Mandel Group moves forward with renovations to former power house at Milwaukee County Research Park

105-year-old building to include restaurant, fitness center

Historic Boiler House
Historic Boiler House. Rendering: Kahler Slater

Last updated on March 17th, 2020 at 01:32 pm

Mandel Group is moving forward with renovations to a 105-year-old former power house in the Milwaukee County Research Park in Wauwatosa, which will turn the 8,200-square-foot building into a leasing office for nearby apartments, a fitness center and a restaurant.

The Milwaukee-based developer is seeking approvals from city officials for the project and says it’s finalizing a contract with a restaurant operator there.

Renovations to the so-called M-10 building, located at 10460 Innovation Drive, make up one part of a roughly $36 million mixed-use development at the southeast corner of Innovation Drive and Watertown Plank Road. The development also includes the planned 102-unit Crescent Apartments building and a 119-room SpringHill Suites by Marriott hotel.

The SpringHill Suites was developed by Milwaukee-based HKS Holdings LLC and finished this spring. Construction of the apartments commenced in 2018 with some site work, but no visible activity is taking place at the project site currently. Mandel is the developer.

Mandel is seeking a conditional use permit for the M-10 building work. The request will be considered by the Plan Commission on Monday, Jan. 13.

The developer also refers to the project as the Historic Boiler House in a letter to the city.

“The Historic Boiler House is envisioned to be the ‘third space’ for both residents of the apartments, the nearby hotel guests and for the over 22,000 employees within a oneā€mile radius,” the letter states. “The building is being restored to its historic significance and will have exposed brick, expansive interior volumes with open trusses and large arch top windows.”

Specifically, project plans include a 3,680-square-foot fitness center, a 2,630-square-foot restaurant and 960-square-foot leasing office. Mandel expects 17 full-time employees to work in the building, 12 of which would work in the restaurant portion.

Mandel says in the letter that it is currently finalizing a contract with the restaurant tenant. The restaurant will likely be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., serving breakfast, lunch and the “after work meeting demographic,” though it won’t offer a full dinner service.

The gym, meanwhile, will be available 24 hours a day to apartment residents but will also be open to the public during more limited business-day hours.

Mandel Group didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The firm was chosen in 2016 by the Milwaukee County Research Park Corp. Board to redevelop the three parcels of land. Board members selected Mandel Group after terminating a previous agreement with another developer.

Guy Mascari, executive director of Milwaukee County Research Park, said he’s aware of Mandel Group’s conditional use request, and is supportive of the project moving forward.

“We’re highly supportive of that (conditional use permit) being granted,” he said.

Mascari referred questions of the apartment construction work to Mandel Group.

Historic Boiler House
Historic Boiler House. Rendering: Kahler Slater

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Alex Zank covers commercial and residential real estate for BizTimes. Alex previously worked for Farm Equipment magazine and also covered statewide construction news at The Daily Reporter. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he studied journalism, political science and economics. Having grown up in rural western Wisconsin, Alex loves all things outdoors, including camping, hiking, four-wheeling and hunting.

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