Marcus Corp. purchases downtown parcel for possible future development


An affiliate of The Marcus Corp. has purchased vacant land in downtown Milwaukee from a parking management company on N. Edison Street for $3.1 million, according to state records.


The 1.24-acre parcel, at 1301-1357 N. Edison St., is located near the northwest corner of Knapp and Water streets, along the Milwaukee River and across the street from AJ Bombers restaurant.

It could be used for future development, including a movie theater, although the Marcus Corp. does not have definite plans at this time for the site, said Katie Falvey, vice president of real estate for The Marcus Corporation.

“We are keeping our options open,” Flavey said. “In the meantime, we will continue to offer daily public parking on the site.”

Rainier Properties LLC had tried for years to develop an office building with a Marcus Theaters movie theater complex near the site, but that project has never moved forward as Rainier, led by Bruce Westling, was unable to attract office tenants.

Brookfield-based Hammes Co. has been working on a plan to build three office buildings on the vacant area northwest of Water Street and Knapp Street. It’s a complicated real estate deal with a 0.37-acre portion of the site owned by Milwaukee County, a city street running trough the site and the remaining portion of the site being privately owned. The city street would have been vacated, under Hammes’ development plan.

Milwaukee Department of City Development spokesman Jeff Fleming said the last time Hammes met with the city, his plans were on hold.

Hammes Co. owner, Jon Hammes could not be reached for comment.

Hammes had an option to purchase the privately-owned portion of the site from Parking Management of Wisconsin, Inc., 330 W. Wells St., but that option expired last month. Parking Management sold the 1.24 acres to the Marcus Corp. affiliate.

Earlier this year an affiliate of Hammes purchased a 1.5-acre site at 210 E. Knapp St., which is located across Water Street (to the east) from the site northwest of Water and Knapp.

Marcus recently sold a property in Kansas City and this land purchase will be used as part of a 1031 like-kind exchange, Flavey said.

“The timing was right for us to pick up this great piece of land as an investment,” Flavey said. “We believe the Edison Street property has significant development potential due to its terrific location in a booming area of downtown as well as its Milwaukee River frontage.”


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