By Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Tom can be emailed at email@example.com.
A historic downtown Milwaukee office building will be converted into around 70 apartments and will be renamed to take advantage of its location along the city’s new streetcar line.
Now known as the Underwriters Exchange Building, it will be renamed Street Car Flats, said developer Paul Dincin.
His firm, Chicago-based Catapult Real Estate Solutions LLC, plans to begin renovations in February.
The project will convert the nine-story underused office building, 828 N. Broadway, into 73 apartments, Dincin told the Journal Sentinel.
The building is already zoned for high-density residential use, so the project doesn’t need to undergo Plan Commission and Common Council review.
The apartments would likely open by spring 2020.
The building was purchased by two Catapult Realty affiliates, 850 W. Jackson LLC and Catapult 828 Broadway LLC, in April for $1.25 million.
Its location on the new streetcar route is “a positive factor” for the building, said Dincin.
The streetcar, known as The Hop, has its grand opening on Nov. 2.
It runs through downtown and the Historic Third Ward between the Milwaukee Intermodal Station, 433 W. St. Paul Ave., and Burns Commons, at East Ogden and North Prospect avenues.
Property values along the streetcar route, which includes part of North Broadway, have increased nearly 28 percent since the project was approved, Mayor Tom Barrett announced this month.
That compares with a citywide increase in values of 13.4 percent in the same period, according to data from the city assessor’s office.
Like other developers, Dincin supports The Hop, saying it’s a good investment for “the future direction of the downtown.”
The future Street Car Flats building was constructed in 1923 and was designed in the 20th Century Commercial style, according to the Wisconsin Historical Society.
Catapult’s remodeling plans include restoring the building’s original terrazzo floors, as well as the lobby’s original molding that’s been uncovered, Dincin said.
Street Car Flats will feature co-working space on the first floor, he said, allowing people to live and work in the same building.
Other amenities will include a game room, lounge, party room, theater, storage lockers and bike storage with a repair rack, he said.
The top floor apartments will have views of Lake Michigan, Dincin said.
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