MSOE seeks $10 million in tax-exempt bonds for Park East parking structure

The Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) wants to borrow $10 million in tax-exempt bonds for a 780-space parking structure, with an athletic field on top, which it wants to build northwest of Knapp Street and Broadway in the Park East corridor. The tax-exempt status for the bonds would be granted by the city of Milwaukee’s Redevelopment Authority but the money would be borrowed from the private bond market, not from the city.

The total cost of the project is about $28 million. Drs. Robert and Patricia Kern are also contributing funds for the project.

The Redevelopment Authority will review the request for access to the tax-exempt bonds during its meeting on Thursday.

The MSOE parking structure development would be built on a 2.5-acre vacant site north of the school’s Kern Center athletic facility. Part of the site is owned by Marshall & Ilsley Corp. and part is owned by Milwaukee County. In order to complete the deal a land swap must be approved by the county and M&I and MSOE must complete a purchase of the project site.

Talks between city, county and M&I officials are progressing, said MSOE president Dr. Hermann Viets.

"It’s a very complicated four-sided deal," he said.

MSOE hopes to complete the land swap deal and get city and county approval for the project in May, Viets said. Construction could begin this summer and be completed by next spring, he said.

Initially, about 500 of the 780 parking spaces in the structure would be leased to area businesses and the public. That availability is expected to be eliminated over the next 5-10 years as MSOE’s own parking needs expand.

The athletic field on top of the parking structure will be used for collegiate soccer, lacrosse and youth sports.

The parking structure development would also include a public park, to be maintained by MSOE, and a small amount of retail space.

MSOE also plans to refinance $25 million in bonds that it has borrowed with tax-exempt bonds for other projects.

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