1547: Wells Building: Wells Building in Milwaukee sold

Oct 04, 2011 | Posted by Eric Bell

Madison-based Ascendant Holdings LLC bought the 15-story Wells Building in downtown Milwaukee from Zilber Property Group and is planning to begin renovation work on the building in the coming months.

The Wells building is on the northwest corner of East Wisconsin Avenue and North Milwaukee Street. Eric Nordeen, Ascendant principal, said the company plans to own the building long-term and will roll out a marketing campaign in about six months to pull in more office tenants. The building is half-vacant, and current tenants include data storage and telecommunications company TSR Solutions Inc., Advantage Leasing Corp. and Webcom Inc.

“We’re optimistic because we really think the building is underperforming in its current location,” Nordeen said.

Terms of the sale, which closed on Sept. 28, were not disclosed in a press release. The 117,000-square-foot building is assessed at $5.6 million.

Ascendant will spend the next 90 days studying the building interior and exterior to come up with construction plans. Exterior improvements will include replacing the building’s green awnings that stretch over the sidewalk on Wisconsin Avenue, he said. Improvements to the common areas of the building will start in a few months, he said. After the capital improvements, Ascendant and Milwaukee-based Inland Cos. Inc., which was hired to lease the building’s office space, will begin a more aggressive push to market the office space, he said.

“We’re back in business,” he said. “We’re ready to do deals. We’re spending money.”

Nordeen said the Wells Building purchase marks the first step of Ascendant’s push to move into the Milwaukee market. Nordeen and principal Matt Prescottfounded Ascendant about two years ago, and since then the company has acquired five properties and developed the Pick 'n Save anchored retail center in West Bend, he said.

“We like Milwaukee, we think there is a shortage of demand in the downtown office in terms of investor buyers,” Nordeen said.

Source: Milwaukee Business Journal