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MILWAUKEE-Hempel Properties Inc. is under contract to buy two local office buildings from Towne Investments, the commercial property developer/owner subsidiary of Zilber Ltd. Hempel, based in Maple Grove, is looking to buy the 230,825-sf Clark building at 633 W. Wisconsin Ave., and the 117,094-sf Wells building at 324 E. Wisconsin Ave. The properties are reportedly worth about $19 million in total.

Michael Mervis, assistant to Joseph Zilber, tells GlobeSt.com that the sale is still in the preliminary stages. “Neither of the sales are closed, but are under contract,” Mervis says. “The buyer is still in their due diligence stage. We sent out a letter to the tenants that a potential buyer may come in, and one of them called up the media.” A Hempel spokeswoman says she could not comment on the purchase.

The 47-year-old Clark building is about 62% occupied, according to the Towne website, by tenants such as Professional Account Management and Hausmann & McNally. The property has an asking lease rate of $13.50 per sf to $14 per sf. Most of the availability is on the first floor, which also includes retail.

The Wells facility was built in 1901, and renovated in 1993. The building is 67% leased, according to the web site, to tenants such as Dermatology Associates, Advantage Leasing Corp. and Scottrade Inc. The asking rent ranges from $14 to $16 per sf.

Zilber is also the lead developer of the former Pabst Brewery complex on the west side, a reportedly $205-million redevelopment project of the famous company. However, Mervis says that news reports that these two buildings are being sold to help finance that project are completely false. “One has absolutely nothing to do with the other,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “We buy and sell properties all the time, constantly balancing and adjusting our portfolio.”

Including the properties above, the company owns 12 office properties in Milwaukee, such as the 185,000-sf Empire building, and the 110,000-sf Lewis Center. The company is now in the phase one process of construction, remediation and restoration of the Pabst project, which will include residential, office and retail uses of more than 1.3 million sf on more than 20 acres.

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