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January 16, 2012 – NIAGARA WISCONSIN (For Immediate Release)





Niagara Development is quickly approaching its February 11th one year anniversary as owner of the former NewPage Paper Mill in Niagara Wisconsin and operator of the 1,300 acre property conversion that straddles the Menominee River in both Dickinson and Marinette Counties.

After exhaustive research and on site review from industry experts and business redevelopment teams from around the region, it has become clear that many of the “purpose built” structures on the site were not an advantage to new comers, but as stated by most suitors, a deterrent to utilization and restoration.  “NIAGARA has engaged real estate and construction professionals alike to walk the vacant buildings that were used for the manufacturing of ‘Paper’, ‘Pulp’ and ‘Power’ in order to outline options that fit the areas reuse plan.  Every response focused on the difficulty of conversion to standard industrial use,” says President of NIAGARA Development, Eric J Spirtas.  “Every professional sees the immediate value in the; Shipping, Coating and Warehouse buildings, but highlights a ‘disconnect’ when considering the reuse of the remaining large multi-story industrial buildings.”

Recently a National firm contacted NIAGARA Development, offering to buy all of the structures and associated equipment at the facility to “Demolish and Scrape” the entire site, creating a cleared brownfield parcel.  This proposal did not fit NIAGARA Development’s desire or intent.  Instead NIAGARA Development took this opportunity to strategically plan the retention of the most marketable buildings, while accepting parts of the original proposition, which will result in the removal of the un-usable buildings.  This work will start immediately and will open up the remainder of the site for re-purposing of any type.  “Removing the unsuitable buildings will provide NIAGARA with a unique opportunity to market available space to any type of company and then specifically design buildings and usage patterns that fit the needs of today’s buyer,” says Spirtas.

The company removing the unusable structures will also spend a significant amount of money getting the railroad back in full operation giving NIAGARA Development a distinct advantage in marketing the property to new businesses.  “Bringing in upgraded rail will be a benefit to the mill property’s long-term redevelopment plans providing greater value to the remaining buildings,” says Niagara Mayor, George Bousley.  “Rail will be rebuilt from Kimberly Road to the mill site.”

“The Niagara facility offers some exceptional opportunities in Northeast Wisconsin for manufacturing and warehousing/distribution,” according to Tom Scheuerman, CPA, and managing broker of Grubb & Ellis|Pfefferle in Appleton, WI.  “From our vantage point, the repositioning and reuse of a former manufacturing facility like in Niagara offers great advantages for both companies looking for affordable space with excellent attributes and local communities with outstanding ready work forces.  In order to attract new business into an area, we have seen that facilities like Niagara are critical to that process because they are on-line and ready for occupancy.  This facility offers some exceptional manufacturing space, low-cost power, waste water treatment, expansion capability, rail service and hundreds of acres of land that can be very attractive to new businesses.”

Spirtas continues to show his commitment to the local area by setting up his corporate headquarters known as NIAGARA Worldwide at the Mill.  He will be using the former Clubhouse building as his main offices.  Extensive renovations are underway in that structure right now for occupancy in the next few weeks.  NIAGARA Worldwide specializes in services ranging from; Acquisitions, Consulting, Contracting, Development, Mining, Liquidation, and Trading.  Niagara Worldwide is NIAGARA Development’s first tenant setting up its operation in the notable Clubhouse building.

“The NewPage Niagara Mill redevelopment team named the Upper Menominee River Area Alliance (UMRAA), including New North, Inc., continues to focus on repurposing the mill site,” said Jerry Murphy, Executive Director of New North, Inc., the economic development organization of the 18-county region of Northeast Wisconsin, known as the New North region.   “The Redevelopment team looks forward to continuing to work with NIAGARA Worldwide to market the existing mill site for future use.”

“The current ownership of Niagara is optimizing the site and removing old buildings that are functionally obsolete and a deterrent to future use and development.  This will enhance the site and allow for expansion capability around the structures that are usable for manufacturing and warehousing.  This approach of preparing sites and redevelopment of the facilities offers the greatest opportunity to attract new business.  We have seen this formula work successfully in other communities,” says Scheuerman.


For more information about; NIAGARA Development or NIAGARA Worldwide, contact Eric J Spirtas – 314.780.3742 or by email at or through the company web site –



The first Club House was built in the year 1907 with the formal opening early in 1908.  The original building included a soda fountain, a small ice cream parlor, poolroom, shower and locker rooms, bowling alleys, and the gymnasium, which served alternately as gymnasium and theater.  A second floor housed the library, a dining room and kitchen, and rooms rented by the Masonic Lodge.  The Club House was rebuilt in 1926, with only the gymnasium of the original building remaining.  The bowling alleys were moved to the west side of the building, the ice cream parlor was enlarged as was the soda fountain, and the large lobby was constructed and furnished.  In addition, the second floor at that time had a modern kitchen, dining room: a Women’s Club Room, and lodge Rooms.

The Papermill Workers’Unionmaintains an office there.  The Skating Club used the Club facilities for planning their Annual Ice Review.  The second floor housed the Village Offices, and there was a Village Board Room.  The Post Office was located in the northeast corner of the first floor, and the Girls Scouts maintain a room on the second floor for their meetings.  The Niagara Community Club remained a truly “community” affair, for few activities of theNiagaravillage came into being without the Club playing some part.


1512 Washington – Manitowoc Wisconsin 54220 – NIAGARA Worldwide will work with EJ Spirtas Manitowoc LLC and Manitowoc Development Patners LLC to Re-New this City Block

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What do we do with this “Historic City Block”?

First Thought… Redevelop…?

Second Thought… Wreck…?

Anyone?  Anyone?

Manitowoc /1512WashingtonSt.jpg



Historic Mirro Building
Developed By: EJ Spirtas Manitowoc, LLC
5 Building Complex
7 Story High Rise – 500,000 Sq Ft
6 Story High Rise – 400,000 Sq Ft
3 Story – 250,000 Sq Ft
5 Story Connector – 150,000 Sq Ft
3 Story Connector – 125,000 Sq Ft
6 Acre Property

Historic Downtown Development Opportunity

Take your business to 1512 Washington Street, Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

Building Description

The historic Mirro plant has more than 1,000,000 square feet of space on a 7.49 acre redevelopment site that is located on the edge of Historic Downtown Manitowoc.

Within walking distance of downtown amenities such as the Capitol Civic Centre, the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, Rahr West Art Museum, Manitowoc Riverwalk, Manitowoc Marina, Manitowoc Yacht Club, Mariners Trail, Lake Michigan, Library, Farmers Market, SS Badger Lake Michigan Car Ferry and dozens of shops and restaurants, this is a development opportunity that is immediately available.

Building Information  Utilities
Address: 1512 Washington Manitowoc, WI
Electricity supplier:  MPU
Total sq ft available:  1,408,520
Gas supplier:  WPS
Number of stories: 7
Municipal water:  Yes
Ceiling heights: 8’5″ to 12’7″ 
Water source:  Lake Michigan 
Site size (ac):  7.49
Peak capacity at water plant:  11 mgd 
Topography: Flat
Peak capacity at sewerage plant:  15.5 mgd 
Setting: Downtown    
Zoning: Industrial Telecommunications  
Former Use:  Mirro Fiber
Optics:  Yes
Digital switching:  Yes
Transportation Nearest major highway:  US Hwy 151/10 Incentives  
Distance to nearest highway: Adjacent Development Zone Tax Credits   
Number of lanes: 2 Industrial Revenue Bonds  
Nearest interstate:  I-43 Revolving Loan Fund   
Distance to nearest interstate:  4 miles  TIF  
Number of lanes:  4 Technology Zone Tax Credits   
Nearest commercial airport:  Austin Straubel
Distance to nearest airport:  40 miles     
Rail service:  No    
Nearest port facility:  1 mile

Leasing Rate:  Negotiable
Lease Type:  Negotiable
Sale Price:  Negotiable
Building Contact 
Name: Eric J. Spirtas 
Phone: (314) 432-7733
Community Contact 
Name: Dave Less 
Title: City Planner 
Organization: City of Manitowoc 
Address: 900 Quay St 
City: Manitowoc 
State: WI
ZIP: 54220
Phone: (920) 686-6930
Fax: (920) 686-6939

“You’ll Loose Your Ass at Blackmer Post!” says Manny Tennenbaum (M Tennenbaum Scrap – Circa 1956) – Excerps from “Don’t Wreck the Empire”

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Blackmer & Post

“Arnie, you made a big mistake and I am here to save you.” 

That is what one of the largest St. Louis Demolition / Scrap Contractors of 1956, Manny Tennenbaum of M. Tennenbaum Scrap and Demolition said to Arnold Spirtas as Arnie had just pooled together every last dollar he had ($5,000.00 dollars) to buy the defunct and transitioning ‘Blackmer & Post’ Building located at Southwest and Kingshighway in St. Louis Missouri.

Arnie was offered the deal from Johnny Rouso and Benny Margiato.  These two had the responsibility to clear the site, but had no idea what to do with the enormous boilers and ovens that Blackmer & Post had which had for nearly half a century molded and fired the massive clay sewer pipe it manufactured.

Arnie had a few responsibilities at that time, not all of which were of his own valition or choice; a new wife, a sister to marry off and all the other responsibilities that come to a 21 year old man that has just lost his father.

Arnie had the gut feel that still burns in his belly today when he know a deal looms. 

“If I give Rouso and Margiato $5,000.00 cash for the scrap rights, I am certain I can sell the scrap to the Gimplesons and make quite a profit!”  Arnie thought.

Blackmer & Post 2

That was his theory, those were his figures and that was his gut feel, but when he was approached by Manny Tennenbaum, and Manny told Arnie, “Son, I can save you from your mistake.  Your going to loose your ass on this job.  I will give you the $5,000 dollars that you just spent and an extra $1,000 and you can survive to live another day.” 

Arnie said to himself, “Why is Mr. Tennenbaum so interested in Blackmer?  He is calling me at home, showing up at my job site, he is so thrifty, and such a tough business man, he can only be interested because there is a value there!”

Arnie was right!  Dad put his top men on the job, (His only men)!  Earnest Raybon, Gus Gipson, Shortdog Hamilton, and Earl Lightfoot.  Every so ofter he would bring his trusted hand Jackson (Alias Ellis Stringer – a story on his own) to the site to help when Jackson wasn’t out peddling scrap from Dad’s other projects.

Dad was introduced to the deal by the Gimplesons (“they are a story in there own right“), Sigh, Sam, Monk and Ben.  The Gimpleson brothers (including the fifth brother Joe – an accountant) owned Ajax Iron and Metal on 2747 Papin and they knew Arnie had the ability to get the job done.  Arnie and his “A” crew with their own hands cut out “TONS” of scrap and other materials loading the family truck, a 1947 GMC swayback truck, as well as the borrowed truck form AJAX – The Gimpleson Brothers.


Arnie, using an acytalene torch, cut the boilers up with his own hands.  He often singed his eyebrows, coming home as dirty as one could be having put in two shift of manual hard labor a day.  A little sleep and he was back to do it again the next day.  Quite different from his aspiration to be a shoe salesman at his uncle Nat’s shoe store just two years prior when his dad was alive and he was graduating Washington University.

After a purchase of $5,000.00 and costs of $3,000.00 dollars, Arnie earned $21,000.00 dollars.  Wow was Arnie right or what?  He knew it and stayed with it and made a profit to boot!  That helped him launch his business. 


Arnie sits back to outline the lesson as if one cannot intimate the multiple lessons from the story…

  1. Always believe in yourself
  2. If you run the figures and you understand the ramifications, you are your best investment
  3. Know the crew you put on a job, you don’t necessarily have to trust them, but you absolutely have to watch them (ALL THE TIME) – on another day we will discuss the lunch box story.
  4. Find strong support (like the Gimpleson brothers) they will see you through.
  5. Your adversaries, sometimes seen as “Support” always have ulterior motives.
  6. Watch your own back, nobody else will.
  • What lessons do you learn from the Blackmer & Post Story?
  • Do you have a lesson or similar story in which someone tried to talk you out of, or away from a good deal?
  • Do you always give up on the verge of  success, but see others break through to greatness?
  • Is there a process to cut away from bad deals and stay with good deals, and an ability to determine each?

Give me your feed back.

Let me know if you have a former industrial plant, resulting property and even environmental conditions that trouble you.  We will buy your problem from you.

Contact: EJ Spirtas Group, LLC and more specifically the specialty branch AMAX to tend to your property & asset troubles! 

Eric J. Spirtas
EJ Spirtas Group, LLC
Demolition Expert
Author of “Don’t Wreck the Empire”

Stay tuned… I am writing my book and it is stuffed with these business tips
“Don’t Wreck the Empire” a family business memoir – The Prince Views the Kingdom!

When its too good to be true, It ain’t True! Eric J. Spirtas

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As I entered the enormous industrial facility site, I knew that the prospect of a good deal was slim to none.  The plant was hidden, the buildings looked skinny and the ground at the base of the structures seamed cluttered with apparent environmental impediments to easy, efficient demolition money making demolition.

What to do… even if there is a prospect of a deal, I know the owner is going to be hard pressed to “give away” the dollars that we see as necessary to do the job. 

“What?  You want to pay me how much and you also want me to do the environmental,”
I imagine
the owner will say?!?!?

I had to have the courage to walk on the site, walk through the buildings and make an estimate.  I had to have the confidence to share what I really find!

It didn’t take long to assess the facts:

  1. There are some significant environmental factors and I will not accept anything but full and proper handling of those conditions.
  2. There is not as much steel as expected.
  3. The buildings are not as large as was explained.
  4. There is quite a bit of trash and debris that will cost someone, something to deal with.
  5. This is a LOUSY neighborhood… Did I say Lousy?… I mean Lousy!
  6. Once I figured out; the size, ton-age, hindrance from environmental, and ultimate dollars

It was easy to see that this is a “Walk Away”!

There is so much opportunity, variable projects, abundance of property / asset for sale and the need for expert buyers, consulting, scrap sales, property brokers.  That is what we do!

Let me know if you have a former industrial plant, resulting property and even environmental conditions that trouble you.  We will buy your problem from you.

Contact: EJ Spirtas Group, LLC and more specifically the specialty branch AMAX to tend to your property & asset troubles! 

Eric J. Spirtas
EJ Spirtas Group, LLC
Demolition Expert
Author of “Don’t Wreck the Empire”

Contact EJ Spirtas today to price your demolition, scrap your steel, sell your non-ferrous, assist you with dormant or excess equipment, we will even buy your dormant land.
We simply raise the bar and raise your revenue!
EJ Spirtas Group… Your Global Answer!

Bidding a Church in a Small American Community – By Eric J. Spirtas

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I was hired to bid on a small community church.  This is no “small” order.

Once a doctor was telling me as I was getting my appendix out, “Don’t worry Eric, your safe with me, I remove 8 appendix’s a day… Yeah Doc, but this is my appendix!

Well, this may be your Church, and while it may not be Lambeau Field or Mile High Stadium, there is a process and a program to assist an owner in the efforts of  properly preparing the site for its next responsibility.

“Care, Custody and Control”!

No matter where the demolition, you have the administrative busy work:

  1. Permitting
  2. Utility Terminations
  3. Asbestos
  4. Environmental Items
  5. Communicating with the Police, Fire, DOT, Local Municipality

Then you have the work itself:

  1. Labor
  2. Materials
  3. Equipment
  4. Transportation
  5. Disposal

Specialized equipment and circumstanses even drive the pricing higher.  Salvage or below grade work, the details to every demolition are different. 

Where I think a demolition contractor can shine is in the ability to share ideas with the client.

  • Special ways to minimize fencing costs
  • Salvage tricks that can gain dollars for the client and minimize disposal costs
  • Think GREEN with the disposition of materials (“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!”)
  • Communicate and share your detailed bid… this may trigger ideas in a wise clients mind – promoting savings
  • The job is about the CLIENT, not about the contractor.

I really think that a contractor has reached a level of complacency if they only bid by “Unit Pricing”.  There is a level of creativity that is lost and a level of efficiency that is surrendered if the contractor is not figuring the project “Long Hand” considering all of the issues that may occur and pricing the project accordingly.

For assistance with bidding, pricing, bid presentation, demolition and related construction project management, do not hesitate to contact Eric J. Spirtas.

Eric J. Spirtas
EJ Spirtas Group, LLC
Demolition Expert
Author of “Don’t Wreck the Empire”

Contact EJ Spirtas today to price your demolition, scrap your steel, sell your non-ferrous
We simply raise the bar and raise your revenue!
EJ Spirtas Group… Your Global Answer!

Bidding in Arizona – Damn I love Demolition! Eric J. Spirtas

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Believe it or not, I think I really am an expert at this business.

Last week I prepared a bid for a client that consisted of a very large paper plant “surgical” dismantlement.

This required the pricing of environmental work, mill work / dismantlement, crating for transport, demolition and scrap efforts.  The company will be required to work in between two active machines and use the plant crane for all of the picking. 

In this business it is not about knowing the process of the client only, but moreso it is about knowing your prime business and the details of the specialized business you offer so well that it will not effect; the operation of a plant, beer production, steel melting, oil refining, train yard operation, airline actions or even the surgury in a next door operating room.

What is really incredible about this business is that our basic “skill” of dismantling and wrecking serves as the death notice to some really expensive equipment. The items that we tear apart cost millions to build and install. Then we come with our torches, equipment and manpower and “presto” we tear it apart.

It does take experience, training, practice, forsight and enginuity and before you know it the client can start all over again with an industrially prepared “Blank Slate”!

Death to the old and in with the new!!!

For assistance with bidding, pricing, bid presentation, demolition and related construction project management, do not hesitate to contact Eric J. Spirtas.

Eric J. Spirtas
EJ Spirtas Group, LLC
Demolition Expert
Author of “Don’t Wreck the Empire”

Contact EJ Spirtas today to price your demolition, scrap your steel, sell your non-ferrous
We simply raise the bar and raise your revenue!
EJ Spirtas Group… Your Global Answer!

Alverne Redevelopment is now in the sights of Sam Berger. He is looking to redevelop the “Dormant” St. Louis, MO Downtown Structure

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Sam Berger, Current Owner, of the Alverne Building is looking to take the project to the next step.  Looking to engage tax credits (Federal and State) and Brownfield Funds that will allow the building to transform to the next level of  development.

Mr. Berger is looking for the most competetive contractors that are amply able to provide; demolition, asbestos, lead, bulbs, ballasts, and other remedial steps along with the requisite remediation steps such as window, wall and floor work as is normal in this type of project.

The project will be competitively bid.  Please post on this blog if you are interest, include your complete contact information and company details so that Mr. Berger and his representatives can contact you.

Sam Berger – Cerberus Investments LLC.,  7531 Forsyth Blvd. St. Louis, Mo. 63105 
Tel. 314.721.2100 ext. 50 / Fax. 314.721.6260

EJ Spirtas
Author and Private Consultant
EJ Spirtas Group, LLC


Monday, December 17, 2007

What’s Left to Rehab? (Part II – The Alverne Building) – By Brian

The Alverne Building at 1014-1024 Locust is a 16-story, 160,000 sf structure designed by noted architect Tom Barnett and built in 1923. It originally served as home of the St. Louis City Club and later as the Hotel DeSoto. In its most recent incarnation, it housed apartments for senior citizens operated by the St. Louis Archdiocese. Its first floor space has housed numerous nightclubs over the years, the most notable being The Living Room.

Despite its addition to the National Register of Historic Places (which would qualify its renovation for federal tax credits), the building has sat vacant for some time now. Since 2000, it has been owned by Alverne Associates LLC – Stephen L. Wells of Ladue and Sam Berger of Clayton are listed as members of the ownership group. In 1997, Ken Flynn and Christi Waggener purchased the building with the intent to renovate it into residences, but sadly, that plan never materialized.

The small windows on the building’s north and west elevations most likely negatively affect its conduciveness for use as an office building, but the building would work well as apartments or a hotel. It has two ballrooms, including one on the top floor that features some amazing views of the city. Its ground floor is ideal for retail or a restaurant.

Unfortunately, the Alverne’s original cornices have been removed, but with a full restoration, it could regain its original “wow” factor and would provide a nice complement to the beautifully-renovated Louderman Building to the west.

The Alverne is currently listed for sale by Eric Friedman of The Friedman Group for $3,400,000.