it is a great celebration for Milwaukee, in a sense," Mandel said. "It is just one building in a line of many that will offer housing opportunities for a diverse group of people and at the same time, it helps the University Club by providing additional capital for improvements and its membership base."

Nov. 28, 2003 Small Business Times, Milwaukee

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Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.

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