Wisconsin

With two phases down, Union Corners looks ahead to final developments

By Abigail Becker, The Cap Times

The second phase of the $78 million development known as Union Corners unfolded Wednesday with the grand opening of a $19 million, 90-unit mixed-income apartment complex.

Interview by Eden Checkol, WISC-TV News 3

Named after the battery company that formerly occupied the site, Carbon at Union Corners includes two four-story buildings joined by a courtyard and path that leads to East Washington Avenue. There is 18,000-square-feet of ground floor retail space and 92 underground parking spaces at the complex on Winnebago Street.

Ald. Marsha Rummel, District 6, said the development is a strong example of creating a neighborhood and not just “plopping in some buildings” into a vacant space.

“There is now a community that will evolve here and be part of a bigger neighborhood, and I’m proud to be a part of it,” Rummel said.

Of the 90 units, 76 are affordable and targeted to families making between 30 and 60 percent of Dane County’s median income, or $85,200 for a household of four. Only 10 units are still available, Gorman’s Wisconsin Market President Ted Matkom said.

The project used $8.5 million of Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority low income tax credits and the city contributed the land within a Tax Incremental Financing district in addition to $1 million of gap financing. Dane County put forward $554,000 of gap financing.

Madison’s Department of Planning, Community & Economic Development director Natalie Erdman said the city’s vision for the site was to see a complete neighborhood with access to transportation, child care and housing.

Central to that vision was affordable housing and creating a place that would draw a diverse group of people together, Erdman said.

“Carbon is really a good example of that mixed income with some quality commercial space that create those vital experiences for people living here, and a way for us to relate to one another in a good quality of housing,” Erdman said.

In 2014, the city set aside $4.5 million per year to create an estimated 250 units of affordable housing per year. Gorman & Co, the developer of Union Corners, was included in the first round of funding, Erdman said.

“This is the beginning of the fruits of those labors and that commitment,” Erdman said.

The first phase of the Union Corners development was the $20 million, two-story UW Health Clinic on the corner of East Washington Avenue and Sixth Street that opened at the end of last year.

Following Carbon, the developer is proposing to build a 59-unit apartment complex in partnership with Lutheran Social Services. The complex would be geared toward extended families, such as grandparents, who are raising other family members’ children.

A five-story, mixed-use apartment complex called Nexus is the fourth phase of the project. The final development in the Union Corners plan will have about 100 apartments, 18,000-square-feet of retail and over 200 enclosed parking spaces.

Gorman & Co CEO Gary Gorman said the goal of the Union Corners site is to create a place where people can live, work and recreate within walking distance.

“We’ve created an urban village here,” Gorman said. “It’s not done, but it will be and I’m very proud of it.”

Hotel, apartments, breweries bring next round of Pabst developments to downtown Milwaukee

Written by Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Much has happened during the former Pabst brewery’s decade of redevelopment: a hotel at the former brew house, apartments in both new and renovated historic buildings, a university facility and other projects have revived empty structures and vacant lots.

But the picture won’t be complete until early 2019, with more than 430 additional apartments, a 150-room hotel and two new breweries highlighting the final development surge.

When that last phase is done, the 21-acre site, now called The Brewery, will include more than 800 apartments, two hotels, three office buildings, restaurants and taverns, as well as new streets and even two small parks — blending what was an isolated former industrial site into Milwaukee’s downtown.

The completed $100 million project, helped by $32 million in city financing, expands downtown Milwaukee’s footprint west from the site of the Milwaukee Bucks new arena and marks another huge addition to the ongoing downtown development boom.

The Brewery hasn’t drawn as much national attention as it deserves, said Robert Greenstreet, dean of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning.

“This is a staggering success story,” said Greenstreet, who also served as Milwaukee’s city planner from 2004 to 2009.

“I feel like it’s going to be a whole different place” within two years, said local developer Josh Jeffers, whose BrewLab Lofts will be among those new apartment buildings.

Added developer Mike Zukerman, “It’s really remarkable what’s going on there.”

Zukerman’s firm, New York-based Whitestone Realty Capital LLC, is converting the former Pabst malt house into 118 high-end apartments, known as The Brewery Lofts, 1009 W. Juneau Ave.

The project involves demolishing most of the interior and building seven new floors with new fixtures and restored windows.

That work was more complicated than anticipated.

The Brewery Lofts, originally due to open this summer, are now expected to open in early 2018, Zukerman said. He declined to disclose the increased project budget, which was initially estimated at $34 million.

The project’s financing includes federal and state historic preservation tax credits, which cover part of the restoration costs in return for following strict construction guidelines.

The one- and two-bedroom units will have monthly rents from around $1,600 to $2,000.

Two other apartment developments are to begin construction soon. Combined with Zukerman’s project, they will more than double the number of units at The Brewery.

Jeffers plans to begin work in July on converting two adjoined buildings at 1037 W. McKinley Ave. into 43 apartments. He bought the three-story buildings from Cardinal Stritch University, which is moving its College of Education and Leadership from the larger building to the university’s main Fox Point campus.

The smaller building has been vacant since Pabst Brewing Co. closed its operations in 1996 but since has been partially renovated. Pabst used both buildings for its research labs.

The $8 million project BrewLab Lofts is to be completed by March 31. The financing includes historic preservation tax credits.

The one- and two-bedroom apartments, including studio units, will have monthly rents from around $1,200 to $1,900.

Also, Indianapolis-based Milhaus Development is proceeding with its plans to build 274 apartments within two five-story buildings,  at 926 W. Juneau Ave. and 1003 W. Winnebago St. Those two locations are one block apart.

Milhaus plans to complete its purchase of the vacant parcels and begin construction this month, said Greg McHenry, director of development.

The $40 million project would likely have its first units available by summer 2018, with both buildings completed by spring 2019, McHenry said.

The Juneau Ave. building would feature 7,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and 110 apartments on the upper floors. The Winnebago St. building would have 164 apartments and a ground-floor leasing office and common amenities.

The development would include 27 apartments with around 350 to 400 square feet and monthly rents below $1,000. Those so-called micro units are a growing trend in Milwaukee and other cities.

The remaining units, ranging from studios to three-bedroom apartments, would have rents of around $1,300 to $2,400.

Both the Milhaus buildings and Brewery Lofts will provide parking for residents at The Brewery’s 900-space central parking structure. BrewLab Lofts has a surface parking lot.

Other apartment developments at The Brewery are Eleven25 at Pabst student housing, developed in the former bottling house; Frederick Lofts; Blue Ribbon Lofts, developed in the former keg house; and Brewery Point senior apartments. Those buildings total just under 400 units.

Meanwhile, construction recently started on a six-story, 150-room Hyatt Place hotel at 821 W. Winnebago St. Deerfield, Ill.-based Janko Group plans to have the $27 million project completed by summer 2018.

It will be the second hotel at The Brewery. The 90-room Brewhouse Inn and Suites opened in 2013 in the former Pabst brewhouse.

Finally, The Brewery has an actual brewery, the first there since Pabst closed its operations more than 20 years ago, with another brewery on the way.

Los Angeles-based Pabst Brewing in April opened its Milwaukee brewery, restaurant and taproom at 1037 W. Juneau Ave., within the former Pabst training center and Forst Keller tavern.

The new $5 million Pabst brewery serves as a place to experiment with new beers and historical Pabst recipes.

Renovations are to begin this month on converting part of the former Pabst distribution center, 1131 N. 8th St., into a craft brewery operated by Milwaukee Brewing Co., as well as a restaurant, events venue and offices.

That 46,000-square-foot brewery, including a tasting room, is scheduled to open in May 2018, said Jim McCabe, Milwaukee Brewing owner. The company will continue to operate its smaller Walker’s Point brewery.

An adjacent restaurant, including a rooftop dining area, and events venue will total around 30,000 square feet and likely open next May, said building owner Scott Lurie. He said the restaurant and venue operator’s name will be announced soon.

The building also will feature around 50,000 square feet of offices, Lurie said.

The former distribution center’s redevelopment includes a self-storage center on the building’s lower level owned by White Plains, N.Y.-based Highland Development Ventures LLC. Known as Extra Space Storage, it will open around June 30, said Adam Hird, Highland managing partner.

Other office buildings at The Brewery include a former boiler house and the newly built Pabst Professional Center. Each has around 40,000 square feet.

The Brewery also features the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Zilber School of Public Health, which combined a former Pabst warehouse with new construction, and Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery, which includes a tavern, banquet rooms and a gift shop in the former Pabst offices and visitors center.

City spending to help finance The Brewery’s parking structure, street repairs, environment cleanup, demolition and other expenses have so far totaled $26 million and will likely eventually reach $32 million, said Jeff Fleming, Department of City Development spokesman. Those funds are being repaid through property taxes from The Brewery’s buildings.

The city debt will be paid off by 2032, according to a department estimate. The new property taxes will then go to the city’s general fund, Milwaukee Public Schools and other local governments.

The Pabst site was valued at $9.3 million before Zilber Ltd., led by the late Joseph Zilber, started the redevelopment work in 2007. The new and renovated buildings have so far created $64.2 million in additional property value, with a total new value of $98.9 million expected when the entire site is completely redeveloped, Fleming said.

Zilber bought most of the Pabst site in 2006, vowing to create “a great neighborhood, where people will want to live, work and shop.” An earlier attempt led by Wispark LLC to create PabstCity, a mixed-use project that included an entertainment focus, failed to win Common Council support for its $41 million city financing plan.

The council did Milwaukee a favor by rejecting that plan, said Greenstreet. He was then city planner in Mayor Tom Barrett’s administration, which pushed hard for PabstCity.

City officials supported PabstCity because it was the only viable plan for the crumbling brewery buildings, Greenstreet said. But that proposal would have involved demolishing more historic buildings than those eventually preserved under Zilber’s involvement, he said.

Zilber’s decision to take on the project as his legacy to Milwaukee was a blessing, Greenstreet said.

“Without Zilber, that would just be a collapsing site now,” he said.

Zilber’s conceptual plans for The Brewery called for fewer apartments, and more office and retail space, than has been developed. That shift to more housing is tied to the growing trend of both baby boomers and millennials living in urban areas, which has helped spark an unprecedented downtown Milwaukee development boom.

The Brewery’s completion, along with the new Milwaukee Bucks arena and other large downtown projects, will likely help spur investment to other nearby sites, said Larry Witzling, a longtime planner at Graef consulting firm.

“The big question is: how fast and where will it spread?” said Witzling, who helped create plans for the neighboring Park East area.

Tom Daykin can be reached at tdaykin@jrn.com

Tiny houses project for young adults in Milwaukee advances

By   –  Reporter, Milwaukee Business Journal

 

Construction could start next spring on the first of 36 tiny houses in Milwaukee that will put a roof over young adults’ heads while they train for stable jobs.

Those houses would be built over a three-year span at 4200 N. Humboldt Blvd. on green space that belongs to the Milwaukee Area Technical College. Milwaukee County currently has more than 100 young people who would be eligible to live in the houses, said Tim Baack, president and CEO of Pathfinders, the Milwaukee social services organization that is part of the project team.

They are designed for people ages 18 to 25 who aged out of the local foster care safety net, but still need help finding stable employment, or other services.

“Without adequate housing, it becomes much more difficult, if not impossible, for someone to be trained and get a job, and keep a job, to have their social and emotional well-being taken care of,” Baack said. “Housing really needs to come first so that stability and safety is present. From there, all else becomes more possible.”

The 300- to 350-square-foot houses, each with their own kitchens and bathrooms, would create that stability. Milwaukee County’s Housing Division would help cover rent payments while residents work toward a steady job.

The small-scale neighborhood would be built within walking distance of Pathfinders’ building, where other support will be available.

The tiny houses is a collaboration between Pathfinders, Milwaukee County and developer Gorman & Co. Inc., which is doing pro bono work to support the development. It gained a first city endorsement Monday from Milwaukee’s Plan Commission.

Ted Matkom, Wisconsin market president for Gorman & Co., said the houses will cost about $80,000 apiece to build. Construction could start in April 2018. Money is in place for the first 12 houses, including a $100,000 grant from Milwaukee County’s Housing Division. If more money is raised before next spring, more houses could break ground next year, he said.

The team members hope to have all 36 tiny houses built over a three-year span.

Pathfinders secured a three-year state award of $250,000 annually for services to support people who will live in the houses. That will also cover the salaries of two service providers, one of whom will live in a tiny house to provide on-site support, Baack said.

The end goal is to have residents transition out of the houses after securing steady jobs. Gorman & Co. would provide construction job training through its ongoing campaign to rehab foreclosed single-family houses in the city of Milwaukee. The developer has been doing those home rehabs for several years.

Residential Component of $60M Wis. Mixed-Use Opens

By Jeffrey Steele of Multi-Housing News

Madison, Wis.—Carbon at Union Corners, a mixed-use community including a 90-residence apartment community with a substantial affordable housing component, has broken ground in Madison, Wis.

union_corners

A long-vacant industrial site once occupied by Ray-O-Vac Corp. is now the site for Gorman & Co.’s new development.

Carbon is the result of a public-private partnership between the city of Madison, Dane County and the state of Wisconsin. It is the second phase and first residential phase of Gorman & Company’s $60 million multi-stage transformation of a long-vacant industrial site once occupied by Ray-O-Vac Corporation. “Union Corners is a master development that we embarked on three years ago,” Gorman & Company’s Milwaukee-based president of the Wisconsin market Ted Matkom told MHN.

“It was started through an RFP process. Ray-O-Vac abandoned the site decades ago, and the city of Madison took title to the big six-acre site and cleaned the site through remediation grants to the point where it was developable. It’s right on a main thoroughfare in Madison called East Washington Avenue, and surrounded by historic neighborhoods that are extremely stable but more moderate income.”

Six neighborhoods touch Union Corners, “and we talked with all of them,” Matkom continued. “The priorities were a place to live, work and play. After that, they identified their top desires as health care, a supermarket, and affordable housing. They really emphasized the need for a development that didn’t gentrify their neighborhood. They wanted something that blended into the neighborhood. We got them the UW Health Clinic, Fresh Thyme grocery and this Carbon development, with a large mix of housing ranging from market rate to apartments earmarked for 30 percent of AMI.”

The construction cost is estimated at $16 million. Completion is slated for June 2017.

Carbon at Union Corners features two four-story buildings linked by courtyard plaza. In addition to the 90 apartment homes, there will be 18,000 square feet of ground-floor specialty retail space and 92 underground parking spaces for residents. Eighty-five percent (or 76) of the one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments will be designated as “affordable” and targeted to families earning 30, 50 or 60 percent of Dane County’s median income, which is $82,600 for a family of four.

Four units will be market rate. Monthly rental rates depend on annual household income, and will range from $380 to $940 for a one-, $455 to $1,245 for a two- and $920 to $1,460 for a three-bedroom unit.

Apartments will feature walk-in closets, in-unit washer-dryers, large kitchens and Magic-Pak self-contained HVAC systems. Amenities include a fitness center with cardio equipment, treadmills, weights and stationary bikes.

When considering acquiring the site, Gorman & Company had to weigh its positives and negatives, Matkom said. “The plus was it is a vacant site remediated by the city of Madison, and 100 percent ready for development,” he reported. “The minus was the site was incorporated in a highly urban area touching six neighborhoods. The time we spent in community meetings was extremely long. There were a lot of stakeholders who had to be appeased to ensure the development was a fit for the community.”

One of the points of contention was surface parking. Neighborhood residents didn’t want a sea of asphalt encircling the development. “They wanted underground parking,” Matkom said. “So we had to put in all underground parking, and from a cost perspective, it was challenging to incorporate that into the project.”

A nod to the site’s history will be woven into Carbon. Bricks from the long-demolished Ray-O-Vac factory will be creatively repurposed, and the vintage French Battery stone signs will be featured in common areas of Union Corners.

Gorman & Co. founder looks to future by naming new CEO

Written by Larry Avila of the Wisconsin State Journal

Gary_Gorman

OREGON — Gary Gorman recognized that for the development company bearing his name to continue without him someday, he needed a leadership transition plan to ensure its future.

In mid-March Gorman & Co., which he built from a one-man operation from a basement office in summer 1984 to a company with about 250 employees and operations in five states, announced that plan. Gorman will transition the daily management of the company to Brian Swanton, the Arizona market president who will take over as CEO on Jan. 1. Gorman will still be involved with the business as chairman of its board.

Gorman, who has not determined a retirement date, said announcing a leadership succession plan now was the responsible thing to do.

“I’ll still be very involved in the company, but I’ll be less involved in the day-to-day side of things starting Jan. 1,” said Gorman, 61. “I don’t consider this retiring at all, but when you grow a business to a certain level, and when (the owner) gets over 60 years old, people do start to ask, ‘What’s next?’

“I wanted to get ahead of that question. I wanted to have input on (the future of the business) as opposed to someone else making that decision somewhere down the line.”

In the beginning

Gorman & Co. specializes in housing developments from affordable housing to upscale condominiums, and does more than $100 million in business annually. It employs about 250 people and has operations in Milwaukee, Phoenix, Chicago, Miami and Denver.

Corporate_Office

Gorman & Co. also has been very active in Madison.

The company’s recent projects include the Union Corners development continuing to rise at East Washington Avenue, Milwaukee and Winnebago streets. The company also was involved in converting space at the Bishop O’Connor Catholic Pastoral Center, a former seminary and home to the diocesan headquarters, to apartments now referred to as Holy Name Heights.

Before he got into housing development, Gorman practiced law for about four years.

“The basement office where I started my business was torn down long ago,” he said. “When I look back on it, I never expected the company to grow to the size it is today.”

Tom Capp, the current chief operating officer who will become vice chairman of the board on Jan. 1, joined Gorman about 22 years ago and led the company’s expansion outside Wisconsin, most recently to Illinois.

“We have deep roots in Wisconsin and we’ll always be a Wisconsin-based company,” Gorman said.

He said Swanton, who has grown Gorman & Co.’s business in Arizona for the past eight years, is ready for a larger role.

Gorman said establishing the future leader of the company well before his retirement also ensures to future investors the firm will be around to see projects through and it also helps in the recruitment of new employees as it looks to expand into new markets.

hallway

“Yes, I want to ensure the company continues after I’m gone, but what it’s really about when a company actively is recruiting young people that have options and they see the CEO of our company is a guy in his 60s, they may not consider us,” Gorman said.

Gorman said moving the company forward will take new thinking.

“It took a certain skill set to grow the company from zero to $100 million,” he said. “To get to that next level, it will take someone who may be better at systems and monitoring metrics, and I think Brian has the skills to continue growing the business.”

The future

Implementing a transition plan while an owner still will be involved in the business is a sound strategy, said Sherry Herwig, director of the Family Business Center at UW-Madison.

“It lets employees know that during the transition there will be some consistency and continuity,” she said. “When the new leader takes over, the employees can take comfort knowing the person who had been leading the company all along, will be there and be part of the decision-making process.”

architets

Gorman said his company’s success has been built through recruiting good people who could develop markets familiar to them.

“What I hope to see is the company experience steady but not rapid growth because companies that are the highest risk are start-ups and those that grow too rapidly,” he said. “In terms of the transition and working with Brian, I plan to work with him so he understands what he’ll have to do to be the CEO versus just being a market president.”

Gorman said once the company’s daily management is transitioned to Swanton, he will focus on special projects including finding ways to approach building projects more cost-effectively.

“I’m feeling good and I’m healthy,” Gorman said. “I’m still really interested in this business and frankly, I don’t want to retire.”

How Milwaukee’s Northside Housing Initiative Is Keeping the Neighborhood Affordable

 

How do you revitalize a neighborhood that’s faced years of vacancy and disinvestment without displacing the people who call it home? It’s a problem that Milwaukee’s Northside Housing Initiative has been tackling for the last eight years.

1914 home restorationA 1914 home was restored in 2013.

The Northside Housing Initiative (NHI), a project of national developer Gorman & Company, is in the business of restoring tax foreclosed houses. Formerly a booming neighborhood for industrial workers, the north side has seen high rates of vacancy in recent years, following the national housing crisis and the Great Recession. As part of the still-ongoing initiative, the city of Milwaukee acquires foreclosed houses for $1 and donates them to the NHI, which carefully refurbishes them over the course of about six months. Not all of the houses are historic, but roughly 20 percent date from 1910 to 1925, and their styles range from bungalows to Queen Anne to Victorian Revival.

“You do find some that are really in pretty good shape, they still have some pretty good bones to them,” says Marc Ott, lead architect for the Wisconsin market at Gorman, of the historic homes refurbished as part of the initiative. “And then of course you find some that are in the far, complete opposite end, really not habitable at all.”

He says that making sure that the heating and cooling, plumbing, and electrical systems are safe and up to code takes top priority in the rehab projects. Gorman & Company has completed eight phases of the initiative thus far, with a ninth slated for the spring of 2017. They’ve refurbished over 300 structures, including single-family homes and duplexes, to date, taking advantage of low-income tax credits to help finance the work.

Ott says that keeping the historic fabric of the neighborhood intact is also something that the NHI strives for. “We do take time and research the whole block and try to make sure it [the house] fits in and the color scheme is appropriate and etcetera,” he says.

One of the project’s essential components is a workforce development program, in partnership with the Northcott Neighborhood House, a local nonprofit that works with low-income or out-of-work community members. Northcott keeps a list of re-entry candidates who have committed felonies and are trying to get back on their feet post-incarceration, and works with NHI to train interested individuals in the areas of carpentry, electrical, HVAC, or plumbing, as well as providing them with a core curriculum at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Ted Matkom, Wisconsin Market President at Gorman & Company, explains that at the end of their training, people in the program have an opportunity to pursue an apprenticeship in their field of choice.

1910 home before

A duplex built in 1910 gets restored in 2012.

1910 home after

“Our goal is to have them pass the competency test to get into an apprenticeship in those trades,” he says. “Once they pass that, with our credit from the training program, they can get an apprenticeship job with a local union.”

The north side of Milwaukee has seen a shift in recent years due to the new Century City project, a formerly vacant A.O. Smith car parts factory that the city is in the process of transforming into an office park, at an estimated cost of around $40 million. While the new development should be economically beneficial for the area in theory, the city doubled down on its commitment to keeping longtime residents from being pushed out of the neighborhood by rising housing costs by partnering with the Northside Housing Initiative to rehab homes in direct proximity to Century City. It’s part of a larger plan to keep the North Side affordable for those whose families, in some cases, have called it home for generations.

“You can really see that this was probably the quintessential working neighborhood back in the ‘20s and ‘30s and ‘40s, with all the industry that was happening in Milwaukee,” Ott says. “Unfortunately, through the years and economics and whatnot, they’ve just transitioned, and people weren’t able to keep them up.”

For residents like Willie Bounds, who has called Milwaukee home his whole life, the house he’s renting through the Northside Housing Initiative provides more than enough room for him and his daughter. “I’ve never had a house with a basement before,” he says, laughing. “I really love the extra space.” He pays $950 a month for a four-bedroom, four-bathroom house.

“It really gives a lot of pride to the neighborhood,” Ott says of the project’s benefits. “It’s one thing to give someone housing. If you can give someone good quality housing that they’re proud to bring people back to—it’s been very fulfilling to see, as we work through these nine phases, how we evolve, how the community’s kind of taken hold of it, been proud of it.”

Creative reuse turns half of former Catholic seminary in Madison into higher-end apartments

Written by Doug Erickson, Wisconsin State Journal

holy name seminary

Several years ago, leaders of the Madison Catholic Diocese realized they had a big challenge on their hands with the Bishop O’Connor Catholic Pastoral Center, a former seminary and home to the diocesan headquarters.

The majestic but aging building on the city’s Far West Side had become costly to maintain, with only about one-third of it being used on a regular basis.

The diocese hired a developer, and today, about half of the building has been converted to private-market apartments, adding millions of dollars to the city’s tax base. The $21 million project celebrated its grand opening in August, and all 53 apartments are now occupied, ahead of expectations.

“There’s more life to the building now — more people, more activity,” said Monsignor James Bartylla, the diocese’s second-ranking official, adding that the project keeps the “legacy property” in the diocese while preserving much of its spiritual and cultural identity.

The building at 702 S. High Point Road, a few blocks south of the Beltline, opened in 1964 as Holy Name Seminary, a high school for boys interested in possibly becoming priests. The seminary closed in 1995.

The building was rechristened in 1997 as the Bishop O’Connor Catholic Pastoral Center, honoring the founding bishop of the diocese. Its new name, Holy Name Heights, brings the site back full circle.

For apartment dwellers, it offers one of the more unusual residential settings in the city.

The diocesan headquarters remain, imbuing the building with a sense of the sacred. Tenants have 24-hour access to the building’s centerpiece, an on-site chapel with soaring stained glass windows and a 360-piece mosaic that rises three stories behind the altar. Mass is celebrated daily during the week.

For a more secular experience, there’s a full-size gym, newly restored to its retro glory. The 72-acre site offers 2.5 miles of walking paths, a running track, a baseball diamond and fields for football and soccer.

Other amenities include two interior courtyards with arched walkways, a theater room with a 100-inch screen, and a lounge with a balcony offering panoramic views of the city and state Capitol.

“It just seems so special here,” said tenant Christina Busse, 33, a stay-at-home mom who lives in a two-bedroom apartment with her husband, Phillip, 35, and their 21-month-old son, Cephas.

Broad appeal

While anyone can live at the site, diocesan officials thought the apartments might attract mostly empty nesters and Catholics. The appeal has been broader.

Busse, who is Lutheran, said she enjoys praying in the chapel and has found her neighbors to be a friendly bunch that ranges in age from young professionals to retirees. Many seem eager to make personal connections, she said.

“People seem to want relationships here,” she said.

The site appealed to the couple for its serenity, its religious aspects, and its amenities, especially the acres of outdoor space their son can explore as he grows. Their apartment is about a 10-minute drive from Epic Systems Corp., where Phillip Busse, 34, works in technical support services. Christina Busse estimated that nearly a dozen other tenants also work at the electronic medical records giant.

Among the couple’s neighbors are Paul and Kate Stauffacher, the kind of tenants diocesan officials knew would be especially drawn to the property. Retirees in their 70s, they are devout Catholics whose two sons graduated from the former seminary.

The connection for Paul Stauffacher goes even deeper. He taught and coached at the seminary early on, then went on to serve as its principal from 1978-87. His apartment is the seminary’s former weight and equipment room where he spent so much time as a coach.

“This just struck us when we saw it,” Stauffacher said. “There is a certain element of nostalgia, but it goes beyond that. We’re daily Mass attendees, so the chapel is very convenient. We love to get out and exercise on the grounds, and our grandchildren love the gym.”

For some, there’s the added appeal of occasionally bumping into Madison Bishop Robert Morlino, who recently moved into one of the new apartments. He had been living for more than a decade in the rectory at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, three blocks off the Capitol Square.

‘Uncommon’ project

The diocese, which continues to own the property, hired Gorman & Co. to redevelop the site. The company, based just south of Madison, has stayed on as the on-site manager for the apartments.

Gorman & Co. specializes in adaptive reuses of landmark buildings and has had a long association with the diocese. It successfully nominated the former seminary as a historic landmark. The building is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The designation allowed the company to access $5.8 million in historic tax credits — a critical piece of the financing — and also protects the building’s architectural legacy, said CEO Gary Gorman, a lifelong Catholic who grew up in the Madison area and has served as board president of Catholic Charities Madison. The project was “uncommon” and close to his heart, Gorman said.

“It did something really positive for a diocese that I’ve been a member of for 60 years,” he said. “I’m proud of both the physical and financial results, and in particular the fact that a number of people now get to call this beautiful building their home.”

The city has determined that 46.63 percent of the building is now taxable, with the rest remaining tax-exempt due to its religious use, said Scott West, a city commercial property appraiser. The assessed value of the taxable portion is currently set at $3.43 million by the city, but that number reflects only partial completion of the project, West said. The full assessment, out this April, likely will be around $5.1 million, he said.

The diocese’s 2016 tax bill for the site is $77,532. That figure is based on only the partial assessment.

The project’s total costs of $21 million are so much higher than the city assessed value because the total costs reflect work done on the entire site, not just the part turned into apartments, said Ted Matkom, president of the Wisconsin market for Gorman & Co. The project also addressed major maintenance issues on the aging building such as roofing and plumbing, he said.

One-bedroom apartments rent for $955 to $1,285 per month, while two-bedroom units go for $1,369 to $1,970. That’s probably a little less than top-of-the-line luxury units in Madison, but in the middle to upper range, said Rick Mason, property manager.

Bartylla said the project could help other dioceses think creatively about unused or vacant properties.

“I think we’ve shown that you don’t have to sell church property when it’s underutilized,” he said. “There might be an opportunity to continue ownership while finding something that works for both the diocese and the community.”

“It did something really positive for a diocese that I’ve been a member of for 60 years. I’m proud of both the physical and financial results, and in particular the fact that a number of people now get to call this beautiful building their home.” Gary Gorman, CEO of Gorman & Co., which redeveloped the former Bishop O’Connor Catholic Pastoral Center

FREDERICK LOFTS REPRESENTS “TIPPING POINT” FOR CITY

At the dedication of 100-unit market-rate apartment building at the former Pabst Brewery, mayor hopeful for continued growth of downtown housing.

By Michael Horne, Urban Milwaukee, August 13th, 2015

MILWAUKEE - There was a time that when you referred to a city’s “Tipping Point,” you were talking about a catalytic event that led to a community’s decline. Today, the phrase, as applied to the City of Milwaukee, has a different connotation, says Mayor Tom Barrett.

“Milwaukee is at a tipping point,” he told a group of 50 people gathered Wednesday at the dedication of the Frederick Lofts, 840 W. Juneau Ave. “Not a negative tipping point, but a positive tipping point.”

The 100-unit apartment building was developed by Gorman & Company, Inc. at the east end of the former Pabst Brewery.

Prior to the purchase of the long-vacant brewery site by the Zilber Group, “there was no reason to come here,” the mayor said. In fact, the place was so desolate that “even the bad guys wouldn’t come here,” he added.

But today, “what is happening literally before our eyes are young people and the young at heart coming downtown. It’s a national phenomenon,” the mayor said. “Downtown is 3.6% of the landmass and 18% of the tax base” of the city, he said.

As if on cue, the sidewalks outside began to fill with workers from downtown office buildings as they left work, heading to their homes, some in The Brewery neighborhood itself. Gorman & Company developed the adjacent Blue Ribbon Lofts apartment building out of the former Pabst Keg House. In addition, Gorman developed the Brewhouse Inn & Suites one block west. The new development is immediately south of the Brewery Point Apartments, a senior living community.

Ald. Bob Bauman, whose 4th district represents that 18% of the city’s tax base, and is the focus of its tipping point, joked that “groundbreakings and ribbon cuttings are getting routine.”

Ted Matkom, the Wisconsin Market President for Gorman, said the site “was the poster child for blight in Milwaukee.” He recounted the failed attempt to turn the area into an entertainment district that would have required the demolition of many buildings. Such entertainment districts did not survive the great recession, he said. After that effort failed, Joe Zilber declared that the Pabst site “was going to be my legacy.”

Things were tough at first, Matkom said. Some 30 restaurateurs turned down a chance to open what is now Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub at the Brewhouse Inn & Suites, including what he called “all the big players.” Today, Jackson’s, run by Mark Zierath, who was in the audience (and who catered the event) “is killing it!” Matkom said. The Blue Ribbon Lofts, dating to 2008, are “100% occupied,” he said. The 90-room hotel has some of the top rates in the city,” and hopes are high for the Frederick Lofts.

As Bauman noted, the location is a success despite being in sight of the County Jail and a state secure detention facility.

John Kersey, the Zilber Group Vice President said “We would not have imagined market-rate housing when we started this thing.”

Today, market rate at the Frederick Lofts starts at $1,350 for studios and $1,790 for a two bedroom unit.

Three models were on display, and I toured them with Gary Gorman, the president of the firm that developed and owns the property. This is 100% new construction, with high-end features like granite countertops and floor-to-ceiling windows. A live-work unit of 696 square feet has a sliding partition that separates the work unit, accessible from the street, from the live unit. For those eager go-getters who like to bound out of the bedroom and straight into the kitchen for a hearty breakfast, there is no door between the two rooms to slow things down.

Gorman noted the floors of the units, which are uniform throughout, and consist of a wood-grain pattern and texture. The material is described in the sales material as “luxury hard surface plank in natural wood,” but it is a vinyl type product. Gorman says from experience, he has to replace carpets every three years, and this material should be more durable. I would rather it express its inner vinylness rather than masquerade as wood, and I found the texture to be unnecessary.

Among the attendees was Jim Haertel, who owns Best Place across the street. He now has 35 employees. His wife Nancy says their facility is nearly completely booked for 2016, including for the wedding of Urban Milwaukee CEO Jeramey Jannene and Alison Peterson and is now taking reservations for 2017. One of the couple’s favorite weddings of 2015 was that of Ald. Nik Kovac and Grace Fuhr in July, where guests arrived by bicycle. Dan McCarthy, who was instrumental in the development of the project, (and was on the wrong side of the Pabst City plan) was there as was banker Jon Mulcahy. Also in attendance was Joy Smith, a resident of the Blue Ribbon Lofts who writes a neighborhood newsletter.

The building has a nice rooftop deck with a kitchenette, and a number of people were gathered there during the event. The building has a partial green roof of sedum that looks in fine shape for a recent installation. The bioswales outside seem to have done their work during recent heavy downpours, as evidenced by the line of silt seen on some of the plants there.

The final word on the tipping point came from the mayor, who said “my wife wants to move downtown!” Barrett says that may happen soon, once the kids are out of the house.

The Brewery’s 100-Unit Frederick Lofts

By , UrbanMilwaukee.com, May 8th, 2015

Not so many years ago, the Pabst Brewing Complex was a ghost town at all hours of the day. The abandoned brewery, which abruptly closed its doors in 1997, served as a highly visible reminder of Milwaukee’s industrial past, looming over Interstate 43 with unused smokestacks and silos. Then in 2006, Joseph Zilber stepped in to buy the complex, rebranding it “The Brewery” and set out to build an entire neighborhood within it.

Gorman & Company has been an important partner of Zilber Ltd in the creation of The Brewery. The Oregon, Wisconsin-based firm has developed the 90-room Brewhouse Inn & Suites hotel in the former brewhouse building and the 95-unit Blue Ribbon Lofts apartments in the former keg house. With many of the historic structures renovated (or in the process of being so), Gorman has now started developing new buildings in the area.

Gorman’s 100-unit Frederick Lofts apartment building is scheduled to open this summer at the northeast corner of W. Juneau Ave. and N. 9th St. The privately-financed project will feature exclusively market-rate apartments. The project is named after Pabst namesake Captain Frederick Pabst. From 1875 to 1892 Pabst lived in a home on the site. Prior to that (and before mechanical refrigeration) tunnels were installed underneath the site to keep beer cold; construction crews found those tunnels on accident last April.

 

This residential project will take advantage of the recently rebuilt W. Juneau Ave., which was converted from a street designed for beer delivery trucks to a more human-scaled boulevard like Broadway in the Historic Third Ward.

Residents of the project will be able to park in an underground parking facility or in a surface lot behind the L-shaped building.

Frederick Lofts residents might soon find themselves with new neighbors as the new owners of the Milwaukee Bucks are seeking to build their own neighborhood just east of the The Brewery in the Park East corridor.

 

Celebrating continuity and new beginnings with redevelopment project

Celebrating continuity and new beginnings with redevelopment project, Madison Catholic Herald, May 1, 2015

Written by Mary C. Uhler, Catholic Herald Staff

Friday, May. 01, 2015 — 3:28 PM

It’s time to celebrate both continuity and new beginnings, said Bishop Robert C. Morlino as he presided at a Mass and groundbreaking ceremonies for the redevelopment of the Bishop O’Connor Catholic Pastoral Center (BOC) on May 1.

After Holy Name Seminary closed in 1995, the building was renovated as a diocesan center and renamed the Bishop O’Connor Catholic Pastoral Center in 1998. The redevelopment of the BOC will maintain diocesan offices, the center’s chapel, and other historic features while adding a vibrant new residential community. Gorman & Company has been engaged by the Diocese of Madison to serve as the developer of the $21 million project and will provide architectural and design services for the redevelopment.

Appropriately, the Mass and groundbreaking ceremonies were held on the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. “We’re doing quite a bit of work here,” said Bishop Morlino, who noted that construction work at the BOC began about a month ago. “We’re doing quite well in the hopes that we will see the fruits of this work in due time.”

Caring about vocations

Following the Mass, Bishop Morlino unveiled and blessed a recently uncovered diocesan coat of arms on the lobby floor, which dates back to when the building was Holy Name Seminary.  Bishop  Morlino observed that Holy Name Seminary was a sign that the priests and people of the diocese cared about vocations. Unveiling the diocesan crest, he said, “will be a reminder of the wonderful history of the diocese and all the good work of Holy Name Seminary.”

The bishop acknowledged that while times change, “We care every bit as much for vocations today. Through many prayers, we have 33 seminarians and we’re doing well in our fund-raising efforts to support them.”