Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Freshwater Plaza site work could begin this fall
September 10, 2014 11:00 AM
Construction site work on Freshwater Plaza, the mixed use development project that Wauwatosa-based Wangard Partners plans to build northeast of South First Street and Greenfield Avenue in Milwaukee's Walker's Point neighborhood, could begin this fall.

The site work that could begin in upcoming months includes environmental remediation and utility work, said Mark Lake, director of retail development for Wangard.

“We’re still holding out hope we can break ground this fall,” said Joe Kleiman, a broker for Mid-America Real Estate, which recently began marketing the retail space in the project.

Wangard still needs to complete the entitlement process for the project, Lake said.

"The city has a lot of work to do, but the project could open in late summer or early fall 2015," he said.

Wangard is also working to obtain financing for the project and is pursuing numerous funding sources, which could include tax incremental financing and new markets tax credits, Lake said.

“We’re looking at all financing sources right now,” he said.

The project will include a 42,000-square-foot Cermak Fresh Market grocery store, a 45,750-square-foot office building, an L-shaped building at the corner of First and Greenfield with 15,900 square feet of retail space on the first floor, 19,000 square feet of medical office space on the second floor and 66 apartments on the upper three floors, plus two small outlot retail buildings on First Street with a total of 6,600 square feet of retail space.

The apartments could be a mix of market-rate and subsidized affordable housing units, Lake said. Since Wangard is seeking new markets tax credits for the project the firm could be required to offer some affordable units, he said.

The plans also include a 226-space parking structure between the grocery store and the office building, 289 surface parking spaces, and a water feature along Greenfield Avenue.

The development site is just west of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences building, and is just east of the Rockwell Automation corporate headquarters.

“We’ve got a lot of excitement for (the project) right now and we’ve just started marketing it,” Kleiman said. “There’s a real lack of retail in that whole area.”

The site is located just 1.5 miles from the middle of downtown Milwaukee, between the Historic Third Ward and Bay View neighborhoods in the improving Walker’s Point neighborhood, Kleiman said. The area has a lack of grocery stores, he said.

“I think we’re going to attract a real diverse consumer over there,” Kleiman said. “It’s close enough that it will be able to draw from three directions.”

The site also benefits from high traffic levels on South First Street (18,400 vehicles per day according to Mid-America), and its location across the street from the Rockwell Automation corporate headquarters (with about 4,000 employees) and near the recently expanded University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences building at 600 E. Greenfield Ave.

“It’s right there in the center of things,” Kleiman said.

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Hoffman named partner of The Boerke Company
September 10, 2014 10:51 AM
Industrial real estate broker Jeff Hoffman joined Milwaukee-based The Boerke Company this week as a partner on the firm’s Industrial Services team.

Previously, Hoffman was a vice president with Pewaukee-based Judson & Associates. He has 14 years of experience in the commercial real estate industry.

“The Boerke Company’s alliance with Cushman & Wakefield and all the benefits that come with being part of a first-rate national and global platform were the huge attractors that brought me here,” said Hoffman. “Leaving the Judson team was not easy and I will miss the relationships and skills that I built there, but being part of Cushman & Wakefield|The Boerke Company is a very exciting opportunity. The sky is truly the limit here.”

Hoffman, a winner in 2012 and runner up in 2013 for the CARW Industrial Deal of the Year, will be a part of the leadership group on The Boerke Company’s Industrial Team.

“The industrial team here at Boerke, with Terry McMahon, Rand Wolf, Patrick Dedering, Kevin Riordan, and Jim Babiasz is a great group that knows the market well, and I couldn’t have imagined a better person to add to the excellent group we already have here,” said Andrew Jensen, The Boerke Company’s managing partner. “The industrial market has been a mainstay of The Boerke Company for the past 93 years, so being able to add a best-in-class broker like Hoffman to that legacy elevates our expertise in the Milwaukee area.”

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Commercial Real Estate and Development Conference will focus on major projects
September 10, 2014 10:46 AM
A panel of local developers working on some of the most significant development projects in southeastern Wisconsin will highlight the 12th annual BizTimes Milwaukee Commercial Real Estate and Development Conference.

The event will be held from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 14, at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee.

The keynote speaker for the event will be Lawrence Yun, chief economist and senior vice president of research for the National Association of Realtors. He will give an overview of the national real estate outlook.

Also, a panel of prominent local developers working on some of the largest development projects in the region will be featured at the conference. They will include:

- Mark Irgens, CEO and manager of Irgens. The firm is building 833 East, a 17-story, 358,000-square-foot office tower under construction in downtown Milwaukee. The firm is also working on a mixed-use development plan for the Ruby Farm property in Brookfield.
- Jerold Franke, president of Wispark LLC. The firm is leading a team of developers for the 85-acre Drexel Town Square development, which will create a mixed-use downtown area for Oak Creek.
- Scott Yauck, president and chief executive officer of Cobalt Partners LLC, which is working on a mixed-use development in Menomonee Falls called Whitestone Station, which is one of the largest brownfield redevelopment projects planned in the state.

The panel will be moderated by Dr. Mark Eppli, interim James H. Keyes Dean of Business Administration and Robert B. Bell Sr. Chair in Real Estate at Marquette University.

Marquette and the Commercial Association of Realtors Wisconsin (CARW) are event partners for the BizTimes Milwaukee Commercial Real Estate and Development Conference.

To register for the conference, visit

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Historic downtown building now available
September 10, 2014 10:49 AM
The owner of a three-story, 140-year-old building in downtown Milwaukee is exploring options to sell the property.

The 15,640-square-foot building is located at 320 E. Clybourn St. It has an assessed value of $673,000 and is owned by Lorette Russenberger of Milwaukee, according to city records.

The building is being marketed by Mike Keane of The Boerke Company, who said recent developments in the area have encouraged the owner to consider selling the historic building.

“All of the activity in just a small area of the city, including the recently completed Milwaukee Marriott Downtown (hotel) and the Hilton Garden Inn hotel, as well as the proposed Couture mixed-use project and the 833 East Michigan building has positioned 320 East Clybourn as a prime location,” Keane said. “The property’s freeway visibility, access, historical feel, location on the edge of downtown and the Third Ward, along with the high amounts of foot traffic makes this an attractive opportunity.”

The building’s historic architectural features include Cream City brick, wood columns and exposed beams.

“It is these kinds of features that make this building unique when compared to other buildings currently available in this area,” Keane said. “The building’s smaller footprint and multi-story design lends itself to small businesses that refer clients to each other, such as those in the salon, spa, wedding and bridal, or fitness and rehab industries.”

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Oak Creek site once planned for Goodwill is listed for sale
September 10, 2014 10:53 AM
A vacant 13.5-acre at 140 E. Rawson Ave. in Oak Creek, where Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin once planned to build a 140,000-square-foot facility, is now listed for sale.

The site is located northeast of South Howell Avenue and East Rawson Avenue.

The property is being marketed by The Boerke Company for $125,000 per acre, or $1,687,500 for the entire site.

Goodwill planned to build a center for work and training building but then acquired the former Reader’s Digest building in Greendale, which made its Oak Creek plans obsolete.

The site is about one mile north of Drexel Town Square, the mixed-use development southwest of Drexel and Howell avenues that will create a downtown for Oak Creek.

“This Goodwill land site has some connectivity to the revitalization of Oak Creek is seeing at Drexel Town Square, and the great acces this site has makes it a perfect build-to-suit site for an industrial type user,” said Boerke Company Principal Jack Price.

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Staples warehouse in Oak Creek sold for $17 million
September 10, 2014 11:06 AM
An affiliate of Plymouth Meeting, Pa.-based Exeter Property Group, a real estate investment management firm, recently purchased the 279,828-square-foot Staples Inc. distribution center in Oak Creek for $17 million, according to state records.

The building is located on a 28-acre site at 120 W. Opus Dr. The property has an assessed value of $12.7 million, according to Milwaukee County records.

The building was constructed by Opus Group in 2007. Staples, a Farmingham, Mass.-based office supplies retailer, has a 10-year lease for the building that expires in 2017, according to There are two five-year options to extend the lease.

The property was sold by St. Charles, Ill.-based Evergreen Glen Apartments Limited Patnership, according to state records.

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Midland Plastics plans expansion of New Berlin HQ facility
September 10, 2014 11:07 AM
New Berlin-based Midland Plastics Inc., a distributor of plastic stock shapes and a manufacturer of plastic custom componens, plans to build a 40,000-square-foot addition to its 75,500-square-foot facility at 5405 S. Westridge Ct.

The cost of the project is estimated at $3.2 million. The company is seeking industrial development revenue bond financing for the project through the City of New Berlin. The city would act as a conduit for the company to get the bonds, which would enable the company to borrow the funds at a lower interest rate. The city would not be liable for payment of the principal or interest on the bonds.

With the expansion, the company plans to move eight employees from Franklin to the New Berlin facility, according to information filed with the City of New Berlin.

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Weimer Bearing & Transmission plans new HQ in Germantown
September 10, 2014 11:12 AM
Weimer Bearing & Transmission plans to build a 68,390-square-foot industrial building at Mequon Road and Eisenower Drive in Germantown. The building will be the new corporate headquarters for the company. Its headquarters are currently located at W134 N5368 Campbell Dr. in Menomonee Falls.

The company is a distributor, manufacturer and assembler of mechanical and electrical power transmission equipment. It has outgrown the 35,000-square-foot Menomonee Falls facility, said Dick Stangl, chairman and chief executive officer. The company plans to sell the Menomonee Falls facility, he said.

Weimer currently has about 70 employees in Menomonee Falls and would like to add another 20 to 25 in Germantown if it could find qualified applicants, Stangl said.

“It’s pulling teeth to try to find qualified employees,” he said. “We will be happy to train them, but them have to be qualified to be trainable.”

Weimer also has operations in Kaukauna, Madison, Weston, Chippewa Falls, Kenosha, Loves Park, Ill., Elk Grove Village, Ill. and Michigan.

The company has several sister companies under the Weimer Industries umbrella of companies: Wisconsin Stamping and Manufacturing – a manufacturer of precision tubular stampings, raschig rings and machined components; DexM Corp. – a manufacturer of wire forms, stampings, weldments and metal components; Raffel Systems – a manufacturer and designer of electronic control systems; and WorldSource – a provider of full fastener procurement and supply chain services.

Wisconsin Stamping and Manufacturing and Raffel Systems are already located in Germantown and would be in close proximity to Weimer’s planned new headquarters facility there.

Construction for the new Weimer headquarters facility in Germantown is expected to begin in spring. However, Stangl said the company’s plans could change if Gov. Scott Walker is not-relected in November.

If Walker loses to Democratic challenger Mary Burke, the Wisconsin Stamping and Manufacturing and Raffel Systems operations could move out of the state and the plans for a new Weimer headquarters could change, Stangl said.

“We may have a second thought (if Walker loses),” he said. “I think he’s done a very good job for Wisconsin.”

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Three Milwaukee area Pick ‘n Save stores to close
September 10, 2014 11:13 AM
Milwaukee-based Roundy’s Supermarkets Inc. notified the state this week that it plans to close three Pick ‘n Save stores in Milwaukee, West Allis and Saukville, which will result in a total of 226 job losses.

The Saukville Pick ‘n Save store at 810 E. Green Bay Ave. will be taken over by Fox Bros. Piggly Wiggly, which will move its Saukville store there from its existing location at 835 E. Green Bay Ave.

The Saukville Pick ‘n Save store has 84 employees and the Saukville Piggly Wiggly store also has about 80 employees. Fox Bros. Piggly Wiggly plans to keep all of its existing employees at the new store and will need to add about 40 additional employees there, said Pat Fox, president and owner of Fox Bros. Piggly Wiggly.

The closure of the Pick ‘n Save store at 8120 W. Brown Deer Road in Milwaukee will result in the loss of 74 jobs and the closure of the Pick ‘n Save store at 11111 W. Greenfield Ave. in West Allis will result in the loss of 68 jobs.

The employees at the Milwaukee and West Allis stores are represented by United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1473.

Sheboygan-based Piggly Wiggly Midwest is buying the Saukville Pick ‘n Save grocery business from Roundy’s and offered its franchisee, Fox Bros. Piggly Wiggly, to move its operations there, Fox said.

The Saukville Pick ‘n Save store is about 10 years younger and about 10,000 square feet larger than the existing Saukville Piggly Wiggly store, Fox said.

The Milwaukee area has too many grocery stores and too many other stores that sell grocery items, Fox said. More grocery store closures are likely to occur in the area, he said.

“The Milwaukee (grocery) market is over-stored,” Fox said. “(The Pick ‘n Save closings are) an example of something that is going to happen a number of times.”

The region’s grocery market is only going to get more competitive after Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer opens several stores.

“It’s an oversaturated situation that is going to get worse before it gets better,” Fox said. “It’s crazy. All of these (other retailers) want to get into this low margin business (in the area).”

To survive, independent grocers must provide a high level of service and different products than what can be found in other stores, he said.

The Piggly Wiggly store in Saukville will move to its new location in November.

In December, Fox Bros. also plans to open a Piggly Wiggly store in the former Rueben’s County Market at 1566 E. Sumner St. in Hartford.

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Brookfield TownePlace Suites hotel sold for $9.6 million
September 10, 2014 11:15 AM
An affiliate of New York-based Garrison Investment Group LP, a middle market credit and asset based investor, recently purchased the 112-room TownPlace Suites hotel in Brookfield for $9.6 million, according to state records.

The property has an assessed value of $7.7 million, according to Waukesha County records.
The hotel, located at 600 N. Calhoun Road, just north of Bluemound Road, was sold by an affiliate of Minneapolis-based commercial real estate firm CSM Corp.

TownePlace Suites is an extended-stay hotel brand of Marriott. The suites at the hotel include fully-equipped kitchens.

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Ferguson Enterprises to occupy building at former Yellow Freight site
September 10, 2014 10:56 AM
Ferguson Enterprises, a distributor of residential and commercial plumbing supplies, has signed a lease to occupy a 72,000-square-foot building that Wauwatosa-based Wangard Partners Inc. plans to build at the former Yellow Freight trucking site at 11406 and 11528 W. Rogers St. in West Allis.

The West Allis location will complement Ferguson’s more than 1,350 branches throughout the country, while focusing on serving customers in southeastern Wisconsin.

Wangard also plans to build a 50,000-square-foot speculative industrial building on the 9.6-acre site. Several potential tenants are interested in space in the building, according to Wangard Partners.

Construction of the two buildings, a $14 million development, is expected to begin this fall and be complete in the spring of 2015.

“The former Yellow Freight trucking site provided us with the opportunity to accomplish improvement, while also creating an industrial corridor that will meet the city’s needs as well as promote economic development,” said Stewart Wangard, chief executive officer of Wangard Partners Inc. “With Ferguson locating within the larger building on the site, it will spur additional attentiveness to and further development of the area.”

West Allis' community development regional entity, First-Ring Industrial Redevelopment Enterprise Inc. (FIRE) has approved a $14 million New Market Tax Credit allocation to Wangard for the project. The tax credit allocation would provide approximately $3 million in equity financing to this project. In addition, the city has offered up to a $500,000 loan from the City of West Allis Revolving Loan Fund. Other funding sources for the project’s financing package include PNC Bank, PyraMax Bank, the Wisconsin Housing Economic and Development Authority (WHEDA) and the EPA, according to West Allis Mayor Dan Devine.

“The City of West Allis is pleased that Wangard Partners has successfully closed the financial package for the properties at 116th and Rogers,” he said. “This important step will start the process to transform an important area of the city with a modern $14 million development that adds new tax base, creates jobs, and provides the quality we are looking for in our community.”

Wangard Partners structured contributions towards West Allis-based organizations as part of the New Market Tax Credit program. The Little League of West Allis is getting $50,000 and the West Allis Community Improvement Foundation Inc. is getting $20,000.

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Andrew Weiland BizTimes Real Estate Weekly is compiled by BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor Andrew Weiland. This bulletin is published every Wednesday morning. Send real estate news tips to or call him at (414) 277-8181, ext. 120.

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