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NEW BERLIN — The group that invested in the Walmart property in the New Berlin City Center has bought the 107,000-square-foot vacant structure back in a sheriff's auction.

The building,15333 W. National Ave., had been in foreclosure. Sale of the property was confirmed July 18, with U.S. Bank representing the original investors in the sale.

The structure was vacated two-years ago when Walmart moved out to open a larger store in March 2015 on Greenfield Avenue, south of Moorland Road.

The auction price was $4.6 million. The building was assessed at $5.5 million.

City officials are ready to help find a new direction for the property, if that is what the owner had in mind. 

"We're already trying to make contact with them," Mayor Dave Ament said of the owners.

City officials just became aware of the sale last week.

"We tried to get the prior owner to move on development," said Alderman Ken Harenda. "If we can contact the new owner, we'd like to help guide or assist them."

If there is a plan, Ament said he is eager to see how well it fits into the market study the city had done for the entire city center. He said he tends to like the idea of splitting up the large store into smaller ones.

"One thing I like is that if you lose one tenant you do not have an empty 100,000-square-foot building," he said.

The Walmart is not for sale, said a spokeswoman for Friedman Integrated Real Estate Solutions, a Michigan-based firm, that is handling leasing and management of the property. Friedman is trying to lease the store space.

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