Proposals to rehabilitate historic West Allis industrial plant include event hall, apartments

City asks Baum Revision to conduct due diligence for its proposal

Rendering courtesy of Baum Revision.
Rendering courtesy of Baum Revision.

Last updated on January 30th, 2021 at 01:15 am

Developers vying to redevelop a historic factory building and adjacent land in West Allis have submitted plans that vary from an event space with food-production tenants to an 81-unit multi-family project.

West Allis recently received a total of five responses after it issued a request for proposals issued in May. The RFP was for the redevelopment of roughly 4.7 acres of land bounded by West National Avenue to the north, railroad tracks to the east, West Mitchell Street to the south and South 68th Street to the west.

This redevelopment area most notably features the historic, 40,000-square-foot former Kearney & Trecker building at 6771 W. National Ave.

According to a city presentation, West Allis received two proposals to rehabilitate from the former Kearney & Trecker plant, each of which included companion proposals to redevelop the 3.1 acres of adjacent land. The city also received a fifth standalone proposal for the land next to the historic industrial building.

Although one proposal has technically not yet been selected, city leaders have asked Chicago-based Baum Revision LLC to begin doing due diligence on the site to see if it can put together its financing for its project, said Patrick Schloss, West Allis community development manager.

Baum is proposing to redevelop the former Kearney & Trecker building into an event and food production space with kitchen incubator. The firm partnered with Milwaukee-based Mandel Group, which is proposing 90 units of market-rate apartments next door. The Mandel project would generate $9.5 million in value, and construction could begin in late 2020.

“Our company’s mission is to reimagine and redevelop buildings into authentic (meaningful) communities with creativity, art, history, and architecture that provide the people they serve the inspiration and resources to expand their businesses and lives,” Baum wrote in its presentation to the city.

Schloss said following the due-diligence period, which could run up to 90 days, the city intends to enter into a letter of intent with the developer for the purchase of the city-owned site.

A separate proposal comes from Milwaukee-based J. Jeffers & Co., which teamed up with Wauwatosa-based Matter Development in pitching an 81-unit multi-family proposal for the former Kearney & Trecker building along with a 72-unit senior living facility next door.

Specifically, the redeveloped building would include 57 one-bedroom units, 18 two-bedroom units and six three-bedroom units, along with 74 indoor parking stalls. The proposed 69,000-square-foot new senior apartment building would include 36 residential-care units and 36 memory-care units, along with 46 surface parking stalls.

Josh Jeffers, president and chief executive officer of Jeffers, declined to comment on the proposal.

A third proposal for the land next to the industrial facility calls for a 40-bed inpatient physical therapy rehabilitation facility. Proposed by Texas-based WBD Development, the project has an estimated $17 million in construction value and could break ground this November.

Baum is responsible for the redevelopment of the Garver Feed Mill in Madison. That venue features local artisans, producers, wellness studios and retailers, offering customers a variety of projects and services including coffee, gardening and catering.

Mandel is already working on the Six Points development just east of the proposed redevelopment site. Six Points includes a 30,000-square-foot Aurora Health Care clinic and 177 upscale apartments. Further plans for that development include a mixed-use building south of National Avenue that would feature as many as 50 apartments and another 10,000-15,000 square feet of commercial space.

Jeffers has a history of redeveloping historic structures, such as the Mackie and Mitchell buildings on Michigan Street in downtown Milwaukee. The developer is also overseeing construction of a new 11-story office building, called the Huron Building, at 511 N. Broadway.

The Kearney & Trecker building was part of the company’s West Allis campus, where it manufactured milling machines. The other three properties included in the RFP consist of the 13,000-square-foot former Perfect Screw Products Corp. facility at 6749-6751 W. National Ave. and two vacant parcels.

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Alex Zank, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.

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