The most read stories of 2015 on BizTimes.com

It was another busy news year here at BizTimes.com. Here is a recap of the most read business news stories of 2015 on the BizTimes Milwaukee web site.

1. Alderman says Johnson Controls planning 50-story HQ downtown
In January, Milwaukee Ald. Robert Bauman, who represents the downtown area, told BizTimes Milwaukee that Johnson Controls Inc. was working on plans for a 50-story, 1.2 million-square-foot building near the lakefront in downtown Milwaukee. The company has not commented on its plans, but it and the city are splitting the costs of a development feasibility study for a lakefront site.

2. City condemns Renaissance Bookshop
After more than a decade of trying to get the owner of Renaissance Book Shop on North Plankinton Avenue in downtown Milwaukee to repair the decaying building, the city is taking him to court to force him to fix it or pay for its demolition.

3. Attorney Marc Marotta dies
Foley & Lardner attorney Marc Marotta, the chairman of the BMO Harris Bradley Center board of directors, died suddenly in April at the age of 52. He was involved in numerous civic endeavors in the community including the Summerfest board and the Boys and Girls Club board. He also played basketball for Marquette University from 1980-84.

4. Developers for The Corners buy site for $19.4 million
Brookfield Corners LLC, the joint venture formed to build The Corners development in Brookfiled, in March purchased the 19-acre site for $19.4 million, according to state records. Brookfield Corners is a joint venture formed between Coleshill, U.K.-based IM Properties, Chicago-based Bradford Real Estate and The Marcus Corp. The Corners will be a $200 million, 750,000-square-foot retail, restaurant and apartment development on the 19-acre site bounded by Bluemond Road, North Barker Road and I-94. The project, which will be anchored by a Von Maur store, is well under construction.

5. Ascension acquisition could shake up Wheaton Franciscan
The final cover story of the year for the BizTimes Milwaukee magazine examines how Ascension Health’s acquisition of Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare will impact the Milwaukee area health care industry.

6. Peter Feigin is CEO of the Year
In BizTimes Milwaukee’s annual Best in Business report, Milwaukee Bucks president Peter Feigin was named the “CEO of the Year.” Feigin spearheaded a major rebranding effort for the Bucks and led the successful effort to gain political approval of public funding for roughly have the cost of a $500 million arena that will be built in downtown Milwaukee.

7. Phoenix Investors buys former Quad/Graphics Mississippi plant
An affiliate of Phoenix Investors LLC, a commercial real estate firm based in Milwaukee, acquired a former Quad/Graphics printing plant in Mississippi for $5.2 million. The 630,000-square-foot building that sits on 123 acres of land and is the first industrial property Phoenix owns in Mississippi.

8. College students will live where Pabst once brewed beer
A November Real Estate Spotlight column by Corrinne Hess took a deeper look at plans to convert the 250,000-square-foot former bottling house building in the former Pabst brewery complex in downtown Milwaukee into a $45 million student residence hall.

9. Johnson Controls stands behind CEO in Ponzi scandal
The Johnson Controls board of directors said chief executive officer Alex Molinaroli’s involvement with a Ponzi schemer has no relevance to the company. Molinaroli was listed in West Palm Beach, Fla., court transcripts as one of a large number of investors who loaned money to Joseph P. Zada of Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich. Zada was found guilty in September of 15 counts of mail fraud in a $50 million Ponzi scheme that spanned 10 years, according to the Southern District of Florida United States Attorney’s Office.

10. New director of Mitchell International resigns
Mitchell International Airport director Terry Slaybaugh resigned in April, after only about two months on the job. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele announced recently that Ismael Bonilla will be the new airport director, starting Feb. 1. Bonilla currently serves as chief business development officer for Hi-Lite Airfield Services LLC in Jacksonville, Florida. Hi-Lite is an airport runway and taxiway marking contractor.

Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.

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