Madison-based Ascendant Holdings LLC announced that it has purchased the 110-year-old Wells Building, located at 324 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, from Milwaukee-based Zilber Proptery Group. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. According to city records, the 15-story, 117,166-square-foot building has an assessed value of $5.6 million.
The Wells Building is one of several class B office buildings in downtown Milwaukee that has struggled with a high vacancy rate. The building had a vacancy rate of 42.5 percent, with 49,833 square feet of vacant space, according to the Commercial Association of Realtors Wisconsin (CARW) and Xceligent second quarter office market report.
Ascendant Holdings, founded in 2009 by Eric Nordeen and Matt Prescott, is a privately held commercial real estate investment company with offices in Madison and Milwaukee.
“This is Ascendant’s first acquisition in the downtown Milwaukee market,” said Nordeen, principal of Ascendant Holdings. “We are very excited about the growth potential of downtown Milwaukee, and specifically the potential for the Wells Building to perform well over time."
Ascendant plans to make some immediate upgrades to the building’s façade and common areas. The plans include introducing new technology, lighting, and modern design elements intended to complement the historic appeal.
“The building is a Milwaukee original," Prescott said. "The lavish turn-of-the-century architectural details are still in excellent condition today."
"After completion of our planned improvements over the next several months, the Wells Building will provide the best user experience of any historic downtown office building," Nordeen said. "Prospective tenants will be surprised to see the high quality of the buildout without the high price tag. They won’t find better office space for a better price anywhere in the market."