Four developers have submitted proposals for the Downtown Transit Center site, said Brendan Conway, spokesman for Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. Conway declined to name any of the developers that responded to the RFI.
A representative for Ryan Companies did not return phone calls seeking comment.
However, Ryan Companies is proposing a mixed-use development for the Downtown Transit Center site which includes office, residential and retail space, one source said. The proposal also includes development plans for the O'Donnell Park site, just to the north of the Downtown Transit Center site, the source said.
"As I understand, pretty much everybody that is submitting (a response to the RFI) is including O'Donnell," the source said. "Most people are looking at this as a play for O'Donnell and the bus depot site."
Developers were invited to include the O'Donnell Park site in their RFI for the Downtown Transit Center site, Conway said. Some included O'Donnell Park in the proposal, but some did not, he said.
County officials say one developer submitted a proposal for a 40-story apartment building. Real estate sources say that developer is Rick Barrett, the lead developer for The Moderne, a 30-story residential building under construction downtown. Barrett declined to comment about his interest in the Downtown Transit Center site.
Milwaukee-based multi-family housing developer Mandel Group Inc. did not submit a response to the RFI, but has indicated to county officials that it would be willing to partner with another developer on a project at the Downtown Transit Center site, said Mandel Group chief operating officer Robert Monnat. In such a scenario, Mandel Group would develop the residential component of a mixed-use project, he said.
County officials are still reviewing the responses to the Downtown Transit Center RFI, Conway said. Abele's office plans to select the top project and, if it is considered viable, seek County Board approval to begin negotiations with the developer.
However, Pat Jursik, chairwoman of the County Board's Economic Development Committee, said county supervisors want to see all of the responses to the RFI.
"The committee wants to see all of the responses, not just the chosen one that the county executive is going to put his blessing on," she said.
Also, any inclusion of O'Donnell Park will make the project "controversial," she said, because the O'Donnell Park parking structure provides more than $1 million in annual revenue for the county parks. That revenue would have to be replaced if O'Donnell Park is turned over to a private developer, she said.