The transformation of the Underwriters Exchange Building in downtown Milwaukee should soon commence, with demolition work expected to start up in December and full construction to start in February, according to the project developer.
Chicago-based Catapult Real Estate Solutions LLC plans to redevelop the vacant office building at 828 N. Broadway into 75 apartment units. It will be renamed Street Car Flats. Paul Dincin, principal of Catapult, said construction work on the project should finish by February 2022.
The developer first revealed plans for the eight-story building on in April 2018, after acquiring it for $1.25 million.
Earlier this month, contractors filed an application with the city to make alterations to the building. Catapult is also about a month away from completing the process to receive state and federal historic tax credits for the project, said Dincin.
The project cost is approximately $15 million.
A number of things occurred since Catapult bought the building to reach this point. Dincin said the firm first weighed its options between redevelopment or simply selling the building. It then went through a lengthy process of applying for the historic tax credits. It also had to prioritize another development in Chicago, before refocusing on the Street Car Flats.
But the timing it right to move forward with construction for the Milwaukee project, said Dincin.
"We think we'll have a real competitive advantage with size, price and newness," he said. "With historic tax credits making it feasible, we thought this was a good time to do it downtown."
A majority of its 75 units will be studios, with some one-bedroom and two-bedroom units. On the top two stories of the building will be three- or four-bedroom duplex units. These units will have two floors with stairs in between, Dincin said.
The building will also include a historic-looking ground floor lobby, featuring crown molding that crews uncovered, and a community area in the basement. Dincin said the basement is well-equipped as a communal space because it is full height, has lots of natural light and is served by two elevators.
"It's an advantage of this building," he said.
Also on the first floor will be some of the apartments and a small retail space, likely a good fit for a coffee shop, Dincin said.
The roughly 57,100-square-foot building was constructed in 1924, according to city records.