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Hilco Real Estate Announces Court-Directed Sale of Largest Contigious Downtown Milwaukee Development Parcel

Feb 9, 2017, 12:20 PM by Amelia Thorne


Bid Deadline Scheduled For March 21 

NORTHBROOK, lL (February 2017) – Hilco Real Estate, LLC announces the upcoming bankruptcy sale of the 46-acre former Solvay Coke property in Milwaukee, WI. The parcel occupies a preeminent position along the Kinnickinnic River, with direct access to the Lincoln Memorial Harbor and minutes south of downtown Milwaukee. The property’s size, water frontage, and location relative to downtown Milwaukee has made this site a target for redevelopment by area developers, as well as the City.

The Solvay Coke site has been in industrial use since the 1870s. A manufactured coke and gas facility was operated on the property by various entities until it closed around 1983. Wisconsin Wrecking operated a scrap and salvage operation on the site until 2003, when the site was decommissioned and the majority of the buildings were razed in preparation for future development.

The site is less than a half mile east of Interstate 94, which connects Milwaukee and Chicago, and blocks away from train and bus stations. On the east side of the property, along the Kinnickinnic River, is a boat slip capable of docking a 100 foot vessel. Just north of the property and across Greenfield Avenue is the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) School of Freshwater Sciences and the UWM Great Lakes Water Institute. Additionally, a new non-profit, Harbor District, Inc. (HDI), has been leading the charge to redevelop this area. In January 2017, HDI sponsored a design competition in which it invited architectural firms to create renderings of proposed redevelopment scenarios for the Inner Harbor area. A winning design was selected and construction for the first phase is slated to begin in the summer of 2017, with fundraising and construction for the second phase to follow. HDI continues to focus its development efforts at the Harbor View and Jones’ Island area, which will benefit the former Solvay Coke site for years to come.


As part of the bankruptcy sale, a qualifying bid deadline has been set for March 21, 2017.  Wisconsin Gas LLC has been approved as the “stalking horse” bidder, having submitted a qualified bid of $4,000,000.  In accordance with the Bid Procedures, all interested parties must submit their written offers of at least $4,200,000 to Hilco by 5:00 pm (CT) on March 21 to be eligible for consideration.  Qualified parties will then be invited to participate in a live auction on April 3, 2017. 

Commenting on the upcoming sale, Joel Schneider, Senior Vice President of Hilco Real Estate, said, “The sale represents a rare chance for the opportunistic buyer with vision to acquire one of the most pivotal development sites in Milwaukee, perhaps in the state of Wisconsin.  This site could essentially be the keystone for any future development of Milwaukee’s harbor area, especially given its proximity to the Interstate and public transportation. With over 2,000 feet of frontage along the Kinnickinnic River, this site is the largest contiguous riverfront development parcel in downtown Milwaukee. This is truly an unmatched urban development opportunity.” 

In recent years, downtown Milwaukee has experienced significant development.  Approximately $2.6 billion is currently under construction or proposed to start soon in downtown Milwaukee. The slated projects include a variety of asset types that help to create a balanced mix of uses and strong economic foundation for the City to grow. These new developments include the Northwestern Mutual Headquarters, the $524 million Milwaukee Bucks arena, a 44-story residential tower called the Couture, and the Shops of Grand Avenue.

Mr. Schneider continued, “There is currently a substantial amount of development taking place in downtown Milwaukee. The Solvay Coke parcel will be key to the City’s future development plans going forward.” 

For more information about the bidding process, please visit www.HilcoRealEstate.com or contact a member of our transactional team at 855-755-2300.


About Hilco Real Estate, LLC:  Hilco Real Estate, LLC (“HRE”), a Hilco Global company, is headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois (USA).  HRE is a national provider of strategic real estate disposition services.  Acting as an agent or principal, HRE uses its experience to advise and execute strategies to assist clients in deriving the maximum value from their real estate assets.  By leveraging multi-faceted sales strategies and techniques, extensive repositioning and restructuring experience, a vast and motivated network of buyers and sellers, and substantial access to capital, HRE consistently exceeds expectations.

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