Redevelopment of Milwaukee Fortress Building moving forward

Madison developer planning 132 apartments, office space

Milwaukee Fortress Building

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 05:01 pm

Plans to redevelop the 124-year-old former F. Mayer Boot and Shoe Co. building, now known as the Milwaukee Fortress Building, just north of Schlitz Park near downtown Milwaukee into a mixed-use development are moving forward.

Milwaukee Fortress Building
Milwaukee Fortress Building

Madison-based developer the Alexander Company has submitted a proposal to renovate the six-story, 193,988-square-foot warehouse at 100 E. Pleasant St. in the Brewers Hill neighborhood into 132 apartments with 25,000 square feet of office space on the first two floors on the south side of the building.

The $43 million project will also include a community room, fitness room, courtyard and rooftop deck.

Adam Winkler, development project manager, said the Alexander Company plans on purchasing the property from Milwaukee developer Rick Wiegand in January, and will begin renovation after the sale closes.

Construction will likely take 14 months, Winkler said.

Talk of redeveloping the massive warehouse has been in the works for more than a year.

In March 2015, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. agreed to provide up to $9.1 million in state historical preservation tax credits to Milwaukee Fortress LLC. At the time, the group was being led by Wiegand. Wiegand was planning to spend $52.7 million to convert the warehouse into 176 apartments, according to WEDC.

Winkler said Wiegand approached the Alexander Company because of the company’s expertise on similar projects.

The project will be paid for using state and federal historic tax credits, private equity and traditional financing methods, Winkler said. The $9.1 million granted to Milwaukee Fortress LLC is still available for the project.

The Alexander Company also plans to utilize an existing vacant lot on the corner of East Vine and North Palmer streets for surface parking for the tenants. The parcels, at 1741-1745 and 1751 N. Palmer streets are in an existing historic district and will need approval from the city Historic Preservation Commission to be changed to parking.

The Alexander Company specializes in historic preservation projects. The company was selected in August to restore six buildings to their original purpose of serving veterans at the Milwaukee VA Soldiers Home on the grounds of the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center.

Winkler said the Alexander Company was attracted to the Milwaukee Fortress Building project because of the property itself and its intricacies – there are nearly 1,400 windows in the warehouse – and the overall location.

“The proximity to Brady Street and the Riverwalk and downtown is great,” he said. “Plus, Brewers Hill itself is just a fantastic neighborhood.”

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