Depending on which news sources you follow, Milwaukee is going through either a “renaissance” or a “reinvention.” Or maybe it’s a “reboot” or a “reimagining,” like that crappy Tim Burton version of Planet Of The Apes. However you want to define it, it’s safe to say that Milwaukee is currently building a lot of new and wonderful things.
• File this one under “new and wonderful things they’re NOT building.”
You know that huuuuuge U.S. Postal Service building at 341 W. St. Paul Ave.? The one right next to the Amtrak station? Where the streetcar starts and finishes its breathtaking 2.1-mile loop through downtown? Yeah, that one. Anyway, a couple of Chicago firms bought the building in 2015 (for $13.1 million) and soon revealed conceptual plans to convert the sucker into “roughly 200,000 square feet of stores and restaurants on the first and second floors, 500 parking spaces on the third floor and around 100,000 square feet of offices on the fourth floor.” Wow!
Well, that ain’t happening. Why? For starters, the Postal Service’s lease on the building runs to 2025, and could be extended to 2040. (Efforts by the building’s new owners to evict the Postal Service were dismissed in 2019.) Oh, and now the building has a new new owner: Last week, an affiliate of a New York-based company that specializes in postal service buildings, Postal Realty Trust Inc. (natch), bought the facility for a cool $15 million. “A Postal Realty Trust representative couldn’t be immediately reached for comment,” reports the [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]. “But the company’s business plan doesn’t appear to include redeveloping the properties it buys.” So there you go.
• That two-story, 30,000-square-foot building at 1617-1633 E. North Ave.—you know, that building across the street from the North Avenue McDonald’s—might be turned into apartments. Apartments for nearby UWM students, to be exact. Seventeen apartments for nearby UWM students, to be even more exact, complete with “an ice cream stand for that building’s former dairy bar.” The building, which was constructed in 1946 and is considered historic, was once a milk distribution center. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
• The owners of Peruvian restaurant Triciclo Peru want to buy two city-owned properties and use them for production space. “[Co-owner Amy] Narr would use the first floor of building at 3616 W. Vliet St. for production and retail sales of its frozen empanadas line Pachamama,” says [Urban Milwaukee]. “The second-floor space would be used as office space for the business. A vacant lot, 3610 W. Vliet St., could be used by employees for breaks or staff gatherings.”
• That big building in Milwaukee’s Century City Business Park—you know, the one anchored by Good Kind Brewing—is all filled up. What to do when more businesses want to get in on the Century City action? Well, now there are plans to construct a second light industrial building on the site. “That space will be marketed to smaller businesses, mainly local food and beverage producers, that typically need 5,000 to 6,000 square feet of production and distribution space,” says the [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel].
• Milwaukee Tool is hard at work converting a 43-year-old office building at 501 W. Michigan St. into its new downtown office. The project, you may recall, involves Milwaukee Tool bringing hundreds of workers downtown and getting millions of dollars in city subsidies for doing so. [Urban Milwaukee]
• A Texas company would like to build a 22,073-square-foot “micro-hospital” on a vacant site on the city’s far south side, near Layton Avenue and I-94. The site is currently owned by a Kansas company that wanted to build an extended-stay hotel there; those plans were shot down by the Common Council in 2018. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
• And what did we learn this week? Well, they’re always building something. Isn’t that right, old song from my old band that’s reuniting December 19 at Cactus Club?
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