Out-of-state investors see value in Pabst Brewery project

Two out-of-state investment funds are bullish enough about the Pabst Brewery redevelopment project in Milwaukee that they see fit to invest money into the venture. National City Bank and Great Lakes Capital Fund are providing financing for the $15.8 million Blue Ribbon Loft Apartments project at the former Pabst Brewery. National City Bank’s National City Community Development Corp. and Great Lakes Capital are each providing about $4.8 million in financing for the project. Great Lakes Capital, based in Lansing, Mich., is a nonprofit community development finance organization. The fund has been active for 15 years and has invested more than $1 billion in development projects.

"No one else had wanted to do this project," said Terri Wilson, vice president of corporate media relations for National City. "There apparently was some difficulty in getting the financing. The tax credits always provide a really unique opportunity in these types of situations. It just so happens that the executive director of our National City Community Development (Corp.), he is the president and serves on the Great Lakes Capital Fund board. And so we needed another financing partner and investor to help with the equity on this project and that’s how Great Lakes came to Milwaukee, it was through National City’s relationship with them."

The apartment project combines the use of Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credits and Wisconsin State Historic Credits. The Pabst project is being developed by Joseph Zilber, founder of Zilbert Ltd. and Towne Realty. Located at 901 W. Winnebago St., the 95-unit Blue Ribbon Loft Apartments will be redeveloped as a mixed-income apartment building, affordable to families and individuals making 50 or 60 percent of the area’s median income. Construction is expected to begin this summer.

"Investing in our community by helping redevelop neighborhoods and stimulating economic growth is one of National City’s most important roles," said Beth Wnuk, president of National City-Wisconsin Banking. "We are proud to team with such visionary leaders as Joseph Zilber and Gary Gorman on National City’s first community development project in Milwaukee."

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