October 16. 2006 2:00AM - Last modified: March 14. 2012 2:03PM

Outgoing Kenosha mayor to receive real estate partner award


Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian has been named the winner of the Robert B. Bell Sr. Best Public Partner Award for his role as an advocate for commercial real estate development in his city.
The award salutes governmental officials who help the private sector achieve commercial real estate development that improves the quality of life in the community. The award is given annually by advisors of the Marquette University's Robert B. Bell Sr. Chair in Real Estate.
"The public sector is always a partner in the real estate development process, be it through the municipal approval process prior to development, obtaining the certificate of occupancy at project completion, real estate tax levies after development, or through a more active partnership in the financing and visioning of a site. Many times, visionary public leadership is questioned at the ballot box or scorned for how it changes the existing landscape," said Mark Eppli, Ph.D., professor and the chair of the Bell program.
Antaramian will receive his award at the Small Business Times Commercial Real Estate & Development Conference on Thursday, Nov. 9, at the Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee. The theme of this year's conference is "Greenbacks and Brownfields." This year's conference will focus on strategies and incentives for the redevelopment of brownfields in southeastern Wisconsin.
Antaramian is the president of the National Brownfield Association - Wisconsin Chapter. He is a member of the Brownfields Study Group for the State of Wisconsin and participates in the Incentives for Local Governments Subcommittee. He has spoken as a brownfield redevelopment expert at national conferences.
Antaramian became Kenosha's 34th mayor in 1992 was reelected to consecutive terms in 1996, 2000 and 2004. He is the longest-serving mayor in the history of the city. He has announced he will not seek another term as mayor.
A lifelong resident of Kenosha, Antaramian graduated from Kenosha Tremper High School and earned bachelor of science degrees in economics and business management at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.
He was an assistant manager for the Walgreen's Corp. from 1978 to 1982, when he entered politics and was elected state representative of the 65th Assembly District. He served five two-year terms in the Assembly, where he served on several key committees, and he also served as a member of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Authority.
Under Antaramian's direction as mayor, the City of Kenosha has completed the redevelopment of a 70-acre brownfield site, now known as HarborPark, into a mixed-use site that is valued at $100 million; a 30-acre brownfield site in the central city that now supports a grocery store and is in the process of a $20 million redevelopment in the first phase; along with several other brownfield sites that are in the clean-up process.
"Mayor Antaramian has been a leader in brownfield redevelopment, where his open involvement of the public with the redevelopment of the Harbor Park area met with near unanimous consent," Eppli said. "Instead of eschewing the public and the press in obtaining the approval of the public, Antaramian taped all public meetings and placed them on cable access television and embraced public input.  With the vision of Mayor Antaramian, the city spent $18.5 million on the cleanup and infrastructure for Harbor Park, and it is now worth more than $50 million, on its way to a completely built-out value of $80 million to $100 million."
Previous winners of the Robert B. Bell Sr. Best Public Partner Award have included: Gordon Kacala, executive director of the Racine County Economic Development Corp. (RCEDC); Richard Maslowski, Glendale's city administrator; and West Milwaukee Village President Ronald Hayward and Village Administrator Tim Freitag.
The award is named after the late Robert B. Bell Sr., who was a significant developer of commercial real estate in northern Illinois.
This year's SBT Commercial Real Estate and Development Conference will feature a panel of prestigious brownfield redevelopment experts:
- Robert Colangelo, founder and executive director of the National Brownfield Association and Brownfield News. Colangelo also is a developer who has vast experience in transforming brownfields into valuable commercial properties. He is a brownfield consultant for governments and businesses across the globe, and he has testified before Congress on brownfield legislation.
- Peter Hollingworth, president of CERF USA, a California-based, bank-funded company specializing in providing loans from $500,000 to $5 million for the remediation of brownfield sites. The company has more than $40 million in capitalization, and its assets are growing as it becomes a national resource for brownfield redevelopment. CERF USA lends money for remediation, acquisition, construction, pre-development costs, site rehabilitation and other aspects of brownfield redevelopment. Hollingworth will discuss the private-sector solutions and investment opportunities for transforming contaminated sites into functional commercial venues. Since more than 450,000 brownfield sites are scattered throughout the nation, Hollingworth intends to grow CERF USA into a $1 billion enterprise.
- Richard Carlson, president of Whitnall Summit Co., who will present a real-world brownfield redevelopment case study. In 1994, Carlson bought much of the former Allis-Chalmers manufacturing facility in West Allis, where he had worked for 20 years as a research engineer before the company went bankrupt in 1987. When he acquired the site, it was a massive, obsolete, contaminated and vacant industrial property. Carlson dramatically redeveloped the brownfield into Summit Place, a sprawling $50 million office complex. Carlson will explain how he turned blighted space into a commercial hot spot.
More than 500 people attended last year's SBT Commercial Real Estate & Development Conference (http://www.biztimes.com/site/videos/sbt_rec). The conference is presented in conjunction with the Robert B. Bell Sr. Program in Real Estate at Marquette University and the Commercial Association of Realtors Wisconsin (CARW).
The opening remarks at the SBT conference will be provided by Richard "Rocky" Marcoux, commissioner of the Milwaukee Department of City Development (DCD). Marcoux will discuss the incentives available to developers interested in transforming Milwaukee's brownfields, and he will outline the opportunities available in Milwaukee's Menomonee River Valley.
Eppli will moderate the conference.
To attend the conference, call Sarah Wilson of Small Business Times at (414) 277-8181, ext. 129, or visit http://www.biztimes.com/cal/sbt-events/2006/11/9/commercial-real-estate-conference.