The Bando Chmura Group LLC, which purchased the three-story 28,000-square-foot former research lab building in the former Pabst brewery complex, also plans to buy the three-story, 14,000-square-foot building next door.
The Bando Chmura Group includes former Green Bay Packer Mark Chmura, his broker Matt Chmura, and Sonny Bando, the son of former Milwaukee Brewer Sal Bando. The group also owns The Iron Block Building at 205 E. Wisconsin Ave. and The Germania Building at 135 W. Wells St., both in downtown Milwaukee.
The 14,000-square-foot building at the Pabst complex is known as the former blacksmith, wagon and paint shop building. "We currently are in negotiations (to buy the building)," said Matt Chmura. "We hope to have it under contract shortly," said Mike Mervis, assistant for Zilber Ltd. founder Joseph Zilber, who is redeveloping the former brewery complex into a mixed-use urban neighborhood.
Zilber’s plans to sell the building to the owners of an upscale flower shop in Milwaukee’s Washington Heights neighborhood have fallen through, creating the opportunity for The Bando Chmura Group to buy it instead. Chris Dobs, one of the owners of the flower store, Urban Sense, confirmed that his group’s deal to buy the building is "kaput."
Dobs and the store’s other owners, Damingo Jones and David Block, had planned to purchase the building and move their upscale European flower shop from 5911 W. Vliet St. to the building. They also planned to create four two-story loft condos in the building. However, the project ran into problems, Dobs said. They were unable to obtain financing for the project, and the partners could not work out some issues with Zilber Ltd. representatives, he said.
Dobs said three banks had given initial approval to finance the project, but later would not approve financing at terms acceptable to the partners. Also, the partners balked at some requests from Zilber representatives, including paying for some improvements around the building, such as a manhole cover in a parking lot, and they did not want to add an outdoor staircase next to the building, Dobs said. "The Brewery Project is a wonderful real estate opportunity and it may have been more complex for them than originally thought," said Mervis.
In March, Harold Block, the attorney for the Urban Sense owners, sent a letter to Zilber’s representatives, saying that his clients, "clearly are in over their heads in a business transaction such as this." The letter stated that Zilber refunded $6,000 in earnest money to the partners.
Since their plans to buy the Pabst brewery building fell apart, the Urban Sense owners have decided instead to lease space in a building at 5827 W. Vliet St., two doors down from their current location. They will add a greenhouse to that space and plan to move there in about two months, Dobs said. "We got more bang for the buck out west," he said. "It will just all work out better for us."