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Mandel charts 250 apartments, two buildings for North End's final phase

2/16/2014 - Mandel Group Inc. is planning two buildings with a combined 250 apartments in the final phases of its North End development in the Park East, with the first starting construction later this year.

Also this week, the Hitters baseball club in Racine County plans an August opening for a large indoor baseball center near Interstate 94.

The last phase of Mandel’s North End development would bring two, six-story buildings, one standing on each side of North Water Street in the Park East, said Phillip Aiello, Mandel senior development manager. They would cap off Mandel’s multi-year redevelopment of a tannery into a combined 650 apartments.

The three buildings in the last two phases will be built in tandem, with two slated to come online late next year, Aiello said. They would have 418 apartments combined.

“We think the demand for apartments is going to be very strong for a long period of time,” Aiello said. “There’s going to be overlap both from a construction standpoint and from a lease-up standpoint.”

Construction is to start in June on the North End’s $50 million third phase, which includes one building with a specialty grocer and 168 market-rate apartments. That is expected to open in fall 2015 northwest of East Pleasant and North Water streets.

The fourth and last phase of the project will cost roughly $60 million to develop, Aiello said. The first building will have 160 apartments replacing vacant land north of Water Street, between the North End’s first apartment building and the former Laacke & Joys building, he said.

If the third phase starts in June, work on that apartment will likely begin early in the fourth quarter of this year, at the latest, Aiello said.

The final apartment building, with 90 units, would replace a parking lot south of Water Street at the corner with North Milwaukee Street, Aiello said. Construction timing for that building is not locked down, but would trail the schedule of the other building in phase 4, he said.

Both buildings in the fourth phase would have similar designs. They would stand six stories tall, with interior parking. At the sidewalk level, staircases would lead up to stoops with entrances to studio apartments, Aiello said. The larger apartment north of Water Street would have a lobby and commons area on half of its first floor looking onto the sidewalk, Aiello said.

Neither will have retail space.

“If you look at the ground floors throughout the downtown Milwaukee area, you see a lot of vacant space and we don’t want to add more speculative space to the market,” Aiello said.

Ray Hintz Inc., Caledonia, is the general contractor on both phase 3 and 4, Aiello said. Mandel plans to save money on construction by using the same general and subcontractors and building both phases in tandem, he said.
Hitters home

A 35,000-square-foot indoor baseball training center will open in August near Interstate 94 in Racine County.

Milwaukee developer Randy Roth is building the center with R.J. Fergus, owner of the Rawlings Hitters National Baseball Club organization currently based in Caledonia. Earth-moving is underway for the facility on part of a former golf range south of 6 1/2 Mile Road in Raymond. Racine County developer Jon Hendersen is developing that 37-acre property into a business park.

Roth said he got involved in the $2.3 million project because his son plays on one of the Hitters clubs.

The Hitters runs training and clubs for players ages 10 to 18, and prepares them for college-level ball, Fergus said.

The new facility will have 30-foot-high ceilings over an indoor turf infield where games can be played, Fergus said. One segment of the building will have a mezzanine, with 16 batting cages on the first and second floors, he said. Players and teams outside of the Hitters organization can rent the facility by the hour, he said.

The Hitters four years ago began looking for a new center after outgrowing a 14,000-square-foot space it leases in Caledonia, he said.

“This has been a four-year process,” he said, adding that a Caledonia expansion or other existing buildings didn’t work because of location or cost.

-Sean Ryan, Reporter- Milwaukee Business Journal

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