Construction on a 14-story mixed use building at the southeast corner of Water Street and Juneau Avenue in downtown Milwaukee, which has been halted for weeks, is expected to resume later this month, according to Lisa Aldrich, general manager of the Staybridge Suites hotel that will anchor the building.
The projected opening for the hotel has been pushed back to late July, Aldrich said.
The project has been delayed several times, in part because of difficulty obtaining credit during the global financial industry crisis.
"We were originally supposed to open a year ago in June," Aldrich said.
Park Ridge, Ill.-based Economou Partners is the managing partner, architect and general contractor for the project. Fort Myers, Fla.-based Development Opportunity Corp. has a minority ownership stake in the project. Representatives for Economou and DOC did not return calls seeking comment.
The project is backed by investors from Iceland and Finland, and the project has run into financial difficulty because one of the investor’s capital was frozen when an overseas bank failed, according to sources.
"We do have an investor from Iceland, they have already invested $17 million (in the project)," Aldrich said. She declined to provide any additional financial details about the project and referred questions about the financing to Economou.
Currently, the development’s plans include a 117-room Staybridge Suites hotel and 34 apartments. However, Economou is considering plans to change the apartment units into another hotel, Aldrich said. Economou wants to keep its options open as it works out its financing issues, she said. The apartments were originally supposed to be condos, but Economou switched to apartments because it struggled to sell the condos as the downtown condo market dried up.
According to a source, the project’s investors from Finland and Iceland were in Milwaukee last week trying to obtain financing from U.S. banks to complete the project. Economou is thinking about changing the apartment units to a boutique hotel to increase its chances of getting that financing, the source said.
The financing and construction delays for the project have caused problems for subcontracts that say they have not been paid for their work. At least four subcontracts have filed construction liens against Economou and DOC. Brookfield-based Uihlein Electric Company Inc. says it is owed $533,869 for electrical and communications work. Oak Creek-based Black Diamond Inc. says it is owned $23,712 for asphalt paving. Milwaukee-based Otis Elevator Company says it is owed $191,005 for elevator installation work. Waukesha-based Spancrete Inc. says it is owed $426,743.