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Old April 11th, 2007, 07:13 AM   #1021
EastSider
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Park East Article

The Small Business Times had a great article in March that outlines what's going down in the Park East district.

If you're interested in reading it, here's the link:
Momentum suddenly builds in the Park East
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Old April 11th, 2007, 04:49 PM   #1022
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Originally Posted by ClarkWGriswald View Post
LOL wait until you have your windows open in the summer!
My windows are open year round so I already got the full experience. It felt like there were small tremors on Sunday shaking everything in my apartment. Hopefully it will atleast be quick construction..
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Old April 14th, 2007, 03:55 AM   #1023
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From today's Business Journal:
Quote:
Developers rethinking Park East projects
The Business Journal of Milwaukee - April 13, 2007by Pete Millard
A handful of national real estate developers are re-evaluating their projects in Milwaukee's Park East corridor because of frustration over the city's hard-line stance on refusing to amend or create new tax incremental financing districts for the development area.

Chicago developer Rich Curto is re-examining his plans to build the $78 million Park East Square project on 4 acres north of East Ogden Avenue between North Water and North Milwaukee streets.

Curto, president of RSC & Associates Inc., has other development projects in Grand Rapids, Mich., Naples, Fla., and the Chicago area that he said are demanding his attention and may be more practical to finish first.

"Our challenge is evaluating which projects we can afford right now and which we can't," he said.

The Milwaukee Department of City Development turned down Curto's request for $9 million in tax incremental financing to help him secure funding for the Park East Square project in part because it included a hotel and more than 78,000 square feet of retail and commercial space.

The city's decision to deny Curto's group a TIF was based on several factors, said DCD commissioner Rocky Marcoux. The Park East was not intended for a competing retail district with Wisconsin Avenue or to flood the market with hotel rooms, retail space or offices, Marcoux said.

"It doesn't make sense to create a second downtown in the Park East," he said.

City officials are afraid an abundance of new retail space and hotel rooms in the 64-acre Park East corridor will draw too many shoppers and retailers away from The Shops of Grand Avenue.

Meanwhile, Gatehouse Capital, Dallas, and other national developers who have not yet taken their projects public are viewing the city's handling of RSC as a sign that Milwaukee is not willing to invest in its own redevelopment.

"It's the wrong message to be sending to the national development firms," said Bruce Westling, president of MLG Development, which is working with a national firm to develop a Park East parcel east of the Milwaukee River. The MLG proposal includes a 44,000-square-foot office building and other retail and commercial components.

Ruvin Development Inc., Milwaukee, is working with Gatehouse Capital, Dallas, to develop a $160 million, mixed-use project known as the Sidney Hih development. Ruvin and Gatehouse are also working on a $40 million office development called Riverfront Plaza that will be the new home for the advertising agency Cramer-Krasselt.

Ruvin Development and Gatehouse plan to request tax incremental financing for the Sidney Hih project, which includes a Kimpton Inn hotel, condos, retail and office space. Since the city has turned down RSC's request, which also included a hotel, Rob Ruvin fears his project with Gatehouse will be denied and Gatehouse will back away from the deal.

"Then we have to rethink our development," he said.
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Old April 14th, 2007, 04:11 AM   #1024
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wow...
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purchase prints
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Old April 14th, 2007, 05:52 AM   #1025
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Maybe they should have pitched proposals that they could build without TIF to begin with. Since when is TIF a necessary component to every project?

Don't get everyone all excited about a Kimpton hotel if you can't do it. Give me $20 million and I'll bring a Kimpton to Milwaukee too.

I mean, jesus, I guess Ruvin knows how to work the PR. Get everyone excited, ask for money later.

My next proposal will be a 120-story tower that will be the new HQ of Microsoft. Of course, I can't pay for it, but if you give me five billion dollars, maybe I can.
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Old April 14th, 2007, 06:02 AM   #1026
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I guess the question I have is what are the other cities (Grand Rapids, Naples, Chicago, and etc.) doing in regards to national developers. Are these other cities going ahead with TIFs for the proposed projects or aren't they? And btw, what was the City of Milwaukee expecting to be developed within the Park East corridor, condos and offices only? No retail, no hotels?
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Old April 14th, 2007, 09:58 AM   #1027
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Well honestly I don't see why the city would complain about handing out TIFs. There has been plenty of info shared about how Milwaukee apparently can't lure in office tenants. Hotels, retail, and condos would help support the downtown area - I don't know where the "2nd downtown" idea comes from since I think downtown Milwaukee covers the Park East anyways... And I'll also throw in there that TIFs usually payoff over time and the city should be glad to get such decent proposals.
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Old April 14th, 2007, 04:30 PM   #1028
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It's not about denying all TIFs, it is about denying TIFs for developments that don't fit the plan for the Park East. I agree TIFs are a good thing, but the city has to show some restraint in handing them out.
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Old April 14th, 2007, 06:32 PM   #1029
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewcityfan View Post
Well honestly I don't see why the city would complain about handing out TIFs. There has been plenty of info shared about how Milwaukee apparently can't lure in office tenants. Hotels, retail, and condos would help support the downtown area - I don't know where the "2nd downtown" idea comes from since I think downtown Milwaukee covers the Park East anyways... And I'll also throw in there that TIFs usually payoff over time and the city should be glad to get such decent proposals.
The City has already stated that they will absolutely not TIF any condo or apartment projects downtown. This way, all residential developers know that the City isn't going to subsidize their competition. They are able to do that because the residential market is strong.

The City has shown a willingness to TIF for retail, as shown by a couple of TIFs for Grand Avenue over the years. The City has also shown a willingness to TIF for office if it is bringing a NEW tenant to downtown, such as Manpower.

It makes absolutely no sense to TIF for a speculative office development that will most likely get its tenant from another downtown office building, thus increasing the vacany rate downtown. The City should not use TIF to mess with the downtown marketplace. It is suppossed to be used for blight elimination, enivironmental cleanup, infrastructure, etc. to put downtown on an even playing field. Not because a developer just can't figure his pro forma out or get financing.

Regarding hotels, adding additional hotel rooms does very little for the City unless there is something done to increase the demand for hotel rooms. Bringing a Manpower, expanding the Convention Center...that's what will increase the demand for hotel rooms. And most likely, those hotels could be built without City assistance.

I believe there are 6 hotel proposals in the park east right now. They are all there because of Manpower. One or two of those hotels will get built in the free market because of the demand created by Manpower. There is no need for the City to help one of those projects.

And let's remember, the Park East itself is ALREADY a TIF. The City spent $20 million to provide developers with clear and clean sites...basically greenfield conditions. If they can't build something that works, they are incompetent.
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Old April 14th, 2007, 06:33 PM   #1030
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I think it's high time that the City of Milwaukee Department of City Development's Commissioner Rocky Marcoux go back and reread the DCD's Development Code for the Park East Plan. Specifically Chapter One "General Rules and Definitions" and the first segment titled "Land Uses". The Land Uses rules allow for retail/services and entertainment & accommodations as outlined in detail within the Park East Zoning Use Table (Appendice A). Retail shops and hotels are allowed under the general rules and definitions of the DCD's Park East Plan.

So for the Rocky Marcoux to state that these proposed developments from national developers don't fit the Park East Plan because they want to build mixed use projects that included hotel accommodations and retail, tells me he's full of crap. The more competition downtown the better for the consumers. Somehow, I get the feeling that the Marcus Corporation and the owners of the Shops of Grand Avenue are lining Mr. Marcoux's pockets with some kickback funds.
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Old April 14th, 2007, 06:38 PM   #1031
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oshkosh49 View Post
I think it's high time that the City of Milwaukee Department of City Development's Commissioner Rocky Marcoux go back and reread the DCD's Development Code for the Park East Plan. Specifically Chapter One "General Rules and Definitions" and the first segment titled "Land Uses". The Land Uses rules allow for retail/services and entertainment & accommodations as outlined in detail within the Park East Zoning Use Table (Appendice A). Retail shops and hotels are allowed under the general rules and definitions of the DCD's Park East Plan.

So for the Rocky Marcoux to state that these proposed developments from national developers don't fit the Park East Plan because they want to build mixed use projects that included hotel accommodations and retail, tells me he's full of crap. The more competition downtown the better for the consumers. Somehow, I get the feeling that the Marcus Corporation and the owners of the Shops of Grand Avenue are lining Mr. Marcoux's pockets with some kickback funds.
It is one thing to say that those uses are allowed. It is a completely different thing to say that we are going to give you millions of dollars to build those uses. If they weren't asking for TIF, they would have no problem building whatever they wanted.

And it isn't quite fair competition if one building is able to charge lower rents because the City subsidized their buildings. That will just draw tenants away from other downtown office building looking for lower rent, which doesn't help anyone.
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Old April 14th, 2007, 08:10 PM   #1032
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Well I look at this in the overall effects for downtown. Will extra retail and hotels help this city? While short-term nobody will notice, but in the long-term there is going to be the need for more retail and more hotel space. I think everyone on this board could say the Shops at Grand Avenue isn't exactly an attractive mall and as of right now it's attracting mid-to-lower income stores to the site - I wouldn't exactly say Linens N Things or TJMaxx is the ultimate downtown shopping experience. More retail built outside of this complex might have a better chance of luring more upscale shopping to fit the needs of the residents moving in by the week with the downtown condo boom - that don't want to go to what they probably feel the "seedy" Grand Avenue.

To say that this retail would compete against the Grand is therefore flawed - because anybody knows that (for example) a Bloomingdales doesn't compete with Target for customers. They both have their seperate customer base. Same with the Shops and the newer retail that these developers I hope are trying to attract.

Also with talk of expanding the convention center - and with Manpower (as MilwaukeeD said) and the possibility of RedPrairie moving downtown (still speculation) the need for higher end hotels will increase. The hotels proposed so far in Milwaukee are of a upscale fashion - that would compete directly with Marcus Corp's three upscale hotels (InterContinental, Pfister, and Hilton). No other hotels downtown at this moment do that type of competition like these new ones would. So yes I do find it a bit strange that when different developers want to build a higher-end hotel that now we're getting a pickle to find some city support.

On a final note - the city I feel needed to provide cleanup on the Park East sites, just as much as they needed to provide Ghazi the $1 offer for the parcel across from the Midwest Airlines Center (due to the cleanup need).
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Old April 15th, 2007, 12:25 AM   #1033
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park east

The city already spent 20 Mil on cleanup of the sites and as MilwaukeeD said the sites are preped and ready... Oddly enough the Staybridge on Water didn't need a TIF and they are under construction. And The Ghazi lot is different then all of these as it actually is a brownfield, has sat vacant for a long long time and really can be a catalyitic project.

Think folks the Park East is the most desirable land (just about) in the city, just because these developers came along looking for a handout doesn't mean better projects won't follow. Just because there's a deal on the table doesn't mean its a good deal. Or maybe we hand out TIFs to everyone?
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Old April 15th, 2007, 03:01 AM   #1034
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Well we can go by that policy you mention and just sit on empty parcels of land for many years before a developer comes along that wouldn't want a TIF. You'd think the goal would be for the city to expand its downtown and look for ways to promote the land. And when I think of it - with a TIF the building can be higher. Even alderman D'Amato was a supporter of the city supporting Park East developers.
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Old April 15th, 2007, 03:58 AM   #1035
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Again, why do we want a higher office building if there is no tenant!?!?

Maybe the County shouldn't be approving projects on their land that require the developer to go to the City for money. Or maybe, the County should start off by discounting the land to $1, like the City would do in this situation. Also, the County should be splitting their blocks into smaller parcels...no one seems to be able to pull together a deal for an entire block.
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Old April 15th, 2007, 04:06 AM   #1036
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Hmmm I think you got something there MilwaukeeD! Those big parcels of land as one chunk is kind of ridiculous. I mean you could fit 2 John Hancock Towers on one of those!

But alright, if we can't get an all office building, what about a mixed-use building - with retail, institutional, office, and maybe residential?
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Old April 15th, 2007, 05:45 AM   #1037
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Was wondering if anyone has heard word on the "Terraces at River Bluff"? Whats the status of that project, It looks like a great addition and design.
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Old April 15th, 2007, 11:25 PM   #1038
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thrivent View Post
Was wondering if anyone has heard word on the "Terraces at River Bluff"? Whats the status of that project, It looks like a great addition and design.
The earlier design for Terraces did not accurately reflect the market conditions, so the developers pulled it off the market for a while last year in order to make some adjustments. An article from the Small Business Times last November explained the situation: Barbell effect reshapes downtown condo market. Revisions were made and the developers are once again marketing the project.
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Old April 16th, 2007, 03:41 AM   #1039
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Park Lafayette

Park Lafayette has begun their television ads. One of the views they give made the buildings look much taller then I had previouisly pictured them. Very cool stuff.
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Old April 16th, 2007, 06:48 AM   #1040
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I appreciate the update Markitect, I hope work can move forward. The article states the towers will more than likely hold more units in the revisions which is a positive.
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