Local manufacturer eyeing Midtown Center for distribution center

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 04:52 pm

After being vacant for nearly seven years, the former Lowe’s building near Milwaukee’s Midtown Center could soon have a tenant.

The former Lowe’s building at Midtown Center.

Milwaukee-based Phoenix Investors LLC has asked the city to allow for an indoor wholesale and distribution facility as a permitted use within the building at 5800 W. Hope Ave.

Frank Crivello, chairman and founder of Phoenix Development, said the company is very close to announcing a tenant for the building.

Crivello would not say who the company is, but said it is a successful local manufacturer who will lease the entire 134,000-square-foot building for distribution to support its growing operations.

“There will be jobs and this will be an impactful, good development for the area,” Crivello said.

Phoenix Investors purchased the former Lowe’s building in July 2016 from Lowe’s Home Centers, LLC for $1.5 million.

The property has been vacant since the Lowe’s store closed in 2011. Repeated prior attempts to find a retail tenant have been unsuccessful.

In January 2016, the 161,022-square-foot Walmart Supercenter store at Midtown Center, 5825 W. Hope Ave. closed and has remained vacant, although Walmart owns the property and continues to pay rent.

Converting former big-box retail into other uses has become a growing trend as the retail industry has been transformed by the increased popularity of online shopping.

On the city’s northwest side, ETE Reman Inc. a manufacturer of transmissions and transfer cases for cars and trucks purchased the former 140,000-square-foot building Walmart building at 8700 N. Servite Dr., just off of Brown Deer Road and North 76th Street in 2013.

ETE also bought the former 45,200-square-foot Toys “R” Us building near the former Northridge Mall in 2017 with plans to convert it to light industrial.

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