TAG 834 LLC, an investor group being led by Milwaukee developer Tim Gokhman, has purchased the Renaissance Book Shop buildings on North Plankinton Avenue in downtown Milwaukee.
[caption id="attachment_140288" align="alignright" width="365"]
The Renaissance Book Shop building in downtown Milwaukee.[/caption]
Gokhman says he is working with engineers to see if any components of the 18,560-square-foot building at 834 N. Plankinton Ave. can be saved before making a final decision about what to do with the property. He also purchased an adjacent two-story, 3,976-square-foot building at 830 N. Plankinton Ave. Both of the buildings are 116 years old.
Gokhman purchased the properties Friday from long-time owner Robert John. He did not disclose the purchase price.
The 834 N. Plankinton building is assessed at $325,000. The building at 830 N. Plankinton is assessed at $196,000.
Gokhman said it will take at least three weeks to get his engineering reports back before he can begin to assess what type of development is possible for the property. He said he is hoping to salvage some of the 834 building, but he doesn’t know if that will be possible.
In November, the city condemned
the 834 N. Plankinton building after an inspection found that the hundreds of thousands of books lining the walls and covering the building’s four floors had caused enough structural damage that the south end of the structure was one foot lower than the other end. The book store closed when the building was condemned.
Gokhman said he has been interested in purchasing the property for several months because of its location along the Milwaukee River.
“That block has such a unique urban feel,” Gokhman said. “It is within walking distance to the new arena, Red Arrow Park and the Marcus Center – plus there are only so many opportunities to be on the water. What’s not to like?”
John said selling the buildings after 40 years was bittersweet but said the 834 building was “at the end of its useful life.”
“The (834 N. Plankinton) building was designed with inadequate footings to begin with,” John said. “It made it difficult to try to maintain it.”
John still operates a Renaissance Book Shop at General Mitchell International Airport and a shop next to Applebee’s at the Shops of Grand Avenue. He plans on keeping both open.
“I wish the new owners my best wishes,” John said. “They were good to deal with and they treated me fairly.”