Three high-profile buildings in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward are losing their anchor tenants.
The Good Harvest Market, at 346 N. Broadway, recently closed. Milwaukee Magazine will move out of the building at 417 E. Chicago St. to another Third Ward building. The Eisner American Museum of Advertising and Design at 208 N. Water St. will close to become an online-only institution.
Milwaukee Magazine and Quad Creative occupied 16,000 square feet of space in a 42,000-square-foot, single-story building owned by the Kathleen D’Acquisto Irrevocable Trust. Quad Creative moved recently to Sussex, and Milwaukee Magazine will move soon to the Warehouse #1 building around the corner.
Once Milwaukee Magazine moves out, two-thirds of the building on Chicago Street will be vacant, said Tom Gale, principal at Equity Commercial Real Estate LLC, the broker of the property.
Equity is currently showing all 16,000 square feet of the Milwaukee Magazine/Quad Creative space to prospective tenants. The building’s other tenants are Fanatics Sports Bar, Hilo Martini Lounge, and Lakeshore Medical Clinic.
The one-story building and its large parking lot stick out in the dense Third Ward neighborhood. Eventually the block may be redeveloped, but the current owner has no plans to do so, Gale said.
“Down the road, a single-story downtown building, in any city, is going to become obsolete,” Gale said. “Ideally, it should be a multi-story building with underground parking, but I’m guessing the current owner will never do that.”
A representative from the Kathleen D’Aquisto Irrevocable Trust did not immediately return an interview request.
Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD) plans to open a residence hall in a building that will be constructed on the corner of Erie St. and Menomonee St., on top of the building there that is currently occupied by Snap Fitness.
According to Vivian Rothschild, a spokeswoman for MIAD, preliminary plans for the dormitory were submitted to the Third Ward’s Architectural Review Board and were approved in January. Engberg Anderson of Milwaukee is the architect on the project. Fox Point-based General Capital Management Group is the developer for the project and plans to build an additional six stories on top of the existing 27,400-square-foot building on the site.
MIAD currently owns and operates the building that contains the Eisner Museum of Advertising and Design at 208 N. Water St. The top four floors of that building are currently occupied by MIAD student dormitories.
The Eisner Museum recently announced its plans to close its brick and mortar facility and go virtual, which would leave the first two floors of the building unoccupied.
The future of the Eisner Museum building is entirely contingent on the construction of the new MIAD dormitory, said Blair Williams, owner of WiRED Properties in Milwaukee, who provided consulting services to MIAD for the residence hall project.
“MIAD has always been committed to being able to provide housing to its students,” Williams said. “If the new dormitory is built, obviously the Eisner Building no longer plays as much of an integral role in that equation, and some decisions will need to be made.”
The space occupied by the former Good Harvest Market, located near the Milwaukee Public Market, is sparking some interest among other retail and grocery vendors, said Michael Gardner, president of the Historic Third Ward Association.
“We have several potential occupants looking at the space,” Gardner said. “And it’s really part of the Public Market, so we’d like the space to complement that atmosphere.”
The Third Ward Association hopes to attract another small grocer to the space, he said.
The Third Ward lost some businesses during the Great Recession, but it is attracting other developments, including two apartment buildings that are under construction. Mandel Group Inc. is constructing a 76-unit apartment building with 3,400 square feet of retail space at the corner of East Corcoran Avenue and Jefferson Streets. Developer Robert Joseph is building an 81-unit apartment building
with 9,000 square feet of retail space, which is being built at the northwest corner of East Menomonee and North Jackson streets.
The neighborhood remains a strong business district, Gardner said.
“The Third Ward has a particular aesthetic charm that people really seem to like,” he said. “We have a lot of historic buildings, and the architectural review board protects that charm very carefully. While it can sometimes be a bit of a headache for developers, because of some of the requirements, people really appreciate that we maintain the quality of the area.”
According to Gardner, creative businesses are drawn to the area because of the aesthetic qualities.
The neighborhood’s parking structures, the Public Market, the streetscapes and the close proximity to Summerfest also make the area attractive for local businesses, particularly in the summer, Gardner said.
Ann Pieper, owner of Milwaukee-based Pieper Properties, said she has seen an increase during the past few months from tenants interested in leasing space in the Third Ward.
“People do tend to gravitate towards very walkable, human-scaled, 24/7 neighborhoods like the Third Ward,” Pieper said.