Sofi Lofts project in Walker’s Point includes condo units, new garage addition

Project needs approval by Board of Zoning Appeals

Rendering: Galbraith Carnahan Architects
Rendering: Galbraith Carnahan Architects

The latest plans set of plans filed with the city of Milwaukee for the redevelopment of two Walker’s Point buildings include a small number of condominium units, plus a small building addition behind the buildings to be used as a garage.

The buildings at 145 S. First St. and 149-153 S. First St. are being renovated as part of a mixed-use project known as Sofi Lofts. Building permits filed earlier this month indicated the project consists of first-floor commercial space with residential dwellings on the upper floors of the two- and three-story buildings.

The buildings and adjacent vacant lot are owned by LAS Investments LLC, which is registered to Badger Liquor president Lacey Sadoff.

A set of plans filed in mid-January to the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals indicates the upper floors will be turned into condo units — apparently about two or three units in all.

The plans also show a 935-square-foot expansion on the back of the three-story building. Residents will park their cars there and have access to an elevator hall. A garage door will also be added to the side of the two-story building.

A vacant lot immediately south of the buildings, at 155 S. First St., will provide access to the residential parking area. LAS Investments also owns this lot. A decorative steel vertical-lift doorway will be installed at the front of the drive aisle, facing South First Street.

According to the plans, the screen will “provide a visual edge to the street, as well as help to disguise the pavement behind it.”

The retail space will total 4,000 square feet.

BOZA will consider three requested variances from the project team. The requests are to allow the site to have no landscaping, no bike parking spaces and no off-street parking for the retail space. The project team states in its BOZA filings that “dimensional limitations” do not allow for bike and vehicle parking at the site, beyond what can be provided to residents.

Nick Carnahan, a partner at Wauwatosa-based Galbraith Carnahan Architects, is also working on the project.

Neither Sadoff nor Carnahan have responded to requests for comment on the project.

LAS Investments purchased the three properties in 2018 for $1.2 million, according to state records.

The redevelopment project will cost $1.5 million, according to the plans on file with the city.

The building at 145 S. First St. was constructed around 1909. Known as the Milwaukee Bronze Casting building, it was historically used for industrial purposes and was designed by architect Theo Shutz, according to Wisconsin Historical Society records. The second building, known as the F. Holzinger building, was built in 1889 and was historically used for retail space.

“The buildings require extensive rehabilitation due to years of neglect by prior ownership,” the plans state.

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Alex Zank
Alex Zank covers commercial and residential real estate for BizTimes. Alex previously worked for Farm Equipment magazine and also covered statewide construction news at The Daily Reporter. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he studied journalism, political science and economics. Having grown up in rural western Wisconsin, Alex loves all things outdoors, including camping, hiking, four-wheeling and hunting.

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