West Allis restaurant group plans to buy city-owned office building, open entertainment center

Capri Restaurant Group requesting city provide more than $180,000 in assistance

Capri Restaurant Group intends to buy the vacant building at 6610 W. Greenfield Ave., West Allis. (Credit: city of West Allis)

The operators of the Capri di Nuovo Italian restaurant in West Allis intends to purchase a city-owned vacant office building on West Greenfield Avenue and plans to convert the space into an entertainment center.

A letter of intent recently submitted to the city by Capri Restaurant Group LLC states the group would purchase the building at 6610 W. Greenfield Ave. for $625,000. The building would be purchased by a different LLC, though it will have the same ownership as the restaurant group.

Chris Paul, owner of Capri, declined to provide many specifics on his plans for the property, but said the building would be a “totally different concept” than the Italian restaurant at 8340 W. Beloit Road, which he opened in March 2013. He added the building would also be more of an entertainment center.

“It’s going to bring a lot of excitement to West Allis,” he said.

Paul added that the two-story building would need to undergo significant renovations. He declined to disclose the expected cost of renovations, but said the work would take roughly six or seven months.

To assist in the purchase of the building, the buyer is requesting the city provide more than $180,000 in financial assistance. This would come in the form of a $50,000 forgivable loan, a $55,000 facade grant and a $78,000 code compliance forgivable loan, according to the letter of intent, which is dated July 3.

Patrick Schloss, West Allis community development manager, said the Community Development Authority purchased the building from its previous owner a little more than a year ago for $640,000. He said a different buyer was looking to convert that building into an auto lube business.

“It was the city’s desire to have something more creative at that location,” he said.

Capri’s plans for the property better fits the city’s hopes for that site, added Schloss.

“Here we have a known operator that is looking to open something new and different than what they currently do,” he said.

The building was constructed in 1937 and was formerly used as the Allis-Chalmers employment offices, according to the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Paul said the property is in an area that is undergoing significant changes.

Across the street from the building is the Six Points development. The Milwaukee-based Mandel Group project includes a 30,000-square-foot Aurora Health Care clinic and 177 upscale apartments. The developer is also planning another mixed-use building further south that would feature as many as 50 apartments and another 10,000-15,000 square feet of commercial space.

Also nearby is the 650,000-square-foot Summit Place office complex.

“It’s going to be an exciting part of the metro area in general in the next few years,” Paul said. “We want to be a part of it.”

This is at least the second vacant office building in West Allis that in recent months has been proposed to be converted to a different use. Earlier this summer, Caledonia-based Midwest Commercial Funding LLC filed plans with the city to redevelop a two-story office building at 8410 W. Cleveland Ave. into a three-story, 24,000-square-foot community-based residential facility.

On Tuesday, the Community Development Authority will consider a proposal allowing the city to enter into the letter of intent agreement with Capri, which also calls for a 60-day due diligence period and for the group to close on the property within 60 days following that period.

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Alex Zank
Alex Zank covers commercial and residential real estate for BizTimes. Alex previously worked for Farm Equipment magazine and also covered statewide construction news at The Daily Reporter. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he studied journalism, political science and economics. Having grown up in rural western Wisconsin, Alex loves all things outdoors, including camping, hiking, four-wheeling and hunting.