Milwaukee-based J. Jeffers & Co. and Milwaukee-based Interstate Development Partnerssaid Thursday they have closed on financing for the $61 million redevelopment of the 103-year-old Milwaukee Athletic Club building in downtown Milwaukee.
The project now includes 54 luxury apartments in place of an originally planned hotel. The building’s ground floor has also been redesigned so it will open to the street, making it more welcoming for guests, members and residents.
CG Schmidt is now serving as general contractor for the project and the construction schedule calls for work to be done by the fall of 2021. The project’s developers originally wanted to have the project done by the Democratic National Convention, which was scheduled for this past July until it was moved to August in a virtual format because of the coronavirus.
“When first envisioned in 2018, COVID-19 was not in the budget, and opening the hotel for the Democratic Convention was to be a big splash. Sometimes things happen for a reason. Now the project does have COVID-19 variables worked into the financial projections, with a stronger, more viable business model than before. It has taken a lot more time and energy from everyone, but in the long run, this will be the best thing for the club, for the community, and for the investor partnership,” said Tony Janowiec, president and chief executive officer of Interstate.
Josh Jeffers, president and CEO of J. Jefferes & Co., said COVID-19 shutdowns in March brought the project to a halt overnight. The developers had to build a new capital plan and reconfigure and redesign “what was already a complicated project."
In particular, Jeffers highlighted the work of Danielle Bergner, chief operating officer of J. Jeffers, for her work on reviving the project.
“Danielle did an incredible job in taking a fresh look at what the redevelopment could be and then found a path to make it possible,” Jeffers said. “That was not an easy task and included many hurdles along the way. Yet her dogged persistence, legal acumen, and financial creativity created a path to success.”
Key capital partners on the project now include Atlanta-based The Ardent Companies for construction lending; federal historic tax credits through St. Louis-based Twain Financial partners; state historic tax credits from the St. Louis unit of U.S. Bank, Iowa-based Cedar Rapids Bank and Trust as tax credits bridge lender and MAC Investors LLC, which is made up of accredited individual MAC members and investors.
“For many years, the MAC’s strong and loyal members have considered many options to reinvigorate our club and reinvest in our facilities,” said David Kriete, president of the MAC. “This is the plan we have been dreaming of and working toward for many years. It accomplishes everything we aimed for and will certainly bode well for our future membership recruitment efforts.”
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