Developer will try again in Park East corridor

Milwaukee-based Rana Enterprises Group, which lost out in its bid to develop a hotel, condominiums and a gas station on a county-owned parcel of land in the Park East Freeway corridor, plans to submit a similar plan for another parcel of county-owned land in the corridor.

In September, the Milwaukee County Board voted to sell the vacant land bounded by North Old World Third and North Fourth streets, West Juneau and West McKinley avenues, to Mequon-based Ruvin Development Inc. and Dallas-based Gatehouse Capital Group, which plan to build a development with a 175-room hotel, 70 condominiums, 55,000 square feet of office space and 31,000 square feet of retail space.

The board chose the Ruvin project over Rana’s proposed development, which would have included a 200-room hotel, 14,000 square feet of office space, 9,000 square feet of retail space and a gas station/convenience store.

Asif Rana, the chief executive officer and president of Rana Enterprises Group, said several local politicians, including Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and some county supervisors, told him they liked his proposal and encouraged him to try again at another site.

Rana said he will submit a plan to county officials for a similar development for the vacant county-owned site northwest of Juneau Avenue and North Fourth Street, which is also just to the west of the Ruvin/Gatehouse property.

The property encompasses two city blocks between Juneau and McKinley avenues and Fourth and Sixth streets. The county plans to issue a request for proposals (RFP) from developers for the site during February or March, said Robert Dennik, director of economic and community development for Milwaukee County.

Rana said he will submit plans to the county for a $64 million, 14-story building with a 170-room hotel, 50 condominiums, a high-end two-story restaurant, a 300-vehicle parking structure, a health club, a 1,000-person banquet hall, 8,000 square feet of retail space with an organic food store, salon and dry cleaners, a gas station with four regular gas pumps and an E85 pump, an outdoor tennis court, an outdoor swimming pool and four racquetball courts. The building also would have a green roof with an executive indoor/outdoor cocktail lounge. The building would have two glass elevators, from which guests could view the downtown skyline.

Rana originally planned this development for a property owned by Journal Sentinel Inc. at the northwest corner of North Sixth Street and West McKinley Boulevard. However, the Journal Sentinel instead decided to sell the property to Daniel Druml, the owner of Paul Davis Restoration. Druml plans to redevelop that entire block with retail, office and residential development.

The hotel in Rana’s latest proposal would be an extended-stay suites hotel and would cater to business travelers staying in Milwaukee for a few months. Manpower Inc., which is building a new corporate headquarters nearby, could bring visitors to town who could stay there, Rana said.

Every room would have its own kitchen and some exercise equipment, including a treadmill, exercise bike and a few weights. Some suites would include herbal mud baths. Concierge services would be provided for guests.

Rana said he is talking to several hotel chains, including Westin Hotels & Resorts (a brand of White Plains, N.Y.-based Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.), Bethesda, Md.-based Marriott International Inc. and Chicago-based Global Hyatt Corp.

The gas station in Rana’s first development proposal was the target of some critics who said it was a poor use for prime downtown real estate. However, , Rana stressed, it is only a small part of his development plans.


Whitewater-based Global Renewable LLC plans to build a $195 million ethanol plant near Sharon, which is a small village in southwest Walworth County near the Illinois state line. The chairman of Global Renewable is former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson. The plan would create 55 full-time jobs and produce 105 to 120 million gallons of ethanol a year. It would be built on a 191-acre site west of the village between Highway 67 and the Union Pacific railroad tracks. The railroad tracks would be used by the ethanol plant for shipping. Global Renewable executives want Sharon village officials to annex the property and hope to have the facility operational in 2008.

Pleasant Prairie

Itasca, Ill.-based American Heritage Corp. wants to expand its 346,000-square-foot warehouse at 9201 Wilmot Road, adding another 300,000 square feet. The property is zoned for heavy industrial use, but it is located near a residential area and the village’s comprehensive plan calls for office or retail use for the site. The village’s Plan Commission recently recommended that the village board not approve the expansion.

Oak Creek

Oak Brook, Ill.-based CenterPoint Properties plans to add a 79,796-square-foot addition to a 102,000-square-foot, multi-tenant industrial building at 9875 S. Stern St.


Aldi Inc. plans to build a 16,900-square-foot discount grocery store on a 2.5-acre lot at 4601 Layton Ave. A single family home on the property will be demolished to clear room for the store. Essen, Germany-based Aldi Group has 7,500 stores worldwide, including more than 800 in the United States and 21 in southeastern Wisconsin. The company already has one store in Greenfield at 4225 S. 108th St.


The City of Milwaukee has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for an 18,720-square-foot vacant lot at 3701-19 W. Vliet St. in the Washington Park neighborhood. The city’s asking price for the property is $28,000. The buyer must commit to redevelop the property with row house/townhouse style condominiums. The property is located near the Harley-Davidson Inc. headquarters and is in the Harley Targeted Investment Neighborhood. The RFP’s for the property are due on Jan. 26. More information is available at: realestate/37th_Vliet/pdfs/RFP.pdf.


Jim Bruce plans to build a 15,050-square-foot multi-tenant retail/office building on a 1.5-acre property at the southeast corner of First and Wisconsin avenues. The one-story building would have eight tenant spaces, each with 1,660 to 2,250 square feet of space.


Eileen Belongea and Ellen Grabo plan to open Brewers Two Café in the former Duncan’s Variety store building at 203 W. Wisconsin Ave. in downtown Pewaukee. Belongea and Grabo own two other Brewers Two Café locations, one in Waukesha and one in Oconomowoc. Duncan’s closed recently after doing business in downtown Pewaukee for nearly 40 years.

CRE commercial real estate Transactions


CB Richard Ellis

Oracle Corp. leased 5,759 square feet of office space in Pinnacle I at Bishops Drive, 13890 Bishops Dr., Brookfield.

Jason Inc. leased 8,576 square feet of office space at 411 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, from Triple-Net Properties Realty.

Habush, Habush, Davis & Rottier S.C. leased 11,806 square feet of office space at 777 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, from U.S. Bank.

Reliable Knitting Works Inc. leased 10,808 square feet of space at 1126 S. 70th St., West Allis, from 1126 West Allis Operating Associates.

Liberty Mutual Insurance Company leased 10,546 square feet of office space at 15700 W. Bluemound Road, Brookfield, from North Shore Bank.

Regency Beauty Institute leased 6,300 square feet of retail space at 7995 W. Layton Ave., Greenfield, from Town & Country Super Markets Layton Inc.

Wachovia Securities leased 4,216 square feet of office space at 400 Wells St., Delafield, from Lang Campus LLC.

The Timken Corp. leased 3,933 square feet of office space at Brookfield Lakes Corporate Center, 17975 W. Sarah Lane, Brookfield, from CORE Real Estate Holdings.

Colliers Barry

Alsco Inc. leased 11,921 square feet of industrial space at 400 W. Bell Ct., Oak Creek, from K&Z Partners LLC.

Mid-America Real Estate

The Clothes Line leased 3,758 square feet of space and Cigars R Us leased 620 square feet of space in V. Richards Plaza at 17115 Bluemound Road, Brookfield, from Inland Commercial Property Management Inc.

Instant Tax Services leased 1,215 square feet of space in Highland Plaza at 8560 Brown Deer Road, Milwaukee, from 8600 Brown Deer LLC.

H & R Block leased 1,400 square feet of space in Holt Plaza at Holt and Chase avenues in Milwaukee from Holt Plaza LLC.

Fed Ex Kinko’s leased 1,987 square feet of space in the Oak Creek Target Center at the southwest corner of Howell Avenue and Centennial Drive in Oak Creek from GP-OCD Partners LLC.


Boerke Company

Merit Title LLC purchased 4,500 square feet of office space at 11800 W. Greenfield Ave., West Allis, from James and Karen Wanserski.

CB Richard Ellis

2306 United LLC purchased a 16,000-square-foot industrial building at 2306-18 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Milwaukee, from 16th Street Community Health Center.

Dave Jensen Properties purchased a 1,800-square-foot retail building at 2000 Davidson Road, Waukesha.

Colliers Barry

Roadster LLC recently purchased the 584,810-square-foot industrial building at 200-06 2nd St., Kewaskum, from Regal Ware Inc.

River Bend Investors LLC recently purchased a 57,424-square-foot industrial building at 1200 W. Second St., Oconomowoc, in the River Bend Industrial Park, from ESS Enterprises LLC.

New construction

Gerald Nell Inc., Waukesha, was recently selected by Desert Aire Corp. to renovate a 104,000-square-foot office and manufacturing facility at 18485 W. Freistadt Road, Germantown.

Peter Schwabe Inc. Design/Build, Big Bend, recently began construction on a retail/condominium building located at 9125 W. North Avenue in Wauwatosa. Called Locker’s Pointe, the multi-use facility will consist of three retail spaces with seven condominium units above and a 14-stall parking garage underneath.

CG Schmidt, Milwaukee, has been awarded the contract for general contracting services for the new Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare facility in Franklin. The 300,000-square-foot facility will focus on providing outpatient services to the rapidly growing southern Milwaukee and northern Racine counties. CG Schmidt was also recently named construction manager for Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital’s $37 million 80,000-square-foot renovation and 44,000-square-foot addition, budgeted at $37 million. CG Schmidt will also be constructing the new $19 million physician center at Hwy 67 and I-94.

Triad Construction Inc., West Allis, recently completed of two retail/hospitality projects at Concourse D in General Mitchell International Airport.

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