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Staybridge Suites Project in Downtown Milwaukee Drops Condos: Delays and Design
 Changes Push Project Costs to $43 million from Original $38 million

By Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal SentinelMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

January 27, 2009 - The 14-story Staybridge Suites hotel and condominium project in downtown Milwaukee has dropped its condos and instead will develop the top four floors into apartments, additional hotel suites and a hotel conference room, a project partner said Monday.

A slowdown in condo sales brought the changes, said John Economou, of Economou Partners, in Park Ridge, Ill. He said 11 of the planned 31 condos had prospective buyers who provided deposits. But buyers were having trouble getting loans to complete their purchases because of the deteriorating condo market, Economou said.

So, floors 11, 12 and 13 instead will feature 27 luxury apartments, along with six hotel suites and a hotel conference room on the top floor, Economou said. The conference space, including an outdoor deck, and additional suites will help the 126-room Staybridge attract more corporate clients, he said.

Most of the construction work has been suspended while Economou seeks city approval for the design changes and secures $2.5 million in additional financing for the project, he said. Economou hopes to resume work on the upper floors by mid-February.

Staybridge Suites, which was advertising an April opening, now is to open by June, Economou said. The project's budget is at $43 million, up from an original figure of $38 million, as a result of delays and design changes, he said.

The building, at N. Water St. and E. Juneau Ave., also has 14,000 square feet of street-level retail space. About one-third is leased for a Qdoba restaurant that recently opened.

The project was originally proposed by Development Opportunity Corp., of Fort Myers, Fla., and Economou was later added as the general partner. It is being built without city financial assistance.


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