Near West Side Partners, a Milwaukee neighborhood improvement group, is planning to spend $2 million to redevelop buildings at North 27th and Wells streets.
The group is seeking a $350,000 loan from the Milwaukee Economic Development Corp. to buy the building at 2725 W. Wisconsin Ave., which is currently occupied by the Leprechaun Lounge.
[caption id="attachment_331145" align="alignright" width="325"]
Leprechaun Lounge photo by Google.[/caption]
The overall $2 million project is part of a plan to redevelop the 27th Street corridor, said Mick Hatch, the attorney for the group.
“In the long run, we’re trying to create a critical mass of positive activity to revitalize the area,” Hatch said.
MEDC's Loan & Finance Committee will consider the request Tuesday.
Hatch said the area is already on the road to improvement. Last year the former 27th Street Tobacco and Wireless store at 848 N. 27th St., closed and NWSP is currently helping the Penfield Children's Center acquire the building, Hatch said.
The block at the southwest corner of 27th Street and Wisconsin Avenue is in a state of transition with the majority of the block populated with vacant parcels and vacant buildings. The largest vacancy is the former Travis Building, a four-story office building that had been used as a school.
The Near West Side Partners acquired the Travis Building, 2733 W. Wisconsin Ave. The group is working to make the block attractive for future redevelopment efforts to complement the existing state office building, the proposed bus rapid transit line, and the future redevelopment of both the Wisconsin Avenue School and City Campus, according to a draft version of the North 27th Street Corridor Strategy plan released this month.
Milwaukee developer Rick Wiegand, who owns the Ambassador Hotel, is working on another redevelopment project in the neighborhood. He purchased the three-building City Campus complex south of West Wells Street, between North 27th and North 28th streets for $272,000 from Milwaukee County in January 2016. He is currently renovating the building with plans to lease it
to office tenants. Wiegand is also in the process of purchasing the former Wisconsin Avenue School at 2708 W. Wisconsin Ave. and will turn it into
a 23-room extended stay hotel.
Future uses of the southwest corner of 27th Street and Wisconsin Avenue could include office, retail and other commercial services, preferably as part of a mixed-use residential or office development and open space, including community gardens, according to the city plan.
If more properties are acquired by the city or NWSP on the block, blighted buildings could be razed to support property consolidation and redevelopment, according to the plan.