ThriveOn King project, delayed by pandemic, now aims for February construction start

Substantial completion slated for June 2023

The former Gimbels and Schuster’s Department Store building at the southwest corner of Garfield Avenue and King Drive is being redeveloped for the new home of the MCW/GMF partnership. Rendering: Engberg Anderson Architects
The former Gimbels and Schuster’s department store building at the southwest corner of Garfield Avenue and King Drive is being redeveloped into the ThriveOn King project. Rendering: Engberg Anderson Architects

Last updated on November 12th, 2021 at 10:49 am

Construction of the $105 million ThriveOn King project along King Drive in Milwaukee’s Halyard Park neighborhood has been pushed back to February, due to delays stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

ThriveOn King is the name of the planned redevelopment of the former Gimbels-Schuster’s building at 2153 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

Milwaukee-based project developer Royal Capital Group previously stated that construction was to begin this spring. It was pushed back to fall, and now to winter, due to “ongoing challenges of the pandemic,” said Kevin Newell, founder and chief executive of Royal Capital.

“The final permitting process is in place for construction on the ThriveOn King building,” Newell said in a statement. “The ongoing challenges of the pandemic, including pricing, have pushed the timeline from fall to winter. This is an unwanted, unanticipated and temporary delay, and we are working through details to get every aspect of proceeding with construction ready.”

Newell added the development team will continue reaching out to neighborhood residents throughout the planning process for space and programming.

The changes to the project schedule and other details are outlined in proposed changes to a term sheet between the developer and the city of Milwaukee.

The city is to provide the project with up to $15 million. The money will go toward façade restoration, affordable housing units and other “extraordinary costs,” according to the term sheet. The city assistance comes through tax incremental financing.

The term sheet notes construction is anticipated to begin by Feb. 28. The project is to be substantially complete by June 30, 2023.

ThriveOn King is the future home of the ThriveOn Collaboration, a partnership created by Royal Capital, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and the Medical College of Wisconsin

The 350,000-square-foot building will be turned into 100,000 square feet of offices, 50,000 square feet of early childhood educational and community uses and apartments. A new parking structure will contain 315 parking spaces.

The project is gaining 12 apartment units over what was previously planned, according to the Department of City Development. It is now to have 89 units total, 74 of which will be affordable.

Other financing sources, according to the term sheet, include:

  • $48.5 million in commercial loans
  • $22.5 million in historic tax credits
  • $8.5 million in equity
  • $9.4 million in low-income housing tax credits
  • A $3.5 million deferred developer fee

Changes to the term sheet need Common Council approval.

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