Mandel Group buys Harbor District riverfront site

Has plans for office building development

Site purchased by Mandel Group.

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 04:50 pm

Eighteen months after first announcing plans for a massive office building development along the Milwaukee River in the Harbor District, an affiliate for Milwaukee-based Mandel Group has purchased the first portion for the 7-acre site.

Site purchased by Mandel Group.

Delaware-based Kurth Corporation sold a 1.8-acre property at 318 S. Water St. to Mandel/Fifth Ward Holdings II LLC for $3.25 million, according to state records.

The property is assessed at $1.9 million. It is currently used for boat storage, and by Milwaukee Kayak Co.

Mandel has had 7 acres near East Florida and South Water streets, including the former Wisconsin Cold Storage Co. property and river-fronting parcels on Water Street, under contract from Kurth since early 2016.

In December 2016, Mandel Group announced plans to build two new buildings and repurpose a warehouse at the site for office space.

A public pedestrian park was also proposed on lands previously used as the south approach serving the Chicago & North Western railroad’s river‐spanning swing bridge.

Since the initial announcement, there has been little public discussion about the project.

Representatives from Mandel Group could not be reached by phone or email Thursday morning.

Arial view of site where office development was planned.

The purchase could mean Mandel Group is moving forward with its development, although office buildings are not typically constructed without an anchor tenant. Once source said Milwaukee architectural firm HGA was considering the building, but renewed its lease at another Mandel property, 333 E. Erie St., where HGA recently expanded. Mandel Group is also expected to move its office to the Harbor District site, the source said.

Over the last two years, the Milwaukee Harbor District neighborhood, just east of Walker’s Point, has begun to undergo a revitalization.

The 46-acre former Milwaukee Solvay Coke & Gas Co. site at 311 E. Greenfield Ave. was sold to Wisconsin Gas LLC in a bankruptcy sale and is currently being cleaned up.

Construction on the Harbor District’s public plaza will begin soon.

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