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Real Estate Weekly

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Potawatomi casino hotel will tower over Menomonee Valley

Forest County Potawatomi tribal leaders and Potawatomi Bingo Casino executives say casino patrons frequently ask when the casino is going to add a hotel.

“That’s the number one question we get (from patrons),’ said Mike Goodrich, the casino’s general manager. “The casino guests have been asking for it. They come in and say, ‘Where’s the hotel?’ And we say, ‘We don’t have one.’”

Potawatomi Bingo Casino is the largest tribal casino in the U.S. without a hotel, Goodrich said. ButiIn a few years, that will change.

On Tuesday the tribe and casino announced plans to build a 20-story, 382-room “four-star” hotel next to the casino, located in the Menomonee Valley in Milwaukee. The hotel will also have a full-service casual restaurant, a full-service spa, a sky lounge, bar and deck and additional parking.

BizTimes Milwaukee first reported in September that the tribe was working on plans for a hotel development next to the casino.

With 382 rooms the hotel will be a major addition to the city’s hotel lineup. In size it will be between the 481-room Hyatt Regency hotel downtown and the 307-room Pfister Hotel downtown.

The building will tower over the rest of the low-rise Menomonee Valley. At 20 stories tall the hotel’s height will be similar to the 21-story Pfister Hotel tower.

The hotel will be built on a vacant lot southwest of West Canal Street and 16th Street. The site was previously occupied by Badger Railing before it moved to a new building near Miller Park. The former Badger Railing building has been demolished and the site is vacant.

The hotel will be independently owned and operated by the tribe and will not be affiliated with a hotel chain flag.

The cost for the project is about $150 million. James A. Crawford Jr., vice chairman for the tribe, said some of the project’s cost will be financed. Details of the financing for the project have not been finalized. However, the tribe is confident it will line up financing in time to begin construction in late spring or early summer. It will take about two years to build the hotel.

The tribe also recently submitted plans with the city to begin the approval process for the project.

Greenfire Management Services, the construction management firm of Potawatomi Busienss Development Corp. (the tribe’s economic diversification arm) will serve as the hotel development’s project manager. Minneapolis-based Cunningham Group is the architect for the project.

The Potawatomi hotel will join three other new hotels that are under construction in downtown Milwaukee. Jackson Street Management LLC will build a 200-room Marriott hotel southwest of Wisconsin Avenue and Milwaukee Street. Rosemont, Ill.-based First Hospitality Group Inc. is converting the 125-year-old Loyalty Building at 611 N. Broadway into a 128-room Hilton Garden Inn hotel. Oregon, Wis.-based Gorman & Company is converting the adjoining Brew House and Mill House buildings at the former Pabst brewery complex into a 90-room boutique hotel.

Potawatomi officials say that “independent economic analysts” have indicated that 90 percent of the guests that stay at the casino hotel will be new overnight stays in the city of Milwaukee, and will not come at the expense of existing hotels in the city. The hotel will be targeted to leisure travelers who are casino patrons, not business travelers or convention attendees, Goodrich said.

“It will primarily be an amenity for our existing (casino) guests,” he said. “(The hotel will be) an amenity for the casino.”

The tribe says the casino attracts 6 million visitors a year and is the top visitor’s destination in the state. The facility opened in 1991 and was expanded in 2000 and 2008. The casino now has 780,000 square feet of space.

The hotel project will create 230 permanent jobs. Currently 2,500 people work at the casino, tribal officials said. About 1,000 construction jobs will be created to build the hotel, they said.

The tribe said the hotel will generate $10 million in additional revenue annually for the city, county, Visit Milwaukee and the state in property, sales, exposition and income taxes.

Government leaders hailed the project and the charitable contributions the tribe has made in the community.

“This (hotel) will just add another reason for visitors to come to our community,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

“All (the hotel) is going to do is allow (the tribe) to bring a lot more people into the economy, create more jobs, and give more back,” said Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele.

“This project will be a major asset to this community and will bring great value to the city,” said Common Council President Willie Hines.

AECOM to consolidate Milwaukee offices at Schlitz Park

Los Angeles-based AECOM Technology Corp. plans to consolidate its Milwaukee operations, moving from offices at 1020 N. Broadway, downtown, and 11425 W. Lake Park Dr., on the far northwest side, to a 21,000-square-foot space in the Schlitz Park complex, just north of downtown.
The space will be located on the second floor of the RiverCenter building at Schlitz Park. The lease signing by AECOM brings the 460,000-square-foot, three-story building’s occupancy rate to just over 90 percent.

Jim Cavanaugh of RFP Commercial represented Schlitz Park and William Bonifas of CBRE represented AECOM in brokering the lease.
AECOM will move 90 employees to Schlitz Park on July 1. The company currently has 45 employees downtown and 45 employees on the far northwest side, said AECOM vice president Paul Tarvin.

AECOM is a provider of professional technical and management support services for government and commercial clients. The company acquired STS Consultants Ltd. in 2007, which had the Lake Park Drive office, and Earth Tech Inc., which had the Broadway office downtown, in 2008. The leases for those offices spaces are expiring, so it was a good time to consolidate them, Tarvin said.

“We thought it was a good opportunity to bring the whole (Milwaukee) operation together,” he said. “We thought it was important to be downtown.”

The company has several customers downtown, including the city of Milwaukee, Tarvin said.

AECOM is the third new tenant Schlitz Park has attracted since developers of the complex last year announced plans for a $30 million renovation of the complex. The other two tenants are the Defense Contract Management Agency (part of the U.S. Defense Department), which leased 10,000 square feet of space in the complex’s Keg House building, Admission Possible, a nonprofit organization, which leased 4,000 square feet of space in the RiverCenter Building.

Schlitz Park recently began remodeling 350,000 square feet of office space and will add several amenities including a new fitness center and conference areas in the RiverCenter building.

“The office park’s renovation plans were particularly appealing,” Tarvin said.

“This is exactly the type of talent and company that the renovated Schlitz Park is designed to attract and retain in downtown Milwaukee,” said Gary Grunau, Schlitz Park co-owner and developer.

Food distributor to add 60 jobs in Waukesha

Bartlett, Ill.-based Greco and Sons, an Italian food distribution company, plans to move its Milwaukee operation from 111 W. Maple St., in the city’s Walker’s Point neighborhood, to a 49,500-square-foot building at 1100 Marlin Ct., Waukesha.

Greco and Sons recently purchased the Waukesha building from the Donald J. Hindman Trust. James Young of Cassidy Turley Barry represented the Donald J. Hindman Trust and Barry Chavin of NAI MLG Commercial represented Greco and Sons in brokering the sale.

The Waukesha building is about twice the size of the company’s Milwaukee facility, according to Greco and Sons president Eddie Greco.

Greco and Sons currently has 60 employees at the Milwaukee facility, and plans to double its local employment adding an additional 60 employees when the operation is moved to Waukesha in August, Greco said.

“We’ve had increased business in the marketplace,” Greco said. “(The Milwaukee area) is a good market.”

The Waukesha building is currently occupied by North American Corp., a Glenview, Ill.-based distributor of janitorial supplies and paper products, which plans to relocate to a larger facility, Young said.

“We’re told they are looking for a larger site, upwards of 100,000 square feet, in the Kenosha area,” Young said. “There’s going to be a deal sometime in the next three months. They’ve toured a couple of buildings from what I know. Somebody’s going to get a nice deal in that market.”

North American Corp. has about a dozen employees in Waukesha and has not determined if it will be adding any more at the new location, the facilities manager for the company said.

Ogden & Company expands into Madison market

Milwaukee-based Ogden & Company Inc. announced it has expanded into the Madison real estate market.

Daryl Larson will lead the new office, serving as regional property manager. Larson has more than 12 years of real estate experience in the Madison area.

“Madison is home to more than 400 condominium associations. Ogden & Company Inc. has the ability to serve clients with traditional full service real estate solutions and also with the flexibility to adapt to any owner’s needs” Larson said.

The company’s initial focus in the Madison area will be on residential and commercial real estate management.

“The state Capitol and the surrounding areas have so much to offer. We are excited to have the opportunity to serve the Madison real estate community” said Peter Ogden, president of the company.

$45 million senior living campus planned in Caledonia

Siena Partners Inc. want to start building a $45 million senior living campus in Caledonia in July. The construction project, which is the largest in the village’s history, is a partnership between the Racine Dominicans and Lincoln Lutheran. The two have joined forces to create Siena Partners, Inc. Once completed, the independent living apartments, assisted living apartments, skilled nursing and memory care facilities will be owned and overseen by Siena Partners, Inc. with Lincoln Lutheran as managers. Lincoln Lutheran will still run its existing facilities, and the Sisters will maintain their other ministries (Eco-Justice Center, HOPES Center, etc.) independently.

The initial phase of the development would include demolishing 100,000 square feet of the current building, which housed the Racine Dominican Sisters, and re-constructing a $10 million building with 90,000 square feet of space. The second phase would include building independent senior apartments, assisted living apartments and a skilled nursing facility.

Read more in Caledonia Patch, a media partner of BizTimes Milwaukee.

Network of small businesses building in Shoppes of Port

A former furniture store in downtown Port Washington offers low rent rates as well as collaboration to help small businesses be successful. Read more in Port Washington-Saukville Patch, a media partner of BizTimes Milwaukee.


Gerald Nell Inc.

  • KB Marketing Inc. leased 7,080 square feet of industrial space at 3225 Gateway Road, Suite 650, Brookfield, from Sunset Investment Co.

RFP Commercial

  • ITT Educational Services leased 20,110 square feet of office space at W177 N9856 Rivercrest Dr., Germantown, from Fountain Square LLC. 
  • Primerica leased 638 SF of office space at W178 N9912 Rivercrest Dr., Germantown, from Fountain Square LLC.



  • Guy & O'Neil Inc. recently purchased a 192,250-square-foot industrial building on a 11-acre site at 200 Industrial Dr., Fredonia, from Kenro Inc. for $1 million. Guy & O'Neil was already the building's tenant.

New construction

Brookfield-based Briohn Building Corp. was contracted to design and build a 24,000-square-foot medical clinic for Aurora Health Care at S68 W15500 Janesville Road, Muskego. Briohn recently completed design and construction work for a 4,420-square-foot retail space for Danny Vegh's, a billiard and recreational games store, at Bayshore Town Center in Glendale and a 2,100-square-foot medical office for Prairie Orthodontics at 5024 Green Bay Road, Kenosha.

Real estate people

Matt Hunter recently joined Milwaukee-based Inland Companies as a partner. “Matt’s focus is to build on the momentum Inland has in the marketplace, and more specifically to expand our tenant representation portfolio,” the company said.

Real estate odds and ends

The Milwaukee County Veterns Service Office recently moved from the Zablocki VA Medical Center in West Milwaukee to 6419 W. Greenfield Ave., West Allis. The office had to move because the space at Zablocki VA Medical Center was needed for medical use. The facility is experiencing a "severe shortage" of available space for medical services, according to the county.

Real estate events

Wisconsin Commercial Real Estate Women (WCREW) will host a Real Estate Professionals Networking luncheon featuring Vicki Holden, motivational speaker, on Tuesday, January 24, 2012 from 11:30 to 1:00 p.m.  The event will be held in the Milwaukee Room at the Wisconsin Club located at 900 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI. Cost is $30 for members of WCREW and $45 for non-members.  A lunch buffet will be served.  Pre-registration is required. Contact Heather Westgor for more information at 414-755-3354 or visit WCREW’s website at

NAIOP WI Annual Meeting and Awards Night featuring NAIOP Chairman Bill Hunt on Jan. 26, from 5-7 pm at The Wisconsin Club, 900 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee. Cost is free to NAIOP Members and $45 for nonmembers. Registration is required at

NAIOP Developing Leaders Lunch with a Leader featuring Fran Brzezinski of Interstate Partners. Thursday, Feb. 14, from 12 noon-1:30 pm at The Wisconsin Club, 900 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee. Members only cost of $25. Registration is required at

WCREW Real Estate Professionals Networking Event, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Mader’s restaurant, 1041 N. Old World Third St., Milwaukee. For more information call Heather Nelson at (262) 754-5569 or visit

NAIOP Developing Leader Wits and Wagers, Feb. 23, 2012 at Karma, 600 E. Ogden St. from 5-6:30 pm. Registration is required at

Commercial Real Estate and Realtor Government Day, Feb. 29, from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. at Monona Terrace in Madison. Members of BOMA, CARW, IREM, ICSC, SIOR, CCIM, NAIOP and WCREW will meet with legislators to discuss issues important to the commercial real estate industry.  Registration is required at

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 or call him at (414) 277-8181, ext. 120.


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