Milwaukee-based WiRED Properties has received a preliminary financing commitment to build Ravenna, a mixed-use development the firm has planned for years on Oakland Avenue in Shorewood. Construction could begin in three months, said WiRED Properties president Blair Williams.
The building, called Ravenna, will be built on a 0.55-acre vacant lot in the 4500 block of Oakland Avenue. It will be four stories tall with 22 apartments and 7,500 square feet of retail space.
WiRED originally planned to have condominiums in Ravenna, but the project was stalled when the condo market collapsed. Other than shifting the condos to apartments few changes have been made to the project, Williams said.
“We’ll tone down the finishes a little bit,” he said.
The project will cost about $6.5 million, Williams said. Oconomowoc-based First Bank Financial Centre has made a preliminary commitment to provide a construction loan for about 80 percent of the financing, he said. Equity financing will cover the remainder of the cost.
Performance Running Outfitters has signed a letter of intent to occupy 2,200 square feet of retail space in the building.
The Ravenna project is similar to The Cornerstone, another mixed-use development that WiRED built on the other side of Oakland Avenue. The Cornerstone has 25 apartments and 11,000 square feet of retail space. All of the retail space has been leased and 70 percent of the apartments have been leased, Williams said.
The Cornerstone was built on a 0.77-acre lot, previously occupied by a gas station.
WiRED will purchase the site for Ravenna from the Village of Shorewood. A home and a dentists office previously occupied the site. Those properties were acquired by the village, the buildings were demolished and the village issued a request for proposals (RFP) from developers. Village officials selected WiRED Properties to develop the site.
Engberg Anderson is the architect for The Cornerstone and Ravenna.
The addition of The Cornerstone and Ravenna will increase the density and dramatically change the appearance of the north end of the Oakland Avenue commercial district.
“People had never thought of this end of Oakland as being anything more than the end of Oakland,” Williams said. “For the first time in my career I’ve had the unique experience of having neighbors who I didn’t know, who will say, ‘We just want to thank you for what you’ve added to our neighborhood.'”