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Old March 28th, 2007, 07:41 PM   #41
brewcityfan
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Originally Posted by Mill Work View Post
If this gets built we can all say about time.
Amen to that! It would be a great addition to downtown west of the river -and it would hopefully spur more high rise development on that side.
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Old October 31st, 2007, 08:23 AM   #42
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Update!




Project could get quick start
31-story complex planned for Wisconsin Ave.
By TOM DAYKIN
[email protected]
Posted: Oct. 30, 2007

A $120 million entertainment, hotel and housing development near downtown Milwaukee's Midwest Airlines Center could be under construction by spring, the project's developer said Tuesday.

The proposed Wisconsin Ave. complex is expected to include restaurants, nightclubs and other entertainment-oriented businesses along with a hotel, condominiums and upscale apartments.

Afshin Ghazi said six restaurants, nightclubs and other entertainment-oriented businesses have made tentative commitments to lease around 150,000 square feet at Catalyst, the 31-story project planned for the 400 block of W. Wisconsin Ave.

"We're very pleased with the preliminary interest we've had from tenants," Ghazi said.

Also, Ghazi said he's negotiating with Atlanta-based Noble Investment Group to operate a hotel, with around 170 rooms, at Catalyst. An executive at Noble, which in September bought the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee, couldn't be reached for comment.

In addition, Catalyst would have around 200 condominiums and upscale apartments, he said. Ghazi called those plans manageable, despite a national slowdown in the housing market.

The Redevelopment Authority has agreed to sell the 2-acre, city-owned site to Ghazi for $1, said Andrea Rowe Richards, spokeswoman for the Department of City Development. That land sale will require Common Council approval, she said. Richards also said department officials are discussing the possibility of providing financial assistance for Catalyst.

Ghazi has agreed to buy an adjacent parking structure, south of the city-owned parking lot, from an investors group led by Wispark LLC, the development subsidiary of Wisconsin Energy Corp. Neither Ghazi nor Barry McNulty, Wispark spokesman, would reveal the purchase price for the 700-space parking structure, which has an assessed value of $2.8 million.

Catalyst would "bring a lot of energy to downtown," said Ghazi, who operates Charlotte, N.C.-based Ghazi Co. He plans to complete the land and parking structure purchases by the end of March. Construction could begin later that spring, Ghazi said.

His firm is building a 53-story, 414-unit condo tower in downtown Charlotte that includes a 175-room Aloft Hotel and more than 320,000 square feet of retail, entertainment and office space. The retail space will open by February, followed by a summer opening of the hotel, Ghazi said. The condos will be completed by mid-2009, he said.

Needs signed leases
To make Catalyst a reality, Ghazi must convert the preliminary commitments from retailers into signed leases. He declined to identify the retailers but said they'll be similar to those found at his downtown Charlotte project, known as EpiCentre, and other Ghazi Co. developments.

EpiCentre's tenants include a Fleming's Prime Steakhouse, Fox Sports Grill, Lucky Strike Lanes upscale bowling center, and a five-screen movie theater, Ghazi said.

Fleming's opened a restaurant at Brookfield Square earlier this year, and a combined upscale bowling center/movie theater will open at Bayshore Town Center, in Glendale, by December. But those types of national restaurant chains and entertainment-oriented retailers have generally avoided downtown Milwaukee.

Still, Ghazi said he can persuade his prospective tenants to lease space at Catalyst. He said the businesses interested in Catalyst are attracted by downtown's growing number of condos and apartments, by its nightlife scene and by the development's location near the convention center, U.S. Cellular Arena and Bradley Center.

New parking structure
The development will include a new parking structure for Catalyst residents and the hotel's guests. The parking structure being purchased from Wispark will be for the night-time restaurant and retail customers, Ghazi said. The structure will continue to be used during the day by employees of Bon-Ton Stores Inc., the corporate parent of Boston Store.

Ghazi's plans for Catalyst were initially disclosed in May 2006. He's the latest in a series of developers to attempt a project at the Wisconsin Ave. site, which has been a parking lot for more than 20 years.

The last attempt came in 2004, when an investors group led by John Hunzinger, president of Hunzinger Construction Co., proposed a 255-room Sheraton hotel. Those plans were dropped in 2005 following delays because of environmental contamination found at the site.

The Redevelopment Authority last year received a $200,000 federal grant to help fund the parcel's environmental cleanup.
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Old October 31st, 2007, 08:25 AM   #43
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Definitely good news. Although I don't want to speak too soon. We'll see what happens when April or May rolls around.
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Old October 31st, 2007, 08:03 PM   #44
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Great news! This will be my most exciting project in Milwaukee if/when construction starts.
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Old November 6th, 2007, 09:24 PM   #45
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now imagine this view w/ the addition of this building.
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Old November 7th, 2007, 03:46 AM   #46
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Something like this:

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Old November 7th, 2007, 02:24 PM   #47
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I was not speaking of the exact same angle captain smarty! But the view down Wisconsin Avenue will look amazing with the extra density!
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Old November 7th, 2007, 08:16 PM   #48
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Holy shit Exit, that was pretty damn funny.
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Old November 7th, 2007, 08:30 PM   #49
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haha, i try
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Old November 7th, 2007, 09:24 PM   #50
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As long as we're imagining:

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Old November 7th, 2007, 09:26 PM   #51
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Hopefully the finished look will be better than a rendering enlarged via Microsoft Paint but we'll see.
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Old November 7th, 2007, 09:33 PM   #52
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Picky, picky, picky
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Old November 7th, 2007, 09:37 PM   #53
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I'm counting 31 stories on the Ghazi proposal...why does it appear to be the same height as the Hyatt?
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Old November 7th, 2007, 10:09 PM   #54
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Gigantic pixelization could be a rather innovative architectural tactic. It would look like a full-size building from like 2 miles away, but up close just a series of squares.
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Old November 8th, 2007, 12:15 AM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeuBrew View Post
Gigantic pixelization could be a rather innovative architectural tactic. It would look like a full-size building from like 2 miles away, but up close just a series of squares.
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Old November 8th, 2007, 03:47 AM   #56
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Afshin Ghazi is scheduled to give a speech at the Small Business Times Real Estate & Development "Back to the City" Conference tomorrow morning at the Italian Community Center.

A friend of mine at City Hall said Ghazi issued a press release that mentions he will be making an announcement about the Milwaukee project. I'm not sure if he will be giving a general status report but I hope it's something more exciting. Either way, I'll pass along whatever I find out. If anyone plans to attend, please let us know what happened.
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Old November 8th, 2007, 06:54 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiddlerontheruf View Post
I'm counting 31 stories on the Ghazi proposal...why does it appear to be the same height as the Hyatt?
You mean the Hilton (next door), don't you?
I mentioned the same thing earlier in this thread...at least it looks about the same height as the Hilton according to the latest rendering. It may ultimately not be much taller since the bottom seven floors are parking levels. Probably also why 100 E. Wisconsin (37 stories) is considerably shorter than US Bank
(42 stories). The bottom eight floors of 100 E. Wisconsin, or so, are parking levels. Otherwise, that building would be a good bit taller. Of course, the grade also drops another couple of stories from where USB is located to Water and Wisconsin, accounting for more of a height difference.
Anyway, that's probably more than you wanted to hear...
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Old November 8th, 2007, 09:35 PM   #58
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Developer Afshin Ghazi announced the first tenant for Catalyst today at the Small Business Times Commercial Real Estate and Development Conference. Bar Management Group (of Charlotte, North Carolina, which is also where Ghazi's development company is from) has a concept for an upscale bowling alley, called Big City Lanes, that will have around 18 lanes and occupy between 20,000 and 25,000 square feet.

Ghazi also hopes to attract 5-7 other entertainment concepts and 4 upscale restaurants to Catalyst, thereby creating a compact entertainment district within close proximity to major draws such as the convention center, hotels, and the Shops of Grand Avenue mall.

More info about what was covered at the conference from the Small Business Times: Ghazi project lands upscale bowling alley tenant
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Old November 8th, 2007, 10:36 PM   #59
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If this bowling alley (and Catalyst) get built, I hope they put it on the street level with plenty of glass, so people walking past could look inside and see people bowling.
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Old November 8th, 2007, 11:14 PM   #60
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Interesting article. I am excited, but I guess I will have to remain cautiously optimistic. This is Milwaukee, we're talking about. I'll be waiting for the local business/restaurant owners to protest this out of the city lol. The last part of the article on transit is interesting. Too bad a good majority of our leaders lack the foresight to see the longterm benefits of a real transit system.
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