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Wednesday, August 6, 2014
No responses yet to new RFP process for Park East corridor
August 6, 2014 10:47 AM
Monday was the first deadline for the new rolling RFP process for developers that want to acquire and build on land owned by Milwaukee County in the Park East corridor. But no responses to the RFP were submitted.

“One of the benefits of the new rolling RFP process is that timelines matters less than the quality of projects,” said Milwaukee County Economic Development Director Teig Whaley-Smith. “ While we have not received any responses yet, we continue to hear strong interest from the development community and look forward to future proposals.”

The uncertainty about the future site of a proposed new arena in downtown Milwaukee appears to be one reason for the lack of response to the Park East RFP, county officials said.

“Understandably, some of the developers are waiting to see what happens with a potential arena before moving forward with specific plans in the Park East and other areas across the city,” Whaley-Smith said.

In June a new marketing program and a streamlined development approval process for the long vacant Park East corridor was unveiled by a collaboration of city, county and state officials and the Commercial Association of Realtors Wisconsin. The public can view the marketing plan for the Park East corridor at: http://parkeastmke.com.

The Park East freeway spur, located on the north side of downtown Milwaukee, was torn down about 11 years ago in hopes of opening up land for development. But development has been slow to come to the former freeway corridor, which is mostly owned by Milwaukee County.

The area in the new Park East corridor marketing plan lies west of the Milwaukee River between West McKinley Avenue and West Juneau Avenue and between Old World Third Street and the former Pabst brewery complex. The area cover about 11 acres.

A key component of the new Park East effort is a joint city-county rolling RFP process to sell sites in the Park East corridor to developers. Details of the process are laid out on the Park East web site. The RFPs will be subjected to a streamlined and concurrent city-county review process.

The RFP will remain open until all available blocks of the Park East are under option. Though proposals can be submitted to the County Clerk’s office (901 N. 9th St., Room 105, Milwaukee, WI 53233) at any time, they will only be reviewed once per month. The deadline for review will be 4 p.m. on the first Monday of each month.

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Another East Side apartment development under construction
August 6, 2014 10:51 AM
A 36-unit residential development is under construction at 1809 N. Cambridge Ave. on Milwaukee's East Side.

Nikon Cambridge LLC pulled a building permit in July for the $1 million project, according to city records.

The project is being built by right, which means it complies with existing zoning for the site, and therefore the developer does not have to provide detailed information about the project to the city, said Department of City Development spokesman Jeff Fleming. He had no additional information about the project.

Construction workers at the site Tuesday said they believe it will be a three- to four-story apartment building.

The registered agent for Nikon Cambridge LLC is Ioannis N. Konstantinou, according to state records. He could not be reached for comment.

The development is one of several apartment projects under construction on the East Side. Three new apartment developments are being built along East North Avenue.

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Milwaukee area construction costs trend upward
August 6, 2014 09:52 AM
Local construction labor, material and equipment costs in the Milwaukee area have increased 5.8 percent year-over-year compared to 3.9 percent growth nationally, according to Mortenson Construction's quarterly Construction Cost Index report, released today.

The firm said it believes that based on local increases to date, and the consistent increase in national construction costs, growth in Milwaukee construction pricing will continue through 2014. The company is providing guidance that indicates the Milwaukee area could see a 5.0 percent increase in construction costs over the next year as the economic and construction industry recovery continues. This increase represents one of the highest among the six metropolitan areas that Mortenson tracks including Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, Denver, Phoenix, and Seattle.

“Construction costs in the Milwaukee market are rising at a greater pace than what we are seeing nationally with the local index exceeding the national average this quarter for the first time since the first quarter of 2009,” said Doug Heinrich, chief estimator, Mortenson Construction. “There is a lot of activity in the market at the moment and it is fueling growth on a number of levels. It is too early to say how the trends we are seeing here will change as we get into 2015.”

The report also cites a slight growth in local construction employment in the first half of 2014 according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“The good news is that this reflects a current and future growth in employment within the construction market sector, something we have not seen consistency since 2009,” said Alicia Dupies, director of project development for Mortenson Construction.

The Mortenson Construction Cost Index is calculated quarterly by pricing representative non-residential construction projects in various metropolitan areas throughout the country. It is part of a portfolio of industry insights and market studies provided by Mortenson. The Construction Cost Index is available by clicking here.

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Groundbreaking ceremony held for spec industrial building in Oak Creek
August 6, 2014 09:56 AM
Malvern, Pa.-based Liberty Property Trust, a real estate investment trust, held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday to celebrate the start of construction of a 171,114-square-foot speculative industrial building at 10020 S. Reinhart Dr. in Oak Creek.

The $6.3 million project is the latest example of the strength of the metro Milwaukee industrial real estate market, which has a 6.05 percent vacancy rate, according to Xceligent.

"We are experiencing interest from serious tenants regarding sizable amounts of square footage, which is rare in the Milwaukee market without a completed building," said Neal Driscoll, Liberty Property Trust's vice president of development in the region. "We hope this activity level will translate into signed leases as we begin tipping walls into place in the next 30 days."

Actual construction work for the building started in June and is expected to be complete in November.

The architect for the development project is Stephen Perry Smith Architects, Inc., the engineer is R.A. Smith National, Inc. and the general contractor is Berghammer Construction Corp. The leasing team is Steve Sewart and Pat Hake of Colliers International.

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First Bank Financial Centre expands headquarters, adds another branch
August 6, 2014 10:43 AM
First Bank Financial Centre has expanded its Oconomowoc headquarters and opened a second branch in Brookfield to keep up with loan growth.

Over the past three years, First Bank has originated loans totaling more than $1 billion, and has now added six branches over the same time period to keep up with the growth. The new branch is at 12600 W. North Ave. in Brookfield.

FBFC added 25,000 square feet to its headquarters to make room for the additional employees. The building is now 61,000 square feet.

The expansion, which makes the building one of the largest in downtown Oconomowoc, will allow about 140 employees to work in one space. The headquarters now has an architectural glass tower connecting the expansion, and the combined space includes two open floor work areas, four conference rooms, a multipurpose meeting and conference room, training room, 15 offices, three executive suites, and unfinished space for future expansion. Amenities include an exercise room, four oasis rooms with beverage and vending options, an outdoor patio and a larger lunch room.

“We really were bursting at the seams,” said Mark Mohr, president and chief executive officer. “The larger space gives us the opportunity to create a new, efficient layout and workflow that fosters a culture of teamwork. It’s a space that will serve us for many years to come. Downtown Oconomowoc is going through a revitalization and, as a community bank, we wanted to make sure we contributed to that momentum and economic growth.”

The bank established a Business Loan Pool Program in 2010 to aid in the redevelopment of main streets and local downtowns by providing low interest financing to small businesses. It is available in Brookfield, Mequon, Grafton, Hartland, Menomonee Falls and Oconomowoc, and has been used to open or update 23 businesses.

FBFC also recently expanded its financial planning and insurance offerings  through Summit Street Wealth Management.

“We approach everything on a local basis,” Mohr said. “We know our customers individually and are focused on delivering high quality service and meeting their specific financial needs. And, we hire leading talent whose leadership and involvement in our communities contributes to our growth and success. We’re a bank that uses local deposits to fund local businesses that in turn contribute to the vitality and quality of life in the areas we serve.”

First Bank Financial Centre also recently received the SBA Lender of the Year Award at the Wisconsin Lenders Conference. First Bank, which gives the most SBA loans in the state, is ranked 28th nationally for SBA loan volume.

The bank, which has more than 200 employees and is 155 years old, now has 12 full-service branches and two loan offices covering Waukesha, Ozaukee, Washington and Dane counties. It has added about 100 employees over the past five years. The bank manages about $800 million in assets.

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Media gets sneak peak of Potawatomi Hotel
August 6, 2014 10:08 AM
Potawatomi Hotel & Casino on Monday gave members of the media a tour of the new 19-story, 381-room hotel at the casino in the Menomonee Valley.

Click here to see photos of the hotel from the media tour.

During the tour, hotel employees and contractors were busy putting the final touches on the new hotel.

"It was a long weekend," said hotel director Hassan Abdel-Moneim. "We are pulling all of the final pieces together."

The hotel will open for business on Aug. 18. An official grand opening event will be held on Oct. 1.

Features of the new hotel include: a casual dining restaurant called Locavore that will feature dishes prepared with food products sourced from local purveyors, a coffee bar operated by Stone Creek Coffee, a fitness center, seven meeting rooms with a total of 12,000 square feet of meeting space and a 2,000-square-foot outdoor patio on the third floor. The hotel also has a large porte cochere with a heated walkway that will eliminate snow and ice, Abdel-Moneim said.

The hotel has a 3,000-square-foot presidential suite on the north end of the top floor of the building. The suite is available for $4,000 a night and includes a wet bar, floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the city and an 800-square-foot patio overlooking the city. Guests in the presidential suite, which Potawatomi says is the largest and most expensive hotel suite in Milwaukee, will have unlimited limousine service and will be welcomed to the suite with a bottle of Dom Perignon.

The presidential suite could appeal to celebrities, high profile CEOs or other high rollers, Abdel-Monseim said.

"It is a beautiful room," he said.

Potawatomi hopes the addition of the hotel will make the casino a regional destination. The casino has already begun a major advertising push in Chicago to promote the addition of the hotel to its offerings.

"Adding a hotel to this property will allow us to show our brand of exciting entertainment to a much wider audience," said Mike Goodrich, general manager for Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. "With the addition of lodging, our property will now be at the forefront of destination casinos. It will serve as another reason for people to visit the Milwaukee area."

Almost 250 permanent jobs were created to staff the new hotel.

The general contractor for the hotel project is Gilbane Building Co. and the architect is Cuningham Group Architecture Inc.

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Second and Galena streets reopened today in Schlitz Park
August 6, 2014 10:12 AM
Second and Galena streets are reopened to traffic today in the Schlitz Park office complex, located just north of downtown Milwaukee, as construction work on the streets comes to a close.

The portion of Galena Street in the former Schlitz brewery complex has been closed to the public since the 1970s. Once re-opened, the portion of Galena Street in Schlitz Park will be a one-way street heading east.

Second Street will remain a one-way street through Schlitz Park heading north.

The recent construction work resurfaced and added landscaping to the streets.

The street improvements are part of a three-phase, $34 million renovation and redevelopment project at Schlitz Park that started in 2012 and is now in the final phase.
Schlitz Park also announced today that real estate agency My Dwelling LLC has moved into a 1,400 square-foot suite in the office complex’s Bottlehouse B building at 101 W. Pleasant St. The agency was formerly located at 316 N. Milwaukee in the Third Ward.

The Bottlehouse B and A buildings are now 98 percent leased.

My Dwelling is the latest of several tenants that have been added at Schlitz Park this year.

“Literally it’s been a summer of new faces and new spaces at Schlitz Park,” said Schlitz Park developer Gary Grunau.

Additionally, landscaping crews will lay down sod for Brewhouse Square this week. The new park is being created at the former site of the Schlitz Brewhouse building, which was torn down because it had severe structural problems and could not be redeveloped, Grunau has said.

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Blue Harbor Resort adds glow-in-the-dark mini golf
August 6, 2014 10:15 AM
Blue Harbor Resort & Spa, located on the lakefront in Sheboygan, announced that today it is opening a new indoor glow-in-the-dark miniature golf course called The Lost Temples, located above the resort's 43,000-square-foot Breaker Bay Waterpark.

The addition of the glow-in-the-dark mini golf course is part of $1.7 million in improvements that are being added to the resort. The other improvements will include a new fitness center, an expanded spa and salon and a new indoor surfing simulator.

"Combined, these enhancements further position Blue Harbor as the resort of choice for leisure travelers, families and groups," said David Sanderson, vice president and general manager of Blue Harbor Resort.

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Helena Chemical Co. acquires Millard Feed Mill near Elkhorn
August 6, 2014 10:16 AM
Colliersville, Tenn.-based Helena Chemical Company recently acquired Millard Feed Mill in Walworth County for $3.4 million, according to state records.

The Millard Feed Mill facility is located on a five-acre property at W6404 County Highway A, about 7 miles northwest of Elkhorn.

Helena Chemical Company is a distributor of crop protection and crop production inputs and services for agricultural, turf and ornamental, forestry, aquatics and vegetation management markets.

Representatives for Helena Chemical Company and Millard Feed Mill could not be reached for comment.


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Real estate odds and ends
August 6, 2014 10:24 AM

Mequon investment group buys two Milwaukee apartment complexes for $8.3 million
A Mequon-based investment group purchased a 24-unit apartment complex at 8831-43 N. 96th St., Milwaukee for $5.2 million, and a 66-unit apartment complex at 7135 W. Silver Spring Dr., Milwaukee, for $3.145 million, from Milwaukee-based Bruckner Real Estate, according to state records.

Milwaukee industrial building sold for $1 million

Milwaukee-based JAS Investments Inc. purchased a 22,000-square-foot industrial building at 8050 N. Granville Wood Road, Milwaukee, from Whitefish Bay-based 8050 North Granville Woods Road LLC for $1 million, according to state records.

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Leases
August 6, 2014 10:03 AM

Judson & Associates

GWC Enterprise Inc. leased 4,800 square feet of space at 300 Travis Lane, Unite 17 and 18, Waukesha, from Waucom Center LLC.

Allterior Home Remodeling leased 3,400 square feet of space at W227 N880 Westmound Dr., Pewaukee, from JAG I LLC and JRG I LLC.

Dairyland Buses Inc. leased space at 2107 S. 1st St., Milwaukee, from Asset Acquisition Inc.

NAI MLG Commercial

Multi Serve Inc. leased 5,000 square feet at 2086-88 S. 55th St., West Allis, from Fiduciary Real Estate Development Inc.

Meridian Subtek Inc. leased 2,400 square feet at N69 W25055 Indian Grass Lane, Sussex, from Indiangrass Holdings.

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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 Andrew.Weiland@biztimes.com or call him at (414) 277-8181, ext. 120.

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