Some shovels in the ground

Although the credit crunch has made it extremely difficult for new real estate development projects to break ground, construction on some projects is continuing in southeastern Wisconsin.

Two hotels are under construction in Milwaukee and work could resume on a suspended hotel development downtown.

Milwaukee River Hotel LLC is building a 160-room Aloft hotel northeast of Old World Third Street and West Juneau Avenue along the Milwaukee River in downtown Milwaukee’s Park East Corridor.

Investors Karl Rajani and Pat Kasthurirangaian are renovating the former Jackson Center nursing home at 1840 N. Sixth St., located just north of downtown Milwaukee, into a 79-room Days Inn & Suites hotel.

A Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge recently appointed a receiver for the Staybridge Suites and Residences on Water development in downtown Milwaukee. The project, a 14-story building at the corner of Water Street and Juneau Avenue with a 117-room Staybridge Suites hotel and 34 residential units, has been suspended for months but could resume under the guidance of the receiver, Seth Dizard of Milwaukee-based O’Neil, Cannon, Hollman DeJong S.C., who will eventually try to sell the building. Reykjavik, Iceland-based SJ Properties Suites BuyCo EHF, an investor in the project asked the court to appoint the receiver. SJ Properties filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court alleging that the other partners in the development, Fort Myers, Fla.-based Development Opportunity Corp. (DOC) and Park Ridge, Ill.-based Economou Partners LLC misappropriated funds for the Milwaukee project and used those funds for other projects.

In another hotel development in the region, a new 83-room Hampton Inn & Suites hotel recently opened at I-43 and Highway 60 in Grafton.

Meanwhile, construction continues for the new corporate headquarters for Unline Inc. in Pleasant Prairie. The project, at I-94 and Highway 165/Q, includes a three-story, 280,000-square-foot office building and a 1.1 million-square-foot distribution center.

Milwaukee-based Mandel Group Inc. recently completed the first building, an 83-unit apartment building, at its North End development in downtown Milwaukee. The project will eventually have a total of 7-8 buildings with about 500 total residential units.

Mandel Group is also building an apartment building in the Historic Third Ward and a new 700-student residence hall along North Avenue and the Milwaukee River for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

In addition to Mandel’s Third Ward project, developer Robert Joseph is also building a new apartment building in the Third Ward.

Just south of the Third Ward, Milwaukee-based Lighthouse Development Company LLC is redeveloping the former Transpak Corp. complex into a mixed use neighborhood called South Water Works.

Meanwhile, Zilber Ltd. founder Joseph Zilber’s redevelopment of the former Pabst brewery complex in downtown Milwaukee into a mixed use urban neighborhood also continues. A parking structure is under construction there now.

Wauwatosa-based Irgens Development Partners LLC is building a two-story, 56,000-square-foot office building near I-43 and Moorland Road in New Berlin. The building will be the new corporate headquarters of United Heartland.

Also in New Berlin, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is building a three-story, 74,000-square-foot clinic at the intersection of Beloit and Moorland roads.

Several major health care facilities are under construction in the Milwaukee area including new hospitals that Aurora Health Care is building in Grafton and Oconomowoc and the expanded Columbia St. Mary’s facility on Milwaukee’s East Side. 

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