J. Jeffers & Co.: Construction underway at Verdigris, phase II of historical renovation of former Journal Sentinel block

MILWAUKEE (August 2, 2021) – Developer J. Jeffers & Co. today announced it has closed on financing totaling $35.6 million to support phase two of its renovation of the historic Milwaukee Journal Sentinel buildings between Historic Third, Fourth, State and W. Kilbourn Streets. The second phase of the project, named Verdigris, has just begun construction and will result in 141 market rate apartments that are expected to be completed by Fall 2022. 

“We are excited to instill new life and restored beauty into this iconic, historic building in the very heart of downtown and leading into the city’s thriving sports and entertainment district,” said Josh Jeffers, Founder and CEO of J. Jeffers & Co. “This western portion of the block will evolve into a beautiful, historic residential property with modern amenities, and we are thrilled to have construction underway.”

The property, built in 1924, is adorned with accents reminiscent of copper that has turned to a green patina or verdigris, and is across the street from the Fiserv Forum and Live Block. It will offer high-end amenities, including underground heated parking, a co-working lounge and a rooftop clubroom and deck.

“We are very excited to be at the construction point for this project,” said Jeffers, in reference to the company having executed a multimillion-dollar environmental cleanup of the site where the newspaper’s printing presses were located. J. Jeffers & Co. has also committed the project to energy efficiency and sustainability goals largely achievable through a rooftop solar installation, and is earmarking some student housing units in Phase I to have rents set at 60% of the area median income to ensure it provides inclusive, affordable and high-quality rental housing in this desirable and rapidly developing district.

Phase I of the full-block project is called Westtown Green. That development is located on the east end of the block and will supply affordable student housing beginning this fall primarily for Milwaukee Area Technical College students. A third phase of the project is also planned as renovated space for Tenor Charter School.

Financing for the Verdigris project was provided by Illinois-based Busey Bank as construction lender, Midland States Bank for bridge lending and US Bank as an equity investor. J. Jeffers & Co. also applied for and received federal and state historic preservation tax credits to help cover the cost of rehabilitating the building, which is being renovated in accordance with National Park Service Preservation Standards. The project team includes EUA as architect, Heritage Consulting Group of Madison, Wis., as historical consultant, and CG Schmidt as construction manager.

“I am so proud of the team assembled to work on the renovation of this block. They approach each project with passion and organization which allows us to wrap up Phase I and seamlessly move to Phase II without missing a beat. It’s the impeccable execution by this cross-functional team supporting JJC that is keeping these developments timely, on track, and on budget,” said Jeffers.