Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Wangard plans redevelopment of former downtown Laacke & Joys site
July 8, 2015 10:53 AM
Wauwatosa-based real estate firm Wangard Partners Inc. has a contract to purchase the former Laacke & Joys property in downtown Milwaukee and is working on plans for a redevelopment project for the site, chairman and chief executive officer Stewart Wangard said.

The redevelopment project could include office, retail and restaurant space, Wangard said. The company is marketing the property to potential tenants.

The first priority for the project is to restore the historic former Laacke & Joys building, which is a four-story, 64,826-square-foot, 141-year-old structure located at 1433 N. Water St. Wangard said the firm is in talks with multiple potential tenants for the building.

The Wangard project could also include new buildings on either side of the former Laacke & Joys building. A warehouse northeast of the building will be demolished to create a site that could accommodate a 200,000-square-foot building, Wangard said.

The 6,000-square-foot Peck garage building is located to the southwest of the former Laacke & Joys building. That building could be converted to a restaurant with outdoor seating along the Milwaukee River, Wangard said.

Otherwise, the Peck garage building could be demolished and a high rise with perhaps 200,000 to 400,000 square feet of space could be built on the site, Wangard said. However, to build a high-rise there a parking solution would have to be determined, he said.

Laacke & Joys ended manufacturing operations in the main building on the site in 2013 and closed its store in the building in early 2014.

The Peck family bought the Laacke & Joys property in 2012 for about $2.6 million. Wangard said his firm has had a contract to purchase the property from the Peck family for several months.

Wangard’s project for the site is just the latest of several that have been built, are under construction or are being planned for the area near Water Street on the north side of downtown. The former Laacke & Joys property sits just southwest of Mandel Group Inc.’s multi-phase North End development, which will have 650 apartments when it’s fully developed. Wangard built the Avenir Apartments building at 1437 N. Jefferson St., about two blocks east of the Laacke & Joys site. The Avenir building has 104 apartments and 7,000 square feet of retail space and is the first phase of a three-phase development that Wangard plans to build on the block.

Nearby plans for a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks and a planned office building development northwest of Water and Knapp streets by Brookfield-based Hammes Company have also increased the interest of potential tenants in the Laacke & Joys site, Wangard said.

“(Those projects) are reinforcing the desirability of the neighborhood,” he said. “Milwaukee is on a roll. A lot of office users are considering downtown. There is momentum building.”

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Irgens to hold groundbreaking ceremony for The Corridor
July 8, 2015 10:29 AM
Milwaukee-based commercial real estate firm Irgens will hold a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, July 9, to celebrate the start of construction of The Corridor, a 66-acre mixed use development project at the former Ruby Farm site in Brookfield.

The site is located west of Calhoun Road between I-94 and Bluemound Road. Irgens acquired the site for about $10 million in 2013 and is ready to begin a $153 million development project. Site work began recently.

The project is split into three sections. The northern section along Bluemound Road is retail focused. Irgens has a signed lease for a 50,000-square-foot Dick’s Sporting Goods store and is negotiating leases with two other mid-box tenants.

The middle section of The Corridor will have a wellness/health care and hospitality focus. Irgens said the firm is talking to “several” health care and wellness users interested in operating a fitness facility there. The firm also has a tentative deal with a hotel developer for The Corridor.

The southern portion of The Corridor, located along I-94, is the office portion of the project. That part of the project could have up to three office buildings. The first office building that Irgens is marketing at The Corridor would be a six-story building with about 175,000 square feet of space. It will be the first new class A suburban office space added in the western suburbs in more than 10 years.

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Downtown warehouse sold to self-storage firm for $3 million
July 8, 2015 10:07 AM
St. Paul Storage LLC recently purchased the 125,000-square-foot, seven-story warehouse building at 420 W. St. Paul Ave. in Milwaukee from Ace Industrial Properties for $3 million.

The 97-year-old building has an assessed value of $2.3 million, according to city records.

Kurt Van Dyke of DTZ Barry brokered the sale for St. Paul Storage LLC and John Kuhn and Bill Quinlivan of Siegel-Gallagher represented Ace Industrial properties.

The buyer is a Chicago-based group that develops self-storage facilities, Van Dyke said. They plan to convert the building into “upscale” self-storage space, which will be heated and air conditioned and will have a state-of-the-art security system, he said.

Most recently the building has been used for file and records storage, Van Dyke said.

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Meijer to open Oak Creek and Wauwatosa stores on Aug. 4
July 8, 2015 10:52 AM
Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer Inc. announced that it will open its new stores at the Drexel Town Square development in Oak Creek and at 11111 W. Burleigh St. in Wauwatosa on Aug. 4.

The stores are two of several that Meijer plans to open in southeastern Wisconsin as it expands into the state. In late June Meijer opened stores in Grafton and Kenosha.

The company plans to open stores in Waukesha and Sussex in 2016, and also plans to eventually open stores in West Bend, Greenfield, Sheboygan and the Green Bay area.

Each Meijer store is about 192,000 square feet in size and features general merchandise and full grocery departments. Meijer says it is making a $750 million investment in Wisconsin.

In 2014, Meijer established a distribution center in Pleasant Prairie, expanding a former Supervalu distribution center from 580,000 square feet to 800,000 square feet.

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Sara Investment Real Estate purchases West Allis office building for $14.5 million
July 8, 2015 10:16 AM
Madison-based Sara Investment Real Estate LLC announced that it has purchased the 132,401-square-foot Fair Park Business Center, located at 620 S. 76th St. in West Allis, across the street from State Fair Park.

The multi-tenant office building was formerly the service and training center for We Energies. It now houses a variety to tenants, including Children’s (Hospital) Service Society of Wisconsin.

“The Fair Park Business Center is a great addition to our Milwaukee-area holdings,” said Traci Dalsin, president of Sara Investment Real Estate. “Located minutes from I-94, the building provides a fantastic location for a quality mix of tenants, making it a strong investment opportunity.”

The sale price was not disclosed.

Sara Investment Real Estate has been active in recent years in acquiring commercial real estate assets in the Milwaukee area. An affiliate of the firm acquired most of The Tannery office complex in Milwaukee last year for $16.8 million and is building a 75,000-square-foot industrial building in Mukwonago for Gearbox Express. In 2013 Sara Investment Real Estate acquired the headquarters for Great Lakes Packaging Corp. in Germantown for $8 million, and bought Squires III Office Center building in Pewaukee for $4.35 million.

“We will continue to seek opportunities in Wisconsin and throughout the Midwest that match our investors’ real estate investment goals,” said Ben Adank, vice president of development for Sara Investment Real Estate.

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Industrial developments planned in Menomonee Falls and on Milwaukee’s far northwest side
July 8, 2015 10:11 AM
A Milwaukee area firm plans to move its corporate headquarters to a 158,000-square-foot industrial building that MSI General Corp. plans to build in Menomonee Falls.

Also, an affiliate of Wauwatosa-based real estate firm Wangard Partners plans to build an industrial building development on a vacant 10.7-acre site at 10851 W. Metro Auto Mall on the far northwest side of Milwaukee.

The Menomonee Falls building that would be built by MSI General is planned for a vacant, 32-acre site located southwest of Old Orchard Road and south of Main Street.

A village report says the company that would occupy the building has not been named yet by the developer. A commercial real estate source declined to name the company but said it is located in the Milwaukee area.

The company will have 130 employees in the building and the facility will operate three shifts, 24 hours a day Monday through Friday, the village report states. There will be 100 employees working on the largest shift.

The building will have 135,000 square feet of industrial space and a 22,945-square-foot office area. The industrial space will be used for light manufacturing, assembly and warehousing.

Meanwhile, Wangard has the Metro Auto Mall site site under contract and is seeking City of Milwaukee Plan Commission approval for the project. Metro Auto Mall is currently dominated by auto dealerships.

Wangard plans to build either one 132,000-square-foot industrial building or two industrial buildings with a total of 128,000 square feet of space on the site. A single building development would cost $8.6 million. A two-building development would cost $9 million.

“It is our intention to purchase the site and to market to a variety of light industrial users in the metropolitan Milwaukee area with a notable focus on the northwest side,” the company said in information filed with the city.

Wangard plans to close on its purchase of the land by early August and begin construction within 12 months after purchase.

In information filed with the city, the company said it expects 100 to 150 people to work at the site once fully developed and occupied.

These industrial building projects are planned as vacancy remains low for the southeastern Wisconsin industrial real estate market. The region’s industrial space vacancy rate fell to 4.86 percent in the first quarter, down from 6.45 percent in the first quarter of 2014 and 5.82 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to Xceligent. Second quarter data is not available yet. The region’s industrial real estate market absorbed nearly 2.8 million square feet of space during the first quarter of the year. It was the 19th quarter in a row of positive industrial space absorption for the region.

Waukesha County had a 3.34 percent industrial space vacancy rate and Milwaukee County had a 7.56 percent industrial space vacancy rate in the first quarter, according to Xceligent.

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Bucks ownership group buys Kissinger's Meats building
July 8, 2015 10:14 AM
Deer District LLC, an affiliate of the Milwaukee Bucks ownership group, recently purchased the Kissinger's Meats & Poultry building at 505 W. Juneau Ave. in downtown Milwaukee for $2.5 million, according to state records.

The building lies on the site where a proposed new $500 million arena would be built. The site for the proposed arena is just north of the BMO Harris Bradley Center and is bounded by Juneau, North Fourth Street, West Highland Avenue and North Sixth Street.

The 5,000-square-foot Kissinger’s Meats & Poultry building, located on a 0.2-acre site at the southwest corner of West Juneau Avenue and North Fifth Street, was built 1926. It was sold to the Bucks ownership group by Walter and Franceen Heimerl of Bradenton, Fla.

To acquire the property, the Bucks ownership paid well above the building’s assessed value of $217,000, according to city records.

The deal is the latest sign that the Bucks ownership group is moving forward with preparations to build the arena, even as the status of the funding package remains uncertain.

The current and former owners of the Bucks have pledged to pay for half the cost of the proposed $500 million arena, plus any cost overruns and maintenance and operational costs of the building. The state Legislature is reviewing a public financing proposal for the other half of the project, which would provide funds for the arena from the state, city, county and Wisconsin Center District.

In addition to the arena, the Bucks owners are planning at least $400 million in mixed-use development around the area, including the entire Park East corridor west of the Milwaukee River.

Republicans in the state Legislature have agreed to remove the arena funding proposal from the state budget. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said the state Senate could take up the arena proposal next week as a separate bill. The Joint Finance Committee will hold a public hearing on Monday on the Bucks arena deal.

A construction industry source told BizTimes Milwaukee this week that the Bucks ownership group is moving ahead aggressively with preparations to build a new arena so that construction could begin as soon as possible if a public financing plan is approved. Recently, crews from GESTRA Engineering did soil boring tests at the proposed arena site.

Deer District LLC also recently purchased a 0.2-acre parking lot at 1129-35 N. Old World Third St. in downtown Milwaukee. The site is less than a block east of the proposed new arena.

The Bucks ownership purchased the 34-space parking lot, located between Ugly’s and The Loaded Slate, from Milwaukee-based hotel development firm Jackson Street Holdings LLC for $750,000, according to state records. The property has an assessed value of $299,000, according to city records.

The Old World Third Street site is located within the mixed-use arena district that the Bucks owners are hoping to create. The property is just east of where the Bucks owners want to create an “entertainment live block” of bars, restaurants and stores around a covered outdoor public plaza.

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Hammes buys The Bog, downtown Milwaukee lot
July 8, 2015 10:12 AM
Affiliates of Brookfield-based Hammes Companies recently acquired The Bog golf course in Saukville and a vacant lot in downtown Milwaukee.

The Hammes affiliate paid about $2 million for The Bog, a 227-acre 18-hole golf course designed by golf legend Arnold Palmer and located at 3121 County Highway I. It opened in 1995. It was sold to the Hammes Companies affiliate by Terry Wakefield, the original developer of the course. The course has a 10,500-square-foot clubhouse that has a full bar and restaurant and guest seating for 160. Patrick Gallagher and Matson Holbrook of Siegel-Gallagher and Chris Charnas of Chicago-based Links Capital Advisors brokered the sale for Wakefield.

A Hammes Companies affiliate also recently purchased a 1.5-acre site at 210 E. Knapp St. in downtown Milwaukee from BMO Harris Bank for $1 million, according to state records. The site is located northeast of Knapp and North Water Street and is just east of a site northwest of Knapp and Water where Hammes has been planning an office building development.

The site has an assessed value of $1.3 million, according to city records.

The lot is the second that BMO Harris Bank has sold recently in that area. In late June BMO Harris sold a 1.8-acre surface parking lot at 1214 N. Water St., immediately south of the site that it sold to Hammes, to the Milwaukee School of Engineering. MSOE bought the parking lot, bounded by Water, Knapp and Market streets and Juneau Avenue, for $3.5 million, according to state records.

The lot sold to MSOE has an assessed value of $2.2 million, according to city records.
MSOE has not announced any plans for the site, which is located next to MSOE’s Grohmann Tower Apartments and the Kern Center.

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MU purchases downtown Milwaukee Ramada hotel
July 8, 2015 10:09 AM
An affiliate of Marquette University has purchased the Ramada Milwaukee Downtown from Oconomowoc-based 633 West Michigan, LLC, for $3.8 million, according to state records.

The seven-story hotel building, constructed in 1967, is located at 633 W. Michigan Street in downtown Milwaukee. The hotel building covers more than 96,000 square feet with 155 hotel rooms and sits on a 1.8-acre site, according to city records.

The property has an assessed value of $3.5 million, according to city records.

Marquette University officials could not be immediately reached for comment on the transaction.

In recent months, the university has been stretching its campus footprint further south and east.

In April, Marquette purchased the Butch’s Old Casino Steak House building, located at 555 N. James Lovell Street, for $690,000 and the Herzing University building, located at 525 N. 6th Street, for $1.465 million.

Last fall, the university acquired 2.3 acres from Zilber Property Group and 4.6 acres from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Those properties, located in the 800 block of West Michigan Street in downtown Milwaukee, have been designated for a new athletic performance research center being built through a strategic partnership with the Milwaukee Bucks.

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July 8, 2015 10:21 AM

Mid-America Real Estate

The Salvation Army leased 28,148 square feet of space at Westgate Square, 4901 Washington Ave., Racine.

Payless renewed its lease of 2,835 square feet of space in the Shops of Grand Avenue, 275 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee.
H.I.I.T. Fitness leased 2,524 square feet of space at Triangle Plaza, 13835 W. Capitol Dr., Brookfield.
The UPS Store renewed its lease of 1,207 square feet of space at Silvernail Plaza, 210 Silvernail Road, Pewaukee.


Urban Beets leased 638 square feet of retail space at 1407 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., Milwaukee, from Gorman & Company Inc.

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July 8, 2015 10:23 AM

DTZ Barry

St. Paul Storage LLC purchased a 125,000-square-foot building at 420 W. St. Paul Ave., Milwaukee, from Ace Industrial Properties for $3 million.

RFP Commercial

Fair Park Property Group LLC, an affiliate of Sara Investment Real Estate LLC, recently purchased Fair Park Business Center, a 131,401 square foot multi-tenant office building, located at 620 S. 76th St. in Milwaukee, from Fair Park Business Center LLC for $14.5 million. The property is currently home to eight tenants and is situated on 5.6 acres near State Fair Park.


Milwaukee Storage Partners LLC purchased the 124,247-square-foot Iron Mountain Building at 420 W. St. Paul Ave., Milwaukee, from Ace Industrial Properties.

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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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