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May 12, 2005, 7:04 PM
So I was looking at the threads in the P&C section where the first post is a huge listing with photos of all the major projects going on in a the title city, and I was thinking that we should try to organize something like that so that people don't have to dig through hundreds of posts to see what's going on in Milwaukee. I went through and pulled all of the images of projects that I could find that are proposed and/or (I believe to still be) under construction. Anything major that I'm leaving out? I know that there still aren't pics for the Harley Museum, and I have a feeling that I don't have all of the major condo developments. Time to collaborate, folks.


The Harborfront

Ovation Plaza

100 Seeboth

Pier Wisconsin

3rd Ward Farmers' Market

Teweles Condo Conversion

Pabst City

Wisconsin Indian Cultural Center

First Place on the River

Wisconsin Tower Condo Conversion

Marine Terminal Lofts

The Sterling

Park East Redevelopment

Kennilworth Building

CityGreen Condos

Prospect Medical Commons

Unnamed Park East Building

Crazy Ivan
May 13, 2005, 11:43 AM
Oh, My, Gawd! I was just thinking of the same thing ... but hadn't gone so far as to actually collect the pics. Good job man! Thats awesome!

May 13, 2005, 5:25 PM
Dude, I just finished my semester yesterday, so I'm going to have lots of free time over the next week. And, if it would fucking clear up a bit, I'll be taking lots of pictures.

Crazy Ivan
May 14, 2005, 1:28 AM

Triangular Building Slated For Jefferson & Water

POSTED: 5:38 pm CDT May 13, 2005

MILWAUKEE -- The future of Milwaukee's Park East corridor is taking shape.

The Department of City Development is recommending a plan to build a five-story building at Water and Jefferson streets.

The triangular building would contain both residential and business space.

It was chosen from six development proposals.

The city's Redevelopment Authority takes up the recommendation next week.

May 14, 2005, 3:28 PM
Holy crap. That looks like it could actually be really cool.

May 15, 2005, 2:02 AM

From a larger article over at the J-S:


May 15, 2005, 5:39 AM
Cool, i didnt realize there was a rendering for this. Looks good.

May 18, 2005, 3:47 AM
Regarding the ongoing PabstCity historic preservation debate, Aldernam Bauman has proposed a compromise that would allow developers to demolish 12 of the 14 buildings they are planning to demolish. His compromise would save the old malt house and a fprmer church that was converted into a tasting room and training center for the brewery--those seem to be the most heavily contested buildings and have been identified as having the most architectural value of those currently on the demolition list.

PabstCity developers countered the compromise, saying they still would not be able to afford preserving those two buildings under their plans. Even saving just the facade of the malt house would cost $10 million, which would not include the cost of erecting a new building behind the preserved facade.

The Common Council's Zoning and Neighborhood Development Committee is expected to vote on the preservation matter in June. Also still to be determined is the issue of the $41 million worth of tax incremental financing from the City to help pay for redevelopment efforts. These issues must work their way through various committees before the full Common Council makes a final decision.

More in the Journal Sentinel: Compromise proposed for PabstCity - Alderman's plan would allow destruction of 12 buildings; seeks to save church, malt house (http://www.jsonline.com/bym/news/may05/326843.asp)

^ The old Pabst malt house, built in 1882. It is the largest 19th century brewery building surviving in Milwaukee today.

^ The First German Methodist Church was built in 1872. It was later converted into the Pabst employee training center and a tasting room.

May 19, 2005, 5:11 PM
It is now official--the House of Blues has signed a lease to become the first anchor tenant for PabstCity. Not only that, but HOB also revealed it would be leasing 47,000 square feet, instead of the 32,000 as originally planned. HOB also announced the PabstCity venue would include their prestigious private membership Foundation Room, that features special benefits and amenities.

Details in the press release from Wispark: House of Blues® Confirms PabstCity (http://www.corporate-ir.net/ireye/ir_site.zhtml?ticker=wec&script=410&layout=-6&item_id=711836)

At this point, other prospective tenants--a 16-screen cineplex from Jenco Cinemas, and a Sega Gameworks--have only signed letters stating they intend to lease space at PabstCity, but they are not actual leases. Those are presumably still being negotiated.

May 20, 2005, 5:24 PM
Yesterday, the City's Redevelopment Authority approved a proposed $41 million tax increment financing plan for PabstCity. The Zoning and Neighborhood Development Committee will vote on the matter at its June 7th meeting. The TIF package already has support from Mayor Barrett, but will need final approval from the full Common Council. PabstCity developers must secure the necessary private financing before any City money is provided.

More in the Journal Sentinel: City officials back Pabst project aid - Redevelopment board supports $41 million package (http://www.jsonline.com/bym/news/may05/327454.asp)


Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops will begin a new chapter in the Bay View neighborhood, when the firm opens a new store there this coming July. The store will be located near S. Kinnickinnic and E. Lincoln Avenues, sharing a building with Q--a new barbeque restaurant that opened last year. The Bay View bookstore, however, will be much smaller than its counterparts, because it will not include a cafe and event gathering spaces. The owners say events like author appearances and book-signings would be held at other locations in the neighborhood.

The local bookstore chain has been in business since 1927, and has managed to survive with growing comeptition in the metro area from national bookstores like Borders and Barnes & Noble.

From the Journal Sentinel: Bay View to get bookshop - New store to be smallest for Harry W. Schwartz (http://www.jsonline.com/bym/news/may05/327412.asp)

Crazy Ivan
May 21, 2005, 3:27 AM

$70 Million City Hall Restoration Project Approved
POSTED: 7:45 pm CDT May 20, 2005

MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Common Council approved a $70 million city hall restoration project.

The renovation will be the most expensive building-related project in the city's history and includes partial replacement of the roof, fixing exterior walls to guard against water damage and other structural work.

The renovation should begin later this year.

City officials considered rejecting the proposal because of the cost, but later said that other options would compromise public safety.

May 23, 2005, 5:18 AM
Once again, developers, politicans, and promoters are kicking around the idea of building an outdoor soccer stadium downtown. Milwaukee real estate developer Marty Greenberg--who also happens to be a leading expert on sports law and sports facility financing/construction--envisions a 22,000-seat soccer stadium in the Park East corridor for a Major League Soccer franchise. A separate group of investors also recently formed a company to negotiate with MLS about expanding the league with a team for Milwaukee. MLS is open to disussing the possibility once again, as it was during a previous attempt to bring a soccer stadium and team to Milwaukee a few years ago.

As to be expected, there is some concern about how a stadium should be built and where it should be located. The current redevelopment plans for the Park East corridor do not really call for such large-scale projects, through that could probably be changed as the adjacent areas are already occupied by convention centers, auditoriums, and arenas (the Milwaukee Wave, a Major Indoor Soccer League team, plays in the US Cellular Arena). Greenberg and other developers belive a soccer stadium could be a good anchor for redevelopment in the corridor, especially on the west side of the river, near all the other existing large-scale venues.

Last November, Greenberg floated the idea of building a downtown football stadium in the Park East corridor to be used by Marquette University and UWM, which would have required both schools to revive their long-defunct football programs. Officials from both schools, while interested, ultimately turned down the invitation, citing it would be too unrealistic and cost prohibitive to implement such an idea in such a short span of time.

The full article from the Business Journal: Soccer for Park East - Development would surround stadium (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/05/23/story3.html)


Manpower, Inc, is now officially looking for potential relocation sites for its corporate headquarters within the metro Milwaukee area--which includes leasing existing space or building to suit. While specific sites are not being disclosed at this time, the firm is looking in Milwaukee (Downtown and the Northwest Side), West Allis, and Wauwatosa. Also, Manpower has not ruled out the possibility of remaining in Glendale, either by expaning at the current locations or somewhere else within that suburb.

Among the criteria for site selection are access to public transportation and day care facilities, as well as free parking.

More in the Business Journal: Manpower issues request for new office space (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/05/23/story5.html?page=1)

May 30, 2005, 6:21 AM
Last week, representatives from the local real estate development and political communities went to the International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Las Vegas to promote Milwaukee to national retailers. The annual convention is where shopping center owners, retailers, municipalities, brokers and financial institutions meet to discuss and create deals. Among the, perhaps, exciting and not-so-exciting groups the Milwaukee represntatives met with included Kohl's Department Stores, Walgreen Co., Wal-Mart Stores, Ikea, Costco Warehouses and several other national retail and restaurant chains.

City and County officials pitched locations such as the Park East corridor, PabstCity, and Shops of Grand Avenue in Downtown; Midtown Center and the Tower Automotive site in the central city; and the Granville Station (former Northridge Mall) site on the Northwest Side. Additionally, County officials promoted sites in Franklin, St. Francis, Oak Creek, and Wauwatosa.

More details can be found in this article from the Business Journal: Barrett visits 'Sin City' to lure retailers (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/05/30/newscolumn1.html?page=1)


In related news, Sweedish furniture retailer Ikea, is in the process of looking for sites for a possible store in the Milwaukee area. The retailer is interested in entering the Milwaukee market because many Wisconsin shoppers trek down to the Ikea store in Schaumburg, Illinois (suburban Chicago).

Although Ikea representatives do not have specific staistics for their Wisconsin shoppers, the average Ikea customer is a woman in her 30s with children and a household income of more than $80,000.

As for the parameters for a site search, Ikea typically prefers 22 acres in a subruban location. A Milwaukee-area store would cost up to $80 million to build and include 215,000 square feet of floor space.

At the International Council of Shopping Centers convention last week, City officials promoted locations in the Park East corridor, the Menomonee Valley, and Granville Station. County officials pitched sites in Franklin, Oak Creek, and Wauwatosa. Milwaukee real estate insiders also predict Ikea will look at sites in suburban Waukesha County as well, such as the Pabst Farm development in Oconomowoc.

Whether or not Ikea will actually build a store anywhere in metro Milwaukee remains to be seen, but it does symbolize that national and international retailers are discovering Milwaukee has potential and recognize it is an untapped market for their stores.

More in the Business Journal: Ikea likes Milwaukee - Retailer searching for metro area site to respond to demand (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/05/30/story1.html?page=1)


Milwaukee Couty officials are expected to select a proposal from RSC & Associates, a development firm from Chicago, as the winner of a bid to develop a two-acre parcel of County-owned land in the Park East corridor. RSC was the only bidder (out of a total of two submissions) to meet the asking price of $2.5 million. Details of the project, however, have not yet been released. In the coming weeks, the proposal will make its way through the County's special park East redevelopment committee before going to the full County Board for final approval.

A few weeks ago, a group of national developers asked if the County could combine this two-acre site with another adjacent two acres so they could propose a larger project. County Executive Walker has essentially dismissed that request since those developers have not received any specific plans from them.

From the Business Journal: Chicago group to win bid for Park East parcel - Milwaukee County likely to pick RSC & Associates (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/05/30/story5.html?page=1)


From the "Real Estate Roundup," development firm Boulder Venture has purchased a site formerly occupied by a gas station on the southwest corner of E. North and N. Prospect Avenues. The site is located in the midst of an East Side neighborhood that is experiencing a great deal of development pressure with the Columbia-St. Mary's Hospital projects, the Kenilworth Building renovation, and other business and residential growth nearby.

Boulder Venture was aslo involved with the recent purchase of the little Prospect Mall just downt the street. So far, the firm does not have any specific plans for either property, but rather BV is waiting for the local market to evolve before making any decisions.

From the Business Journal: Schmidt buys second property at Prospect and North (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/05/30/newscolumn2.html)


Every so often, a suggestion is floated about relocating the Potawatomi Bingo Casino from the current location in the Menomonee Valley into somewhere Downtown. Possible new sites have included the Bradley Center (either in it, attached to it, next to it, or as part of a whole new athletic area/casino facility), somewhere in the Park East corridor (a couple blocks north of the BC), and now, perhaps, as part of PabstCity.

In the past, tribe officials have been relatively indifferent about the idea of even relocating, let alone where it would make it's new home. All previous discussion about relocating was intiated by non-tribal groups--politicans, developers, and business groups. But now, apparently the tribe is slightly warming up to the idea, despite all of the massive political and legal hurdles that must be cleared in ordert to move.

First is the active Wisconsin Supreme Court case brougt about by the dog racing track in Kenosha that is seeking to prohibit casino gambling. A rulking on that case is anticipated later this year.

The the tribe would need a buyer for its existing casino in the Valley--a facility in which the tribe has already invested hunderd of millions of dollars to develop (plus there are still plans in the works to expand that casino which are currently on hold pending the aforementioned court case).

Then all the plans must be completed for a new Downtown casino (designs, location, etc.) plus all the necessary support from the community to be gained.

And then any relocation would require approval from the federal government, which would have to declare the new site as federal trust land for the tribe--which is something the Bureau of Indian Affairs has rarely done in the past.

In any case, it would be a long shot.

More in the Journal Sentinel: PabstCity casino in the cards? - Potawatomi consider possibilities downtown (http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/may05/329806.asp)

May 30, 2005, 5:33 PM
Long shot? Good. Keep it in the Valley.

May 30, 2005, 6:37 PM
Long shot? Good. Keep it in the Valley.


May 31, 2005, 6:55 AM
East Side residents are at odds over whether to preserve the historic North Point Lighthouse in Lake Park. The octagonal, cast-iron lighthouse was originally built in 1888, expanded in 1912, and served as a navigational becon atop the bluffs above Lake Michigan until 1994, when technological advances rendered the building obsolete. The US Coast Guard transfered the lighthouse and its attached keeper's quarters over to Milwaukee County with an agreement that the buildings were to be preserved. Lake Park, originally designed by noted landscape artchitect Frederick Law Olmsted, was developed on several acres of land surrounding the lighthouse in 1893. In recent decades the lighthouse, keeper's quarters, and the park itself have suffered from unfortunate neglect--and the debate raises questions about what should be preserved, how that should be accomplished, and who should have a say in those decisions.

One group of residents, a non-profit organization called North Point Lighthouse Friends, has a plan to resotre the lighthouse and keeper's quarters and turn it into an nautical history/educational attraction and community center. The buildings would be open to the public and schools for tours--the highlight of which would be a climb to the crow's nest at the top of the lighthouse, offering unparalleled views of the lake and city. County officals have shown support for the project, provided that money would be raised privately to support the project. So far, the Lighthouse Friends have raised $1.2 million for that efort, and have set a goals to raise $1 million more and create an endowment for the lighthouse. The project also have support from the Water Tower Landmark Trust and the Lake Park Friends. Supports believe the preservation and business effort could be a good model of public-private partnerships that could be replicated throughout the rest of the ailing County park system.

Another group of neighbors, however, have criticized the lighthouse preservation plans. They say the buildings are too old, too dilapidated, and therefore too expensive to save. They are concerned about increased traffic and lack of adequate parking in the neighborhood and park. They feel the project would clutter up the parkland with driveways and directional signing. The irony is that many of the opponents have dedicated a good deal of time, money, and effort into other preservation projects around town, especially in their very own neighborhoods, filled with stately 19th and early-20th century mansions and beautifully maintained lawns and gardens.

^ Although the North Point Lighthouse is a neighborhood landmark, the fate of the buildings has divided the very neighborhood in which it sits.

Read more about the supporters and opponents in the Journal Sentinel: Preserving light drawing heat - Group hopes to open historic lighthouse for tours, but some neighbors don't want the attention (http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/may05/329989.asp)


A little bit of modernism stands out among the authentic historic buildings, cartoony historic knock-offs, and completely atrocious buildings along N. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The mixed-use King Drive Commons development is under construction at N. King Drive and W. Hadley Street, and area that is being rejuvinated after suffering from disinvestment and white flight. Consturction will be complete in July. The building will have street-level office space for a neighborhood organization, as well as retail space, with 18 affordable apartment units above.

Developers started out with a fairly neo-traditional design, but the architects pushed for something a little more progressive and contemporary, resulting in a building that fits in with the surrounding neighborhood without completely disregarding it and not directly copying it either. The use of federal affordable housing credits allowed a bit of extra money to be put toward the design.

^ King Drive Commons is a thoughtfully-designed mixed-use project on a major neighborhood arterial street lined with genuinely historic buildings in various conditions; goofy-looking, dumbed-down neo-traditional buildings; and insensitive urban architectural interruptions of the 1970s and 80s.

^ A rendering of King Drive Commons.

Read all about the critique in the Journal Sentinel: A refreshing touch of modernism (http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/may05/329952.asp)

Jun 2, 2005, 8:51 PM
Owners of the Riverside Theater are in search of a new tenant after the group which leased and operated the theater abruptly called it quits earlier this week. The theater operators, known as New Riverside Corp., said they were being driven out of business by competion from other local live performance venues in around town, such as the Milwaukee Theater and Pabst Theater. Competion among local performance halls has been a hot topic recently with the announcement a couple weeks ago after it was announced the House of Blues is now a confirmed anchor tenant at PabstCity.

Owners of the Riverside, however, are staying optimistic. They are already searching for a new tenant, and hope to be open in time for the fall season when indoor performances pick up again.

More from the Journal Sentinel: Curtain falls on Riverside Theatre, for now - Tenant ceases operation; landlord vows to keep venue open (http://www.jsonline.com/onwisconsin/music/jun05/330527.asp)

And from the Business Journal: Riverside Theater operator shuts down; owner seeks news tenant (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/05/30/daily29.html)


In related news, the City Comptroller's office has released a report about the impacts of the proposed PabstCity development. According to the report, the project would generate enough property tax revenue to repay the $41 million tax increment financing package from the City that is under consideration. The report also states that the project is likely to draw customers away from existing local businesses. So the good news/bad news of the report supports PabstCity proponents as well as opponents.

More details in the Journal Sentinel; check out the sidebar to download a copy of the report: Report presents 2 sides of PabstCity proposal - Development would likely pay for itself but pull business from others (http://www.jsonline.com/bym/news/jun05/330664.asp)


Local Developer Robert Joseph, who owns several buildings in the Third Ward, has added another to his collection. He bought a small two-story building on N. Jefferson Street from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. The school originally planned to use the building for a future graduate program, but dropped those plans in favor of expanding the school's main building nearby on E. Erie Street. So now Joseph will be converting the building into office condominiums--a concept that sells small individual office spaces to buyers, rather than the convention method of leasing space to renters. The building building will target law practices, money managers, and other professionals who require small office space.

Details in the Journal Sentinel article: Developer plans 'office condos' - Art school sells building in Historic Third Ward (http://www.jsonline.com/bym/news/jun05/330426.asp)

Jun 3, 2005, 9:04 PM
The preliminary engineering phase for the proposed Metra commuter rail extension will begin later this summer. Yesterday, government officals from WisDOT and southeastern Wisconsin announced a request for proposals from enineering firms interested in doing the preliminary engineering study. The study will help identify funding sources (start-up cost about $150+ million; annual operating cost about $20 million) and determine who will oversee the operations of the Metra extension should it actually be implemented. With an engineering firm to be selected in July, the study should begin in August, and is expected to take 18-24 months to complete.

The proposed 32-mile extension would run northward from the current terminus in Kenosha, with stops in Somers, Racine, Caledonia, Oak Creek, South Milwaukee, St. Francis, Cudahy, and will terminate at the train station in Downtown Milwaukee.

More in the Business Journal article: Commuter rail extension moves forward with study (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/05/30/daily36.html)

Steely Dan
Jun 3, 2005, 9:12 PM
markitect, do you know if this proposed metra extension would have trains through-routed from downtown chicago all the way to milwaukee, or will trains running from kenosha to chicago and trains running from kenosha to milwaukee be on different schedules, meaning that a trip from chicago to milwaukee would require a transfer at kenosha?

i know this service isn't intended as a chicago to milwaukee route, the hiawatha already serves that need. but with the hiawatha's steep price (40 bucks! get the fuck outta here!), i'm sure many people would opt for this metra service if the trains run straight through, even if it would take a lot longer.

Jun 3, 2005, 9:32 PM
^ No shit. I'd be in Chicago at least once a month if I didn't have to save up for it, for chrissakes.

Jun 3, 2005, 10:58 PM
markitect, do you know if this proposed metra extension would have trains through-routed from downtown chicago all the way to milwaukee, or will trains running from kenosha to chicago and trains running from kenosha to milwaukee be on different schedules, meaning that a trip from chicago to milwaukee would require a transfer at kenosha?

Reports from earlier study phases said trains would be through-routed between Chicago and Milwaukee. They would probably be extensions of current Chicago-Kenosha or Chicago-Waukegan trains, rather than completely brand new trains.

Jun 3, 2005, 11:01 PM
If i recal correctly, something like 7 or so of the daily (round trip) trains that currently stop at Kenosha would be through routed to Milwaukee, on a weekday. The rest would continue to end in Kenosha, or where ever else they currently stop. I would totally take Metra all the way to Chicago. Not only would it be cheaper, but the view would be more interesting, IMO. As much as i enjoy the view of Sturtevant on the way through, the Metra route actually goes through some moderate sized cities.

Well, i just checked the current schedule after i got one of those damn "The server is too busy" messages that made me retype this. Right now, Kenosha is only served by 9 of the 30 or so Union Pacific North Line Trains on a weekday. The rest terminate at other various stops. Also, I can just imagine the confusion people coming from Milwaukee will have because the Metra trains will go to Ogilvie Transpoprtation Center instead of Union Station.

EDIT: BLAST! damn busy server, or i would have beaten Markitect :P

Jun 6, 2005, 7:06 PM
Weas Development is proposing a 12-story mixed-use project in the Third Ward. Details are still being worked out, but the project will likely include a botique hotel, condominiums, a parking structure, and other commercial space (possibly a health club). The project would be built on a site that currently hosts a surface parking lot and a vacant bar--on the block just southeast of the Milwaukee Public Market.

More in the Business Journal: Hotel, condo project planned for 3rd Ward (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/06/06/story3.html)


And speaking of the Public Market, the Business Journal also has an atricle describing that project as well, which will open about a month from now. It discusses design inspirations and obstacles, as well as how the market will be operated: A new market for downtown Milwaukee - Architects turn to city, Paris for inspiration (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/06/06/focus4.html)


At the recent International Council of Shopping Centers convention Maypr Barrett and other City officials once again met with representatives from Kohl's, trying to convince the department store operators to open a store in Downtown Milwaukee. Barrett is a bit frustrated that Kohl's, which is now a rapidly growing national chain based out of subruban Menomonee Falls, does not have a greater presence in the City of Milwaukee (out of 10 stores in the Milwaukee area, only one sits within city limits). City planners would like to see Kohl's enter the Downtown area--either in the Park East corridor or just to the south of The Shops of Grand Avenue--with a two-story format, similar to what Target and other retailers have been experimenting with in other cities.

Details are in this Business Journal article: Barrett presses for Kohl's downtown (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/06/06/story5.html?page=1)


Milwaukee and Wauwatosa are at odds over who should supply water to a proposed water park and hotel on the grounds of the Milwaukee County Zoo. The zoo is located within Milwaukee's city limits and borders Wauwatosa. The City of Milwaukee supplies water to the zoo. Right now, the County is exploring the feasability of a water park and hotel at the zoo.

The water park and hotel is estimated to require 40,000 gallons of water per day. Milwaukee officials are hesitant to extend a water main for the water park. They fear that since the water park would be at the very end of the main, that there would not be enough water pressure to adequately supply the park. So Milwaukee officials suggested that Wauwatosa's water infrastructure may be better suited to handle the water demands of the park. Wauwatosa officials, in turn, said they do not have a policy to supply water to land outside its borders. They also have reservations about a hotel at the zoo--thery fear it will have an adverse affect on existing hotels within Wauwatosa's already struggling hotel market.

Meanwhile, County officials do not want to see the project bogged down by such issues. They are hoping a water park and hotel at the County Zoo will bring in much needed revenue for the County. A compromise is needed, but where to start seems to be a tricky answer at this point.

More in the Business Journal: Milwaukee, Tosa balk at water park request (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/06/06/story2.html)


An editorial from last week's Business Journal: Nothing to fear with PabstCity project (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/05/30/editorial2.html)

And a response this week from one reader: Milwaukee doesn't need PabstCity (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/06/06/editorial5.html)

Jun 7, 2005, 5:12 PM
Willow Tree Development will build a three-story commercial building in the already-booming Beerline area. The site is located at N. Humboldt Avenue and E. Riverboat Road, along the banks of the Milwaukee River. The first floor (which is acctually below the grade of Humboldt Avenue) will be parking, the second floor (Humboldt Avenue level) is targeted for a restaurant, and the third floor will have a physical therapy office which is relocating from the East Side. The project will also include a new segment for the RiverWalk. Construction will start in July and be completed by February 2006.

Here's the Journal Sentinel article: New building to overlook river - 30,000-square-foot facility will house therapy practice (http://www.jsonline.com/bym/news/jun05/331665.asp)

Jun 9, 2005, 2:18 AM
A panel of Milwaukee Couty officials have selected a proposal from RSC & Associates, a development firm from Chicago, as the winner of a bid to develop a two-acre parcel of County-owned land in the Park East corridor. The proposal is for a 2-acre site bounded by N. Milwaukee, N. Jefferson and E. Lyon streets and E. Ogden Avenue. The mixed-use project would include 12 three-story townhouse condo units, an 8-story condo building with 122 units, a total of 26,800 square feet of retail space, and will have surface and underground parking.

The County Board's Committee on Economic and Community Development will consider the proposal at its meeting next week, to be followed later by review from the full board. Pending all final approvals, RSC and its development partners will be able to purchase the site and begin construction.

And in related news, earlier this week, the City's Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee on Tuesday approved plans for Legacy Real Estate Partners' proposed mixed-use project in the Park East area.

From the Journal Sentinel: County panel OKs first project on Park East land (http://www.jsonline.com/bym/news/jun05/331976.asp)

Jun 9, 2005, 8:44 PM
Mayor Barrett is visiting the US Burau of Indian Affairs in Washington, DC today to find out what steps would need to be taken in order to relocate the Potawatomi Bingo Casino to a site somewhere Downtown. It is not so much a deal-making visit than it is an information-gathering visit, since there are so many obstacles to overcome, and decisions to be made that are not in the hands of the City anyway.

In recent months, several business and political leaders have been discussing the idea, and officials with Potawatomi tribe have said they are open to at least exploring the idea. The tribe has not gone so far as picking sites, but those aforemtnioned business and policial leader have suggested some: at PabstCity (developers declined to comment), in the Park East corridor, or on land next to the Bradley Center.

The fact that some potential casino sites would be in designated TIF districts (the Park East corridor, and PabstCity (pending final TIF approval)) may be an issue with the tribe. Because the land on which an Indian casino would be built in weither of those locations would be rendered tax-exempt, the tribe would be required to make higher payments to the City than it already does.

Full details are in this Journal Sentinel article: Barrett antes up for casino move - Mayor goes to Washington to discuss possible Potawatomi site downtown (http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/jun05/332329.asp)


Another old building in the Third Ward will be renovated into retail and office space. East Erie Associates have purchased the vacant 5-story building at 222 E. Erie Street. It will contain 18,000-20,000 square feet of street-level retail space and 70,000 square feet of office space on the upper floors.

From the Journal Sentinel: Historic building will be converted - Third Ward project to have stores, offices (http://www.jsonline.com/bym/news/jun05/332271.asp)

Jun 10, 2005, 9:04 PM
^ more indian casinos. Yuk!

Jun 10, 2005, 9:21 PM
Well, not really more casinos. It would be a replacement of the one that is already in the Menomonee Valley, as I understand it. And it is a longshot, that i wouldn't put any money on it happening, heh heh heh...

Get it, everyone? Put any money on it? Ha!

Jun 10, 2005, 9:30 PM
You are a dork.

Jun 13, 2005, 6:01 AM
After his visit with the Bureau of Indian Affairs last week, Mayor Barrett is even more seriously considering relocating the Potawatomi Casino to a Downtown site. Barrett is interested in a casino move because an increased casino revenue would bring in more money to the City's coffers. Right now, the City and County each receive a 1.5% cut of the tribe's revenue from the Menomonee Valley casino ($3.9 million each from the fiscal year ending last August). If the tribe were to actually move forward with relocating, the mayor would seek to increase its slice of the pie.

More in the Journal Sentinel article: Mayor sees money in casino move - Barrett seeks to boost payments to city (http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/jun05/332588.asp)


Yet another building in ther Third Ward will be converted into condos. Desert Pacific Group has plans to redevelop the 95-year-old building at 341 N. Milwaukee Street into eight luxury condo units on the upper floors, and retail space at street-level.

More details in the Journal Sentinel article: Third Ward building to be turned into condos - Antique center space to serve high-end buyers (http://www.jsonline.com/bym/news/jun05/332554.asp)


PabstCity developers are hoping that providing new (confidential) tenant information to the consulting firm that wrote the report for the City Comptroller's office will result in a more favorable assessment of the project. The intial report relased earlier this month written by C.H. Johnson Consulting Inc. criticized PabstCity for relying too much on tenantsalready established in the Milwaukee area, which might negatively affect the project's ability to attract customers from outside the region.

Alderman D'Amato, who heads the Zoning, Neighborhood, and Development Committee, says the City needs more time to get answers about the project. The TIF request for PabstCity must be weighed against other projects in the City that may need financial assistance. The committee has postponed plans to discuss the PabstCity project until its June 28 meeting. This will allow time for the consultants to reassess the project based on the new information being provided.

Details in the Business Journal: Consultant to issue amended PabstCity report (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/06/13/story5.html)


Despite the recent openings of a new Menards home improvement store and a new Pick N Save supermarket at Granville Station--on the site of the former Northridge Mall--developers are having a tough time attracting more retailers. Tucker Development Corp and other real estate insiders believe the site is plagued by the perception of high crime in the surrounding neighborhoods and competition from other commercial areas better-located and further out on the fringes.

Mayor Barrett says he would like to make an effort to attract new retailers to the Northridge area. He pitched the site to several retailers at the International Council of Shopping Centers convention a few weeks ago. Also, Tucker will continue to work with the City and County to attract possible tenants. And the Granville Business Association, which represents the area, is considering collaborating with the neighborhong Brown Deer Chamber of Commerce on a redevelopment and marketing plan for the Brown Deer Road corridor.

More in the Business Journal: Interest lags in Northridge redevelopment (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/06/13/newscolumn1.html?page=1)


Kesselman Real Estate of Mequon is planning to build a "lifestyle center" on Milwaukee's South Side, near W. Layton and S. Howell Avenues. The development, called Marketplace 300 West, is planned to have three buildings (42,000 square feet, 20,000 square feet, and 9,500 square feet). Kesselman hopes to attract a clothing store, an electronics store, and a coffee shop to the larger building; and perhaps some banks and restaurants for space in the smaller buildings. No discount retailers, says Kesselman. There are no letters of intent yet.

From the Business Journal: Mequon developer to build $14 million Layton Avenue shopping center (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/06/13/newscolumn2.html)


Two opinion pieces from the Business Journal.

The first regarding the water problems concerning the proposed zoo water park/hotel: Finding water for Walker's Zoo water park (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/06/13/editorial1.html)

The second concerning Ikea: Ikea in city is imperative (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/06/13/editorial5.html)


And finally, a critique of Kilbourn Tower in the Journal Sentinel: Builders should not let bottom line trump top-notch design (http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/jun05/333266.asp)

^ Kilbourn Tower, the newest addition to Milwaukee's skyline, as viewed from across the lagoon in Veterans Park.

^ An aerial view of Kilbourn Tower taken a couple weeks ago. Construction of University Club Tower next door has progressed a bit since then.

The PabstCity report issued by the City Comptroller's office, written by C.H. Johnson Consulting Inc, is to be amended based on new tenant information being provided by developers.

Jun 16, 2005, 8:07 PM
The proposed movie theater at PabstCity will be downsized from 16 screens to 10-12 screen. Developers and the theater operator cite a national decline in movie theater business and concerns raised in the City's project assessment reports as the reason for the downsizing.

More in the Journal Sentinel: Number of screens reduced at planned PabstCity cinema - Operational concerns, decline in movie business caused downsizing (http://www.jsonline.com/bym/news/jun05/334013.asp)

Jun 18, 2005, 9:21 PM
I'm so incredibly excited. Milwaukee in 5 years will look so much different than it does today. We're really pushing the envelope here. And if a downtown casino is the unfortunate price we have to pay for this unbridled developement, I'm all for it.

Jun 20, 2005, 6:13 AM
The Godfrey & Kahn law firm is considering a possible relocation into one of two proposed mixed-use towers in Downtown--Ovation Plaza and Lake Point Tower. The firm has also not ruled out the possibility of staying put in its current location in the M&I Bank building just south of City Hall.

Ovation Plaza is a proposal by Irgens Development Partners, and has been on the boards for a couple years now, in search of an anchor tenant. It would be built on N. Water Street between E. State Street and E. Highland Avenue, a site now occupied by the Marcu Center's parking structure. The proposed height ranges in the 20-story area (different figures have been given in previous articles), and would include office and retail space, condos, and a parking garage.

Lake Point Tower is the name of the most recent incarnation of a proposed "sister tower" to the US Bank Center. US Bancorp is working with develoeprs from JBK Properties to make the proposal become a reality. It would be built on E. Michigan Street, south of the US Bank Center. Developers would like the tower to include office and retail space, condos, and a hotel. Note the article reports Lake Point Tower is still being proposed as a 42-story high-rise.

Read all about it in the Business Journal article: Godfrey & Kahn considers two office building sites - Firm hasn't ruled out current location (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/06/20/story5.html)


The owners of Midtown Center--the urban-oriented retail development built upon the ruins of the former Capitol Court Mall--have plans for expanded development. Plans include developing some of the outlots on the site that were set aside for future development when the first phases of Midtown Center were built between 2000 and 2004. The owners already have a few tenants lined up, but have so far declined to mention any specifics, aside from that they will be smaller retailers, no "big box" retailers. Midtown Center, which has been deemed a success within the inner city neighborhood, already includes a Pick N Save, Wal-Mart, and Lowes, plus several smaller retailers.

More in the Business Journal: Midtown will grow again (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/06/20/story3.html)


The Business Journal reviews responses from a recent reader survey concerning the possibility of relocating the Potawatomi Casino to a Downtown site: Public support lacking for casino move (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/06/20/newscolumn1.html)


An opinion piece from the Business Journal about the perception problem of the Garnville Station/Northridge area: Address Northridge 'perception problem' (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/06/20/editorial1.html)


Another Business Journal opinion piece from Milwaukee-area business leaders supporting the proposed Metra commuter rail extension from Kenosha into Milwaukee: Business support growing for commuter rail (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/06/20/editorial4.html)


And another opinion piece from the Business Journal regarding PabstCity: 'Do the math' on PabstCity TIF (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/06/20/editorial5.html)


With PabstCity being such a hot topic of debate these days, the Jornal Sentienl ran some opinion pieces in the "Crossroads" section this past weekend...

A downtown boost — or threat? - Supporters say all will benefit from visitors and dollars PabstCity attracts, but some area business (http://www.jsonline.com/bym/news/jun05/334613.asp)

Public investments can be better spent (http://www.jsonline.com/news/editorials/jun05/334497.asp)

Is it a blue-ribbon idea? - Let's blow the foam off and drink to the future (http://www.jsonline.com/news/editorials/jun05/334503.asp)


Plans are underway to restore another house along Milwaukee's unofficial "Frank lloyd Wright Row." A series of six houses designed by the master architect were built on the 2700 block of W. Burnham Street during 1915-16. They are examples of the so-called American System-Built Homes--which Wright envisioned as well-designed, affordable housing for working-class families, and an early attempt at mass produced hosuing (an idea that did not take off at that time).

Last year the Frank Lloyd Wright Wisconsin group (a.k.a. the Frank Lloyd Wright Wisconsin Heritage Tourism Program) purchased one of the houses with plans to restore it with the aid of other FLW groups and the Historic Preservation Institute at the UWM School of Architecture and Urban Planning. Long-term plans for that house may include becoming a vacation rental property, an idea that has been used at other Wright-designed houses in Wisconsin.

FLW Wisconsin has also just recently purchased a duplex on the same block, and plans to restore the building to its original design based on Wright's old drawings. Restoration work will include replacing the aluminum siding (a later alteration to the duplex) with stucco, as it was originally built. Long-term plans for the duplex are still uncertain at this point, but the organization might use one unit as an office and another as a museum of sorts, available for pucllic tours. For now, the duplex will remain a rental property.

FLW Wisconsin is organizing fund raising efforts and plans to establish an endowment to maintian both properties.

A third Wright house on the block, privately owned, has already been restored by its owners. The remianing three Wright houses on the block range in condition from extensively remodeled to heavily neglected.

From the Journal Sentinel: Group to make Wright house right - Duplex will be stripped of aluminum siding and returned to its original stucco (http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/jun05/334808.asp)

^ This duplex at 2724-26 W. Burnham Street is the second house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright on the block that will be restored by the FLW Wisconsin organization. Work will include stripping off the unoriginal aluminum siding which will be replaced with stucco as originally designed.

Jun 21, 2005, 12:44 AM
I've never noticed it when I've been down there, but it looks like that FLW has settled quite a bit, like the top of the main house seperated from the other section. Or is that just a lens trick?

Jun 25, 2005, 10:34 PM
The Milwaukee Community Service Corps is planning to renovate the former Kilbourn State Bank (later North Milwaukee State Bank) into a new headquarters for the organization. The small brick building-- prominently located at the intersection of W. Fond du Lac Avenue, N. 27th, and W. Center Streets--has sat vacant and boarded up for many years, in the heart of a predomantly African-American neighborhood.

The Community Service Corps. hopes to get the building listed on the National Historic Register--not because of its architectural detailing, but because as North Milwaukee State Bank, it was Wisconsin's largest and first black-owned financial institution. The Community Service Corps. is an organization that helps low-income, at-risk young adults develop job skills while improving neighborhoods through infrastructure and development initiatives.

^ Work on converting the old bank bulding into offices for the Milwaukee Community Service Crops. is expected to begin in July.

More details in the Journal Sentinel article: Long-neglected building gets attention - Service group plans to use site as headquarters (http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/jun05/336420.asp)


The grand opening of the Milwaukee Public Market will be pushed back from mid-July until sometime in September. Officilas are citing construction delays and the slower-than-expected progress in landing tenants for each of the indoor market stalls as reasons for the postponement. So far 14 of the 23 indoor stalls have been leased.

The outdoor market stalls, however, will open on schedule (July 16), and will operate on Saturdays and Sundays into the fall for the time being.

More from the Journal Sentinel: Milwaukee Public Market's planned July opening is delayed - Outdoor sellers will go ahead; organizers hope for more indoor vendors (http://www.jsonline.com/bym/news/jun05/335467.asp)

Jun 28, 2005, 5:25 AM
Mayor Barrett hopes to increase economic development in Milwaukee by doubling the use of tax incremental financing which would help provide funding for several projects around the city. City officials are planning to unveil a list of potential projects that would use TIFs. Some of the likely candidates include: redevelopment of the Tower Automotive site (near N. 35th Street and W. Capitol Drive--which is envisioned as a large-scale neighborhood-oriented mixed-use development, plus some new industrial uses); possible development on greenspace at the Veteran's Administration for a medical technology business park, and the Bronzeville entertainment/cultural district near N. Martin Luther King Drive and W. North Avenue.

Full details in the Business Journal article: Developing a new formula - Barrett to seek doubling of TIF districts (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/06/27/story1.html?page=1)


Milwaukee's Greyhound bus depot was recently renovated as part of a pilot program initiated with the hope of freshening up the company's image. In addition to an overall interior makeover (new paint, bathroom fixtures, lighting, signage, ticket/luggage counters, vending machines, etc.), the downtown bus depot now features plasma screen TVs, wireless Internet connections, and a brand new concession stand. Not only that, but Greyhound's buses were improved too, with new seats and more legroom. The improvements are part of a test program for Milwaukee, Chicago, and Minneapolis markets.

Despite those renovations, plans are still underway for the eventual relocation of the Greyhound station to a combined bus-train depot at the existing Amtrak station sometime in the coming years. The City, State, developers, Amtrak, and Greyhound are close to an agreement that would more than double the current amount of funding ($4-5 million more than the current $4 million allocated) to create the intermodal passenger station through the use of a tax incremental financing district.

More in this article from the Jounral Sentinel: Greyhound freshens up terminal, adds comfy bus seats - Company still on board for train station (http://www.jsonline.com/bym/news/jun05/336966.asp)


On Monday afternoon, KeyBridge development Group broke ground for the 601 Lofts, a 10-story mixed-use building on a surface parking lot at the corner of N. Jackson Street and E. Ogden Avenue. The building will contain 80 condo units (of which 38 are already sold), plus 8300 square feet of street-level retail space (all of which has been leased).

^ A rendering of 601 Lofts, at 601 E. Odgen Avenue, now under construction.

In August, KeyBridge expects to break ground for First Place on the River, a 12-story condo building (4 stories of renovated Terminal Storage Building, plus 8 new stories built on top of that) in the Walker's Point neighborhood.

From the Journal Sentinel: Work to start on condos - 10-story building going up on city's east side (http://www.jsonline.com/bym/news/jun05/336956.asp)

Jun 29, 2005, 11:01 PM
Columbia St. Mary's has unveiled detailed plans for consolidating its two East Side hospitals (Columbia Hospital, in the UWM neighborhood; and St. Mary's Hospital, in the North Point neighbohrood) onto a single site. The new state-of-the-art hospital will be built on the grounds of the existing St. Mary's campus, at E. North Avenue and N. Lake Drive. The future of the Columbia campus is yet to be determined.

The consoldation project will include:

- a new hospital building (670,000 square feet)
- two medical office buildings (215,000 square feet)
- a cancer center (25,000 square feet)
- three new parking structures (1800 spaces)
- renovations to the existing Seton Tower
- renovations to the existing and historic hospital building

^ A rendering of the future Columbia St. Mary's Hospital campus from Water Tower Park, with the new hospital building (left/center), the existing Seton Tower (right background), and historic St. Mary's building (right, behind water tower).

Full details in this Journal Sentienl article: Columbia St. Mary's promises new safer, more efficient hospital - $417 million cost will be offset by savings, CEO says (http://www.jsonline.com/bym/news/jun05/337302.asp)

Jun 30, 2005, 2:25 AM
So they're not getting rid of Bertrand Goldberg's building at St. Mary's?

Jun 30, 2005, 2:55 AM
You still see it there, don't you? Seton Tower will be renovated, most likely taking out the patient rooms and converting into offices and such.

Jun 30, 2005, 3:53 AM
YAY! I'll celebrate for CityGawd5 as well, i know he likes that building also.

Steely Dan
Jun 30, 2005, 3:58 AM
i love hearing that a goldberg has evaded the wrecking ball. great news!

anyone got any good pics of it?

Tom In Chicago
Jun 30, 2005, 2:16 PM
Is that St. Mary's development part of Lakeview Hostpital off of 45? I noticed quite a bit of construction going up that way last week when I was passing through town. . .

Jun 30, 2005, 9:01 PM
Is that St. Mary's development part of Lakeview Hostpital off of 45? I noticed quite a bit of construction going up that way last week when I was passing through town. . .


The former Lakeview Hospital, now The Wisconsin Heart Hospital, is on Bluemound Road in the western suburb of Wauwatosa. I don't know of any construction going on there.

The Milwaukee Regional Medical Center, also in Wauwatosa right of US-45, has several different hospitals, a couple of which have additons/expansions currently under construction. It seems that is what you saw.

The Columbia St. Mary's development is atop the lakefront bluff at North Avenue, in the middle of Milwaukee's East Side. Construction has not started on that yet--just the news conference unveling the plans. Ground will break later this year for that.

Jun 30, 2005, 10:41 PM
i love hearing that a goldberg has evaded the wrecking ball. great news!

anyone got any good pics of it?

This is the only 'artsy' one i have uploaded of it :)


Jul 1, 2005, 5:14 PM
You still see it there, don't you? Seton Tower will be renovated, most likely taking out the patient rooms and converting into offices and such.

The initial plan was to demolish the goldberg building, and have the new hospital be even larger. However, the plans were scaled back due to cost issues. The long term goal is that it will eventually be demolished, and the downtown CSM hospital will be significantly expanded. However, there are no formal plans for this, and the time frame at the earliest would probably be 2015. Seton tower is currently a physician office building. There are no inpatient beds in seton tower. Also seton tower is coming down, and the new physician offices are currently under construction (at the old ford site, where the Whole foods will be).

Jul 1, 2005, 9:38 PM
Yeah, I mixed up the names. Seton Tower is the glass cube, and it contains offices. It is being demolished to make room for the new hospital building, and the offices will be relocated to new buildings (one of which is being built along with the Whole Foods at the old Ford dealership site). The West Facility is the Goldberg "Cloverleaf," and it contains in-patient rooms. Those rooms will be relocated into the new hospital building and the Cloverleaf will be converted into the future Women's Institute.

Jul 6, 2005, 10:28 PM
Opponents of a plan to provide $41 million in city financing to help convert the former Pabst brewery into a downtown entertainment and retail complex got a temporary victory today when the Milwaukee Common Council voted to delay action on the matter.

As a result, a vote on whether to approve the city subsidy for the $317 million development, known as PabstCity, will not happen until July 26, when the council meets again.

Of the 15 aldermen, just three - Mike McGee Jr., Tony Zielinski and Mike D'Amato - voted for the delay. But that was just enough votes, under an obscure city ordinance allowing onetime delays on spending issues with just one-fifth of the council's members voting for approval.

The delay means opponents have additional time to raise doubts about the project, which is supported by Mayor Tom Barrett. The vote to delay came after nearly two hours of parliamentary maneuvering on the PabstCity financing plan.

City Development Commissioner Richard "Rocky" Marcoux said after the meeting that the council should have voted on the financing plan and said he believed a majority of the aldermen would have supported it. He said delays in the project could cause potential equity investors to take a pass on PabstCity.

D'Amato said he voted for the delay because there were too many unanswered questions about the controversial development.

The subsidy would be paid back through property taxes generated by PabstCity. After the $41 million debt is paid back, along with $38 million in interest, the development's estimated $2.7 million of property tax revenue would flow to the city, schools and other local governments.

Barrett and other development supporters say PabstCity is a chance to convert a largely empty, dilapidated brewery complex into a regional entertainment destination, featuring a 10-screen theater, House of Blues restaurant and music venue and GameWorks restaurant and gaming center.

Along with the tax revenue, PabstCity would create 1,000 construction jobs and 1,100 jobs within the development's businesses, which would include other clubs, restaurants and stores, supporters said. PabstCity, which would include housing and offices, would also help downtown Milwaukee compete with suburban retail and entertainment centers such as Mayfair Mall and Bayshore Towne Center, project backers said.

Opponents said city taxpayers should not subsidize a development that would draw an estimated 50% to 70% of its sales from existing Milwaukee-area restaurants and other businesses. They are skeptical about the extent of the development's benefits, with some arguing that most of the jobs being created would pay relatively low service-industry wages. Opponents also questioned the long-term viability of PabstCity, which would take an estimated 24 to 30 years to pay back the $79 million to the city.
-Tom Daykin
Milwaukee Journal Sentinal

Jul 7, 2005, 2:33 AM
I know this may not belong on this thread, but I was just reading on the transportation threads that Amtrak got 1.1 billion in federal funding (as opposed to 500 mil). I think that's what they wanted to move ahead with upgrades to the hiawatha lines. Does anyone remember the specifics? Speed upgrades (110 mph) I think would be most important, followed by extending service to the western suburbs of milwaukee and madison.

Jul 7, 2005, 2:38 AM
Damn! That Kilbourn is a beauty! The smaller condo projects all look pretty killer too. Milwaukee is on a fucking roll!!!!!

Jul 7, 2005, 3:33 AM
I know this may not belong on this thread, but I was just reading on the transportation threads that Amtrak got 1.1 billion in federal funding (as opposed to 500 mil). I think that's what they wanted to move ahead with upgrades to the hiawatha lines. Does anyone remember the specifics? Speed upgrades (110 mph) I think would be most important, followed by extending service to the western suburbs of milwaukee and madison.

Good question. I was under the impression that it was at least partially a state funding issue. I am pretty sure the Illinois and Wisconsin Departments of Transportation sponsored the studies. I am not sure how the funding was to work, though. I also thought that the 500 million figure was a figure that Amtrak claimed would send them to bankruptcy, while the 1.1 billion was more or less to maintain the status quo. Could be wrong though, and maybe these upgrades were planned provided there was full funding.

Jul 7, 2005, 4:26 AM
Yeah, I'm pretty sure the proposed upgrades for the Hiawatha service were for circumstances in which Amtrak would have received full funding--which I don't think they received. The Hiawatha upgrades were, however, placed pretty high up on Amtrak's list of priorities--do it's on their "to do" list, it's just not a "will do" or "can do" situation right now. The upgrades included improviong infrastructure and equipment for 110 mph service, additional trains scheduled, and they were also thinking of introducing DMUs.

The states of Wisconsin and Illinois also chip in a certain percentage of funding for the trains. And recently there was some issue with Illinois politicians not budgeting enough money for the yearly increases for their share.

Jul 12, 2005, 6:17 AM
The New York real estate investment firm of Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp.--the soon-to-be-new-owners of the Shops of Grand Avenue--have plans to improve the tenant mix at the downtown mall. The firm hopes to attract more national retailers (especially more who sell "soft goods"), more sit-down restaurants, and more kiosk vendors. Ashkenazy believes a Kohl's could be a good fit for the mall or nearby area (an idea shared by Mayor Barrett); the firm owns shopping centers elsewhere that contain Kohl's stores. Negotiations continue for an Office Max to lease space in the former Woolworth's store. With improved market potential from all the new resiential and office development that has cropped upin the area since the mall opened in the early-1980s, Ashkenazy says his firm will make a long-term committment to the Grand Avenue.

More stuff in the Business Journal article: Grand plans - New Grand Avenue owner plans to recruit national tenants, more restaurants (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/07/11/story1.html?page=1)


Great Lakes cruise ships and other smaller vessels will have an easier time docking in Milwaukee thanks to several new dock projects in the works.

The Pier Wisconsin project includes three new docks:

- A new breakwater extending south of Pier Wisconsin will provide a place specifically for large cruise ships to dock. An access road down the middle of the breakwater will allow ship-to-tour bus transfer.

- A boardwalk/dock along the south side of Pier Wisconsin will provide a space for smaller boats to dock, and can be used as a secondary cruise ship dock.

- The third dock will be for the Denis Sullivan educational schooner.

Across the harbor, the Port of Milwaukee is building a new dock for cruise ships next to the Lake Express ferry terminal near Bay View. That dock is scheduled to be completed by August, just in time for the September arrivals of two Great Lakes cruise ships, the 100-passenger Grande Caribe (100-passenger vessel) and the Christopher Columbus (450-passegner vessel).

These new facilities will be a vast improvement over sharing the heavy-lift docks with commercial/industrial ships on Jones Island, tucked away beneath the Hoan Bridge near the sewerage plant. That inconvenient, and odorous, location has often been a turn-off for cruise ships stopping at Milwaukee--though they do still stop on occassion. The new docks underway will make Milwaukee more competitive among Great Lake cities and cruise ship tours.

Details in the Business Journal: Ahoy, Great Lakes cruisers - Cruise ship docks to be built along Milwaukee lakefront (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/07/11/story7.html)


Officials from the Marcus Center for Perfoming Arts, Irgens Development, the City of Milwaukee, and Milwaukee County are close to an agreement for a financial and development agreement concerning the proposed Ovation Plaza mixed-use project. The tower, which has been proposed for a couple years now, would be built on the site of an existing parking structure along N. Water Street. The Marcus Center hopes that its financial future can be secured by selling the office, retail, and possible residential portions of Ovation Plaza to Irgens, and to retain ownership and parking revenue from the new parking structure that would be built to accommodate the tower, as well as the Marcus Center across the street. Such an arrangement could go a long way in providing the Marcus Center with money during an era in which its County-issued subsidies are facing cuts. A tax incremental financing district could likely be used to help pay for some of the infrstraucture costs related to any new development. And of course, an anchor tenant is still needed. One possible prospect is the Goodfrey & Kahn law firm, which is considering new office space in Downtown at two possible locations, including Ovation Plaza.

More can be found in the Business Journal article: Marcus Center looking for Ovation to secure future (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/07/11/newscolumn1.html)


Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin will be relocating its offices and 750 workers from Downtown Milwaukee to an office park being developed on the former Allis-Chalmers factory in West Allis. According to Blue Cross, the move will save the company about $8 million over ten years. No doubt the savings come in the form of cheaper rents, operating expenses, property taxes, and parking in the suburbs compared to Downtown. Those factors have helped the suburbs capture a growing share of the regional office market, despite a few recent "wins" of the city (Roundy's Supermarkets, Bank One).

Full details can be found in the Journal Sentinel article: Blue Cross to leave downtown - Move to West Allis expected to cut costs (http://www.jsonline.com/bym/news/jul05/340333.asp)


Some opponents of the proposed PabstCity entertainment complex would like to see a privately-finacned downtown soccer stadium and mixed-use development being proposed by Marty Greenberg to be located at PabstCity instead. Alderman Tony Zielinski appears to be leading the charge for soccer on the Pabst property--he has been in contact with Greenberg about the issue. Zielinski believes a soccer stadium would be a good fit and that Greenberg has the resources to make it happen.

Greenberg and his investors have their first choice as a site in the Park East corridor, although the City seems to be cool to that idea. Should that be turned down, the group will look at other downtown sites. Greenberg has not been available for comments on a PabstCity location. A formal announcement on the soccer development is expected sometime this week.

Meanwhile, PabstCity's developers at Wispark say this is the first they've heard of a soccer stadium proposal at the Pabst site. And a Department of City Development spokesperson says it is likely a little late in the game to consider a soccer stadium at PabstCity.

More in the Journal Sentinel: PabstCity foes push soccer stadium - Discussion might be aimed at defeating proposed entertainment complex (http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/jul05/340331.asp)

Jul 14, 2005, 5:10 AM
The Milwaukee County Board Transportation Committee is supporting a plan to demolish the Coutrhouse Annex parking structure and office building which hovers over the northbound lanes of I-43. The County must act qucikly, however, in order to coordinate the demolition work with the reconstruction of the freeway that is now under way in the area. Demolition could occur in March 2006 when those freeway lanes are closed to traffic when the roadway is scheduled to be rebuilt--but a final decision from the County is need by next month.

Replacement parking spaces would have to be acommodated in other nearby surface lots, and a couple possible new lots would be built, according to the County's plan.

Details in the Journal Sentinel: Approvals put annex closer to its demise - County panels vote in favor of using parking lots to replace aging courthouse (http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/jul05/340758.asp)


A group of investors who want to bring a Major League Soccer team to Milwaukee made their plans official Wednesday afternoon. They announced a $320 million development plan for land in the Park East corridor--the center of which would be a 20,000-seat soccer stadium, plus residential, office, and retail space nearby. The stadium itself ($40-60 million) would would host 40 to 60 events a year, including Major League Soccer and international soccer matches; NCAA and youth soccer games; concerts and other community events. The whole development would be mostly privately financed, with the exception of a possible $25 million TIF the developers are hoping to request from the City.

A specific site in the Park East corridor has not been mentioned, but it is likely the group will look at land near the Bradley Center, where they can take advantage of nearby parking structures and larger blocks there.

Some alderman and City staff have suggested the soccer investors consider bulding a stadium on the Pabst brewery land, but the investors have dismissed that idea. The Pabst suggestions have only come about from some of the people who are opposed to the current proposed redevelopment plans for PabstCity that involve a new entertainment/office/retail/residential district to be built there.

The group of soccer investors, Milwaukee Profession Soccer LLC is being led by Peter Wilt (who has experience managing sports teams, specifically soccer--he helped create and manage the MLS Chicago Fire) and Marty Greenberg (a nationally reknowned sports facility financier and developer). Convincing the City and County to approve their plans would go a long way in helping show those in charge of the soccer league that Milwaukee is serious about wanting to attract an expansion team. A previous attempt back in 2001-02 fell through.

More in the Journal Sentinel: Group makes soccer plans official (http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/jul05/340826.asp)

And on the Milwaukee Professional Soccer (http://www.milwaukeeprosoccer.com/) website.

Jul 15, 2005, 6:13 AM
More high-quality development is in store for the Park East corridor. Having demolished the old Milwaukee Center for Independence building, Big Bend Development has finally unveiled plans for a condominium complex for the site. The project, known as The Terraces after the design technique used to accommodate the steeply-sloped site, will planned to include two 13-story towers, one 8-story tower, eight townhouses with small back yards, street-level storefronts, and an underground parking garage with terraced roof gardens. In total, the $45 million development will have 130 one-to-three-bedroom condo units ranging in price from $160,000 to $1 million.

^ The Terraces project is proposed for a site along E. Ogden Avenue (behind the two glassy towers) between N. Broadway (left) and N. Milwaukee Street (right). The City modified the height restrictions in the Park East corridor master plan to allow the taller towers, which in turn, made more room for on-site open space.

Pending final approval and design tweaks from the City, developers hope to break ground b ythe end of this year, with the first few buildings ready by 2007, and the remainder by 2009.

Details in the Journal Sentinel: Park East condo plan has more than buildings - Design calls for roof gardens, terraced park (http://www.jsonline.com/bym/news/jul05/341091.asp)


Meanwhile, over the river a few block away, Brewery Works Inc. is planning to build Pleasant Street Market, a neighborhood shopping center situated at the southern end of the Beerline corridor. The site, at the corner of W. Pleasant and N. Commerce Streets is currently a surface parking lot along the Milwaukee River, but strategically located for retail uses between the Schlitz Park office complex and the booming Brwers Hill and Beerline residential areas.

The $12 million proposal will be built in new urbanist fashion, with buildings up close to the street, wrapped around a parking lot in the middle of the site. It will also include an outdoor plaza and a segment of RiverWalk. The shopping center will be anchored by a yet-to-be-named upscale grocery store owned and operated by John Nehring and Anne Finch-Nehring, who already own several such specialty stores in the Milwaukee area (V. Richards Market; G. Groppi Food Market; the Sendik's in Shorewood, a wine bar/cafe in Shorewood, and a bakery/cafe in Shorewood). Developers are pursuing tenants for the remainder of the space as well, which may include a restaurant, coffee shop, and bank branch. Pending City approvals, developers hope to begin construction this fall with a grand opening next summer.

More info in the Journal Sentinel: Nehrings are in the market for a new venture - Owners of upscale food stores are planning new grocery along river near Brewers Hill (http://www.jsonline.com/bym/news/jul05/341093.asp)

Tom In Chicago
Jul 15, 2005, 7:34 PM
^Very nice. . . looking forward to this development. . .

ReddAlert II
Jul 15, 2005, 9:11 PM
I really like this proposal. Anything that has a rooftop garden is cool.


Is this the first condo proposal for the PE by the way?

Also, how much total land does the PE offer for development? If this soccer stadium pans out...how much room for development will be left?

Jul 15, 2005, 11:22 PM
If my memory serves me right, the soccer stadium kind of fizzled into oblivion. Don't quote me on it, but I haven't heard anything of this in a long time.

On this new garden condo.....very nice. I really can't argue with any of the design points. I also like the short row of rowhouses. :)

ReddAlert II
Jul 16, 2005, 2:20 AM
its been all over the news the last week. Too bad the idiot hacked SSC. There was so decent discussion on the issue. By the way...will all of the Milwaukee threads be gone?! I sure hope not, because those had alot of good info, photos, and discussion in them as well.

Jul 16, 2005, 2:50 AM
I really like this proposal. Anything that has a rooftop garden is cool.


Is this the first condo proposal for the PE by the way?

Also, how much total land does the PE offer for development? If this soccer stadium pans out...how much room for development will be left?

Hey there. I see you've found an alternative place to hang out...

Anyway, this is the third separate condo project proposed for the Park East corridor. The City and County recently made some approvals for the other two within the past couple of months.

There is also another large apartment/condo/retail in the works on the site of the old Pfister & Vogel tannery on Water Street--but a formal unveiling of that one has not happened yet.

There are about 64 acres of land in the Park East corridor, total. About 25-26 or so acres were actually occupied by the old freeway, the remainder comes from adjacent blocks that are mostly surface parking lots or occupied, but underutilized buildings. So there's a lot that can be done in the area.

Assuming the soccer stadium pans out (and there are many many obstacles to overcome along the way), the stadium itself probably wouldn't take up more than two city blocks in that area (about 4-5 acres), and they also have plans to do some other mixed-use stuff in addition to the stadium (and so far, they haven't publically said what that all entails, how much additional land that would be, etc.).

We'll find out more when the soccer group makes a bid for the specific site in the PE corridor that they'd like to get (pretty sure they're aiming for the site between 4th/6th Streets and Juneau/McKinley, near the Bradley Center). The County is supposed to put that land up for sale sometime this fall, and the soccer group will then make a bid for it. If the County is going to do a request for proposals like they've done with other blocks in PE corridor already, the soccer group may have to compete with other developers who want to do their own projects on that same land. That is just one of the hurdles that must be cleared for the stadium. Along the way, they'll also have to sway City leaders that a stadium is appropriate there and win approval from them as well. Then there's the financing that has to be secured (public and private--mostly private, they say). At the same time, the soccer group must also convince the league that Milwaukee should be granted an expansion team--and the willingness of our local governments would go a long way in helping on that front.

If none of that works for a Park East site, the soccer group will have to come up with something else, or fizzle out altogether like the previous attempt in 2001-02.

Jul 16, 2005, 2:52 AM
As for SSC, this wouldn't be the first time we'd have to start over from scratch, if that's what it comes down to. We'll just have to wait and see.

ReddAlert II
Jul 16, 2005, 3:41 AM
lol...yeah this site is actually kind of nicer. It seems to load a hell of alot faster than SSC. :) It seems alot of the other regulars at SSC have come here.

Anywho..thanks for the info about the PE. I didnt even realize how much space they have to work with. When this all fills in .we will have nice condos and housing on each side of downtown. More downtown condos means more people, especially young proffesionals....which also means better businesses, shops, resturants, bars etc. will want to move in as well. With PabstCity, Water St., Park East developments, Bradley Center, and hopefully a soccer stadium...I think that area of downtown could become very vibrant.

I dont know too much about Urban Planning..but could this have a positive effect on the rougher areas on the north side of downtown? I guess its the same for the Third Ward area as well. Im guessing these ghetto houses/apartments in the area are dirt cheap. If the Park East pans out to be a success...alot of people may start buying some of these houses, which actually are quite nice looking. From what I read...the Third Ward was pretty bad back before the yuppies came in. This area could become the new hot spot of Milwaukee potentially.

Jul 16, 2005, 7:22 AM
Those PE renderings look great.

Jul 16, 2005, 6:08 PM
I dont know too much about Urban Planning..but could this have a positive effect on the rougher areas on the north side of downtown? I guess its the same for the Third Ward area as well. Im guessing these ghetto houses/apartments in the area are dirt cheap. If the Park East pans out to be a success...alot of people may start buying some of these houses, which actually are quite nice looking. From what I read...the Third Ward was pretty bad back before the yuppies came in. This area could become the new hot spot of Milwaukee potentially.

That is the overall intention of urban redevelopment, yes. A project in one area, be it a new building or fixing up an older one, might act as a catalyst for other projects nearby...sort of a "spill-over" effect. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Jul 17, 2005, 1:30 AM
It's kind of funny, this area of downtown is so under appreciated, and in many places, very ugly. And if all goes through as planned, the whole downtown would be world class... Anyway...

Soccer stadium investor under federal investigation
Suit also says he owes bank $288,000
Posted: July 15, 2005
One of the four named investors in a proposed multimillion-dollar soccer stadium development downtown said Friday that he is under investigation by a federal agency but insisted that matter and a related lawsuit in Milwaukee County would be cleared up.

Rick C. Bergman of Grafton declined to name the federal agency that was involved.

"They asked me not to discuss it with anybody," Bergman said.

The lawsuit states that Bergman owes a Delafield bank more than $288,000 for allegedly failing to repay a loan.

Asked if the federal probe and the suit might jeopardize his investment in the soccer project, Bergman said: "Whatever happens in court, there are assets that will satisfy everyone. Nobody will be out any money."

U.S. Attorney Steven M. Biskupic was not available for comment. Bergman's attorney in the lawsuit, Hugh Braun, said he knew nothing about a federal probe.

Bergman is a partner in Pegasus ParkEast Partners LLC, a holding company for Milwaukee Professional Soccer LLC. The group announced earlier this week a $320 million mixed-use development that includes a $40 million to $60 million soccer stadium, retail and office space, and family housing.

The group includes Milwaukee sports attorney Marty Greenberg and two doctors, Ashok Kumar and John Mazzulla.

The partnership announced the hiring of Peter Wilt, an experienced soccer executive, as chief executive officer. Wilt, general manager of the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer, is in charge of securing an MLS franchise and getting the soccer stadium project off the ground.

Greenberg said the group had 10 other potential investors who could not be identified because they had signed confidentiality clauses with MLS.

In the Milwaukee County lawsuit, Town Bank, formerly known as Delafield State Bank, is seeking more than $288,000, plus interest. According to the suit, Bergman signed a note that required a single payment of the principal and accrued interest on Oct. 22, 2004. The suit says Bergman did not make the payment and is now three to four months behind on his property taxes.

An attorney handling the suit for Town Bank declined to comment.

In 2002, Bergman was sued by the state Department of Revenue for non-payment of taxes. The matter was closed when Bergman paid $15,484.

Meanwhile Friday, Wilt said the group had a specific site in mind in the Park East corridor between N. 4th and N. 6th streets. That site is just north of the Bradley Center.

At this week's press conference, officials said the group hoped to work with the Bradley Center board to use existing parking lots for the new development.

But Bradley Center spokesman Evan Zeppos said the Bradley Center board has its own plans to develop the site. He added that Bradley Center officials were in discussions with the Forest County Potawatomi to move their casino downtown near the Bradley Center.

Andrea Rowe Richards, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of City Development, said that the proposed soccer stadium does not fit into the city's Park East redevelopment plan. To accommodate a stadium, Richards said, the group would have to obtain new city legislation to amend the existing redevelopment plan. That would require approval by the Redevelopment Authority and the city's Common Council, she said.

While the city is opposed to locating the project in the Park East, County Executive Scott Walker said this week that the Park East would be a good site.

From the July 16, 2005, editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Jul 18, 2005, 6:07 AM
Downtown Milwaukee is losing another major corporate tenant--at least thankfully, not to the suburbs, but still in the city on the South Side. Rockwell Automation will be moving its corporate offices out of the US Bank Center and into the landmark Rockwell Automation main building (a.k.a. the Allen Bradley building) on S. 2nd Street. Rockwell is working with real estate brokers to find a tenant to sublease the soon-to-be-empty 53,000 square feet of office space in the US Bank Center. It is not yet known if these plans will affect the possibility of developing Lake Point Tower (sister tower to US Bank Center).

This is the second blow to the Downtown office market in the past week. Last week, Blue Cross Blue Shield announced it was vacating its office building at 5th and Michigan Streets and relocating to office space in suburban West Allis.

Full story in the Business Journal: Rockwell exits bank tower - Headquarters moves to south side site (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/07/18/story1.html)


One of the points of debate among City officals over PabstCity involves an occupancy clause supported by some Common Council members. The clause would require PabstCity developers to have the project's three main anchor tenants (House of Blues--which has reportedly signed a lease already, though there's growing speculation that it actually hasn't yet; SegaGameWorks and Marcus Theaters--neither of which have signed leases yet, but have submitted letters of intent to lease) agree to a 10-year unbreakable lease, basically to prevent them from bailing out. Another proposed amendment would require the city's aldermen to approve a development agreement with PabstCity developers, instead of going through the Department of City Development (which is the standard procedure).

In addition, the developers are pursuing a big-box retailer for 90,000 square feet of space in an existing building along W. Winnebago Street. Rumored to be one of the possible candidates is Best Buy. City officials met with reps from Best Buy during the International Council of Shopping Centers convention back in May, and pitched sites at PabstCity and other locations in the city. Of course, there is also a chance the 90,000 square foot building could be divided into smaller spaces to accommodate smaller retailers.

And some opponents are speculating that PabstCity develoeprs are looking to recruit Wal-Mart, based on a statement made several months ago by Jerry Franke, president of Wispark, saying that they may have to demolish many of the former brewing buildings north of Juneau Avenue "in favor of a new Wal-Mart or other big box retailer."

More in the Business Journal article: A case of the blues for PabstCity - Developers also seek 'big box' retailer (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/07/18/story3.html)


Here is a guest editorial in the Business Journal from Craig Peterson, president of a public relations and lobbying firm (Zigman Joseph Stephenson) that is representing downtown businesses opposed to the PabstCity proposal. He makes a case for how the House of Blues could be harmful to Milwaukee based on other cities' failed or misled leasing and loan agreements they made with HOB. He also touches the use (or possible misuse) of federal historic tax credits that are supposed to be used to renovate historic buildings, as well as questionable use of the proposed tax increment financing that would also help pay for the project: PabstCity project will make city sing the blues (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/07/18/editorial4.html?page=1)


Here is a letter from a Business Journal reader, who raises the point that the city and metro need a vision for Downtown Milwaukee that will create a vibrant, walkable, unique, viable place. He suggests that certain proposed developments may actually run counter to creating that vision: Vision needed for downtown Milwaukee (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/07/18/editorial5.html)

Jul 18, 2005, 2:07 PM
^with the US bank building losing tenants, I wonder how that will play in the plans to develop a second tower. That would be a tremendous blow if that got totally tanked, as I think milwaukee could definitely use another 600+. I know there are other projects going on, they are just aren't that big. Lets just be hopeful this one stays afloat.

Jul 18, 2005, 11:36 PM
No demand for such a building = no building

Jul 19, 2005, 6:33 AM
Could a design competition this fall lead to an actual re-design of the poorly-designed, 1960s-era, inhospitable, unwelcoming, cold-hearted, lackluster, underutilized MacArthur Square at Milwaukee's Civic Center?

That's what Bob Greenstreet, the City's planning director (and dean of UWM's School of Architecture and Urban Planning) wants to know. The Richard and Ethel Herzfeld Foundation--an organization that gioves grants for or educational, cultural and civic projects--is providing he City with $50,000 to host a design competiton to at least come up with some conceptual ideas. Although the Downtown Master Plan already makes a few suggestions for improving MacArthur Square, the design competition could inspire new ideas or explore the possibilities of those outlined in the plan. The competition, however, does not garauntee the square would actually ever get a makeover for real...at least not at this time.

The site has several challenges. Most of the buildings fronting the square actually turn their backs on the square. The main pedestrian level of the square is elevated above surrounding streets; it is actually the roof of the large parking garage below (whcih is leaking and in need of repairs). Because of this, pedestrian access is severely limited to some out-of-the-way stairways and some spiraling pedestrain ramps. The I-43/Kilbourn Avenue on/off ramps burried beneath the underground garage could further complicate matters.

Also, in a separate, yet related effort, the City is currently analyzing the square for general structural and design improvements that are needed anyway, regardless of the competition. The roof is leaking and some interior improvementsare needed to make the garage comply with upgraded building codes (disability access, heating/ventialtion issues, etc.). Such improvements are expected to cost several million dollars. But it is possible that the design competiton could be tied into some of those general maintanece issues, if the City so chooses.

While the scope of the competition invitations hasn't been determined yet, the Herzfeld Foundation president said that due to the small amount of the grant, it would likely be limited to local firms.

Read about it in the Journal Sentinel: Redesign could be rebirth of MacArthur Square - $50,000 grant to fund design competition (http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/jul05/341944.asp)

Jul 24, 2005, 12:02 AM
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is considering purchasing a 5-mile segment of recently-abandoned railroad grade to accommodate a westward extension of the Hank Arron State Trail. The HAST, which has been in development for several years, is envisioned as the Milwaukee-area linkage in a series of trails that would span from Lake Michigan across the state to the Mississppi River. Some portions of the HAST exist already in Milwaukee, either as on-street bike routes or off-street pathways through the Menomonee Valley. Other segments are under construction as part of the current Canal Street extension down in the Valley or future marked bike lanes on city streets.

^ This map shows where the Hank Arron State Trail either exists or is under development, as well as the proposed westward extension via the abandoned railroad grade. That extension runs past several major area attractions as indicated on the map, as well as some not shown--like the Soldiers Home/Veterans Administration historic district (just southwest of Miller Park). The trail extension would also intersect with the existing Milwaukee County Oak Leaf Trail and provide access to the Brookfield Greenway Trail and the New Berlin Trail, which in turn ties into the Glacial Drumlin State Trail that leads to Madison.

The DNR's potential purchase of the railroad grade could allow the linkages to happen faster, as the agency wouldn't be bogged down trying to get access rights and easments from property owners and municipalities if an extension were pursued on non-railroad land.

See the Journal Sentinel article for more info: 5-mile rail purchase could hasten bike path - Hank Aaron State Trail would extend westward (http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/jul05/343234.asp)

Also have a look at the DNR's Hank Aaron State Trail website (http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/land/parks/specific/hank_aaron/).

Jul 24, 2005, 4:12 PM
No demand for such a building = no building

Not the case for the ESB. ;) But here in Milwaukee, where people are now getting weary of maybe oversaturating the market, you're completely right.

Jul 25, 2005, 6:10 AM
The debate over "escape clauses" contained within PabstCity anchor tenant leases is explored in lengthy detail in this Journal Sentienl artcile from today: PabstCity critics fear anchors won't stay - Escape clauses tied to project worry alderman (http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/jul05/343535.asp)


Brewers owner Mark Attanasio hoped some upgrades to Miller Park will increase revenue for the team. Among the proposed improvements under consideration: expanding the TGI Friday's restaurant, replaing some of the suites with a martini bar, selling more advertising space by installing digital billboards along the interior facade, and replacing the main scoreboard. Funding for at least some of those improvements could be taken from a special account that was set up for stadium upgrade projects.

More in the Business Journal: Brewers want stadium upgrades - Club considers ad panels, digital scoreboard (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/07/25/story4.html?page=1)


Plans for the Milwaukee Connector--a proposed transit line that would link Downtown with the Menomonee Valley, the East Side, and North Side neighborhoods--have been kept at a pretty low profile since the study eliminated a light rail system from the list of options a couple years ago. Since then, planners have been focusing on a tram system (aka a "guided bus system") similar to ones being used in a handful of cities in Europe (with mixed results), and untested so far here in the US. The trams are electrically-powered, rubber-tired vehicles that are guided along the roadway via a single rail embedded in the street.

This fall, the Milwaukee Connector planners will unveil their full plans for the tram system at a series of public information meetings and feedback sessions (dates yet to be determined). That's when the debate will heat up again.

Obstacles for the plan will undoubtedly arise, including, but not limited to:
- Project funding sources (estimated $300 million start-up cost, the City/Coutny has been sitting on $91 million from the federal government with the intension of being used for some kind of transit-related project)
- County Executive Scott Walker, who feels money would be better spent improving the existing bus system
- Long-time light rail advocate and Downtown Alderman Robert Bauman, who feels the tram system is a means of constructing a second-rate transit mode on the cheap

More details in Business Journal artcile: Tram system on track for debate (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/07/25/newscolumn1.html?page=1)

Also have a look at the Milwaukee Connector website (http://www.milwaukeeconnector.com/)...

And Alderman Bauman's stance on the issue:
1) Downtown Transit Corridor Study (http://www.city.milwaukee.gov/display/router.asp?docid=7195)
2) Why Guided Buses are a Bad Idea (http://www.city.milwaukee.gov/display/router.asp?docid=7238)

Jul 26, 2005, 7:45 PM
I could cry. :(

Council says no to PabstCity project
9-6 vote against financing help probably kills $317 million development plan
Posted: July 26, 2005
The Milwaukee Common Council today voted against providing $41 million in city financing for the proposed redevelopment of the former Pabst brewery into a downtown entertainment and shopping area.

The council’s 9-6 vote appears to have killed the $317 million development, known as PabstCity, which would have created a concert venue, cinema, restaurants, nightclubs, shops, housing and offices.

Without city financing, the PabstCity project won’t happen, said Jerry Franke, president of Wispark LLC, one of the project’s developers. Wispark and its partners, including Cleveland-based Ferchill Group, bought the former Pabst brewery in September 2002 for $10.3 million, and unveiled the PabstCity plan in February 2003.

It’s not known what the developers will do next. One possibility might be a less ambitious plan that would seek a reduced amount of city financing.

It would be the second time that Wispark and Ferchill have scaled down their plans for the site. The developers last year had discussed the possibility of a $395 million development with $75 million in city subsidies. After Mayor Tom Barrett and other city officials raised concerns, the development was downsized by reducing the number of buildings that Wispark planned to restore, and by shrinking the proposed parking structures.

The revised city financing of $41 million, plus $38 million of interest, would have been paid off by PabstCity’s property taxes. The city money would not have been provided unless the developers completed their financing package and were able to begin construction.

So far, PabstCity has leases or preliminary commitments with three anchor tenants: a House of Blues concert hall and restaurant, GameWorks gaming center and restaurant and a 10-screen cinema operated by Marcus Corp. Those three businesses would total around 127,000 square feet.

PabstCity’s 1.1 million square feet would have included 488,000 square feet of entertainment and retail space; 250 condominiums and apartments totaling 381,100 square feet, and 257,000 square feet of offices.

PabstCity supporters say the development would preserve some of the dilapidated former brewery buildings, and transform a blighted area into a regional destination that would attract visitors from throughout southeastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

They say PabstCity’s benefits would include 1,100 jobs within its various businesses, 1,000 construction jobs and $2.7 million in annual property tax revenue - enough to pay off the city’s $79 million subsidy within 30 years. Once the subsidy was paid off, the property taxes would go to the city, Milwaukee Public Schools and other local government units.

Opponents say city taxpayers should not subsidize a development that would draw an estimated 50% to 70% of its sales from existing Milwaukee-area restaurants and other businesses. They are skeptical about the extent of the development’s benefits, with some arguing that most of the jobs created would pay relatively low service-industry wages.

They also question the long-term viability of PabstCity. Opponents raise comparisons to Shops of Grand Avenue, another subsidized downtown development that was initially successful but then saw declining sales. The Grand Avenue is now on the upswing, but needed another boost in city financing.

Also, some opponents say PabstCity’s developers want to tear down too many former brewery buildings. Franke, however, says PabstCity would preserve some of the brewery’s most prominent buildings, while demolishing building that would be too expensive to restore.

How They Voted
YES: Ashanti Hamilton; Joe Davis; Bob Bauman; Willie Wade; Jim Witkowiak; Terry Witkowski.

NO: Mike D'Amato; Jim Bohl; Michael McGee; Bob Donovan; Robert Puente; Michael Murphy; Joe Dudzik; Tony Zielinski; Willie Hines.

Jul 26, 2005, 8:31 PM
I could clap.

Redeveloping the Pabst brewerery is not necessarily dead, just the current proposed incarnation of it, which leaves much to be desired.

This is actually good news becase it allows the chance for the Pabst Brewery to be redeveloped in a more appropriate, sustainable, smarter manner.

Jul 26, 2005, 10:21 PM
An article from the Daily Reporter this afternoon hints that there are indeed other development proposals for the Pabst brewery from other developers that have been in the works. Now that the Wispark/Ferchill effort has been denied, we will see these other proposals come forward (not to mention Wispark/Ferchill have not yet decided what their own next step will be).

Furthermore, James Haertel and his group of investors, which is still a minority-owner in the PabstCity project (who we haven't heard from in a while), say they are sticking to their plans of bringing a Hofbrauhaus tavern/restaurant and a Museum of Beer and Brewing into the former Pabst office building/gift shop/welcome center--as they have been planning since the very beginning.

From the Daily Reporter: PabstCity project rejected - Opponents say another development is brewing (http://www.dailyreporter.com/item.cfm?recid=20037817&snippet=f)

Jul 28, 2005, 9:16 PM
An alternative redevelopment plan for the Pabst complex is breweing, albeit at a very vague and conceptual phase for the time being. Local restauranteur John Vassallo has been working with architects and developers on a new vision for the old brewery in hopes of creating a more favorable project.

Vassallo was one of the more vocal critics of the PabstCity proposal from Wispark/Ferchill Group (who still own the entire brewery complex), which called for demolition of several old buildings dating back to the late-1800s to create a mixed-use entertainment/office/residential district that was to require a $41 tax incremental financing package from the City, plus several million dollars worth of public dollars from other government funding sources, as well as private money. Critics also raised questions about the viability of the major anchor tenants (those that were announced, anyway--House of Blues, SegaGameworks, and Marcus Theaters), as well as other possible tenants whose names were not released to the public. Earlier this week at a controversial Common Council meeting, aldermen turned down the developers request for the $41 million TIF.


^ Vassallo's vision also calls for a mixed-use district, but there appears to be less of an emphasis on entertainment-based uses and would preserve more of the historic brewery buildings. The proposal calls for 1065 residential units; 91,800 square feet of retail space; 280,000 square feet of office space, 2045 parking spaces (most in parking stuctures); and a 67,200 suqare-foot School of Energy Management (whatever that is, perhaps a new department for the Milwaukee Area Technical College whic is right across the street from the Pabst site??).

The plans are very preliminary at this point, however, and Vassallo does not have financial backing right now, nor does he own the property in question--all very unorthodox methods for a redevelopment proposal. It is more likely that he is attempting to get the ball rolling on on coming up with new, and hopefully more favorable ideas for the site rather than being an official, final proposal.

More in-depth coverage can be found in these articles:

From the Journal Sentinel: Restaurateur floats idea for PabstCity - But alternate plan by owner of Mo's steakhouse lacks investors, details (http://www.jsonline.com/bym/news/jul05/344263.asp)

And the Business Journal: 'Johnny V' floats new plan for PabstCity site (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/07/25/daily29.html)

Jul 29, 2005, 5:04 AM
Milwaukee Professional Soccer, the organization trying to land a Major League Soccer team in town, has a lot of work to do and looks like it will face a major uphill battle. Developers are proposing a $320 million mixed-use development which includes a $40-60 million soccer stadium, but the project is still very much in it's early stages. In addition to the stadium, the latest plans include 250,000 square feet of retail space, 300,000 square feet of office space, and penthouse apartments on the upper floor. Realizing an anchor tenant is cruicial, developers are "cautiously optimistic" about a particular firm they've been in talks with which would bring 1000 white-collar jobs to the office component.

Most of the project would be privately-financed, but the organization plans to seek some public money along the lines of a $25 million TIF and new-market tax credits. So far the group has a 4-person investor group lined up, and they are in talks with another 10 interested people to help back the plan financially.

At the same time, the group is planning to meeting with leaders of the soccer league in order to actually secure a team for Milwaukee, which if everything else falls into place, they hope would start playing for the 2008 season.

As of right now, there seems to be little public support for a soccer team outside the die-hard soccer community.

The developers preferred location for the stadium and development is a site in the Park East corridor (no indication where in the corridor, at least not reported in the media, but I do know they have a specific site in mind that is currently owned by the County and is supposed to go up for sale in November). County Executive Scott Walker has not endorsed any plans, but he is open to the idea of a Park East site. The Department of City Development, however, appears to be against any Park East site. So the developers are also considering two alternative sites near the Summerfest Grounds. Mayor Barrett has not taken a position on the stadium development, but a spokesperson said a soccer stadium does not create a lot of jobs (however, he is neglecting the jobs from the non-stadium components).

Info from this Journal Sentinel article: Soccer investors hope for chance - After PabstCity failed, group questions future (http://www.jsonline.com/bym/news/jul05/344534.asp)

And also and article from the Madison Soccer Central website: MLS: Wilt discusses Milwaukee plan - Clarifies proposals, says grassroots effort needed to land franchise (http://www.madisonsoccercentral.com/milwaukee-mls.html)

Aug 1, 2005, 6:34 AM
As expected, a bunch of articles about PabstCity have cropped up the past few days. So let's kick off the third year of SSP's "Milwaukee Development News" thread with that...

Some members of the local real estate circle anticipate PabstCity developers will go "back to the drawing board," to come up with a more workable redevelopment plan for the old brewery. A more workable plan, is one that would most likely have developers seek out a smaller TIF from the City. One way to reduce costs would be to demolish more buildings to make way for new ones, because the cost to rehab is more than the cost for new construction ($350 per suqare foot to rehab versus $150 per square foot for new construction, according to developers). Starting over could also mean a shift in land uses as well, perhaps with additional emphasis on housing. Some real estate experts, however, say there are better sites in the Downtown area, where the land is cheaper and the locations more attractive, to develop housing.

PabstCity developers have not made any statements about what their next move will be, but it is likely they'll explore some options, perhaps even selling the property to someone else if they decide not to move forward with a new plan.

^ Future development of some kind awaits the vacant Pabst brewery complex, as well as the cleared land opened up in the Park East corridor.

More info in the Journal Sentinel article: Thinking smaller may be only way to go for Pabst site - Fewer historic buildings, more housing possible (http://www.jsonline.com/bym/news/jul05/345197.asp)


Meanwhile, other developers are waiting in the wings to see what happens with the Pabst site, perhaps so they could take over with their own ideas, or perhaps to join PabstCity developers to come up with a new plan. Short of those options, there are many people offering their opinions at least!

Representatives from the Scion Group believe the brewery is ideally suited for centrally-located off-campus housing for Milwaukee's colleges and universities. Coupled with the entertainment uses that were proposed for PabstCity, student housing there could be successful. Student housing could be developed there for Marquette University (a few blocks to the southwest), UW-Milwaukee (a few miles to the northeast), Milwaukee School of Engineering (a few blocks to the east), Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (in the Third Ward), and even the Milwaukee Area Technical College (main downtown campus right across the street). Right now, Scion is converting a building on W. Wisconsin Avenue into off-campus student housing for Marquette, but has been considering looking at locations in the Downtown area for future projects.

Then there is the redevelopment vision (moreso than an actual proposal) from John Vassallo that was released last week. It includes over 1000 housing units (vs. 250 units for PabstCity); 280,000 square feet of office space (vs. 250,000 sq ft for PabstCity) 92,000 square feet of retail space (vs. 488,000 sq ft of entertainment and retail space proposed for PabstCity); 2045 parking spaces (vs. 3800 spaces for PabstCity); and a 67,200 square-foot "School of Energy Management" (yet-to-be-explained). Vassallo's vision, however, lacks details, financing plans, investors, or land ownership.

Another development alternative is the soccer stadium/mixed-use project being proposed by the Pegasus ParkEast Partners (Greenberg, Wilt, et al), which is currently being proposed for a site in the Park East coirridor north of the Bradley Center. However, Aldermen D'Amato (who is a soccer fan) and Zielinski (who represents part of the heavily-Hispanic soccer-loving South Side), are trying to convince Greenberg to relocate his plans to the Pabst site. So far, the soccer group remains committed to the Park East site, and is looking at land owned by the Italian Community Center (Third Ward) as a second-choice backup site.

And still other Milwaukee-area developers feel that Wispark/Ferchill should look at Park East land along Water Street for the entertainment uses that were proposed for PabstCity (which would follow more in line with the City's adopted Downtown Plan and Park East Redevelopment Plan).

Read more in this Business Journal article: Several proposals queue up at Pabst site (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/08/01/story2.html)


Another article from the Business Journal reports on how PabstCity opponents mounted their eleventh-hour campaign to succesfuly prevent the Common Council from approving the $41 million in financial assistance requested by the developers. Indeed their efforts included spreading around certain pieces of misinformation (namely the purpose and source of tax increment financing), political threats, and questionable doom-and-gloom projections of new business competition. On the other side, PabstCity developers did little to try to clear up the confusion and misinformation, and perhaps failed to release more information about their proposal. Also, two of the more influential and loudest government vocies amogn PabstCity supporters (Mayor Barrett and Dept. of City Development Commissioner "Rocky" Marcoux were out on planned vacations the week before last week's Common Council vote--allowing opponents lots of time to get thier message spread. Read all about it: Attack on PabstCity a nasty brew (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/08/01/newscolumn1.html)


And, believe it or not, some non-PabstCity stories...

With all of the new upscale housing and retail development going on in the Beerline area along N. Commerce Street, the owner of National Maintenance Company--the last reamining industrial occupant of the area--is putting his land and building up for sale. The 1.3-acre propoerty has 300 feet of river frontage (where no doubt a RiverWalk extension will be built along with whatever gets developed there) is going for $2.2 million. Owner Robert Page does not know where he will relocate his business, but he is looking.

The site, on which the company's two single-story metal warehouse buildings sit (certainly to be removed to make way for new development) is located just south of the Humboldt Street Bridge over the Milwaukee River.

From the Business Journal: Last Beerline industrial building put on sale block (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/08/01/newscolumn2.html)


The Business Journal also has an article telling the story of City Ventures--a small company run by four neighbors who are undertaking an an effort to revitalize the Washington Park and Sherman Park neighborhoods. The compnay first started five years ago...buying run-down houses, fixing them up, and then renting them to local residents. Today, the small company owns 62 rental properties and has now began its first ever new-construction project with a three-bedroom house on the 4200 block of W. Garfield Avenue. City Ventures has options on four other lots in the area, and has future plans for a 20-unit condo building in the area, and probably more new houses as well. More about this grassroots, inner-city entrepenurial effort can be found in the article: City Ventures building homes on Milwaukee's west side (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/08/01/focus1.html)

Aug 2, 2005, 5:44 PM
The Journal Sentinel has an interview with Peter Wilt, CEO of the Milwaukee Profesional Soccer organization, which is proposing an outdoor soccer stadium and mixed-use development for a Downtown location in the Park East corridor: Wilt leads push for soccer stadium, MLS team (http://www.jsonline.com/sports/socc/aug05/345396.asp)

Aug 2, 2005, 9:29 PM
anyone opinions on the new transportation bill?
I was pleasantly surprised to see the Metra extension funding

Aug 9, 2005, 1:18 AM
Kendall Breunig, a developer from Franklin, is making plans to convert the old Hack Furniture warehouse in Downtown into a mixed-use development. The warehouse, which is actually a combination of several connected buildings, sits on the southwest corner of W. St. Paul and N. Plankinton Avenues, near the Post Office. Breunig is working with architects to determine how the 320,000 square-foot building can be converted into condos, apartments, and retail space. One of his previous warehouse conversions is the former Lo Duca building, now known as the Commission House, a few blocks away, across the river in the Third Ward.

The Hack Furniture warehouse was recently identified by members of the local real estate industry as being one of the most underutilitzed/underdeveloped properties in Downtown Milwaukee. Two earlier efforts from different developers (in 1994 and 2000) to convert the building into housing and retail uses never came to fruition.

From the Business Journal: Another plan for Hack site - Franklin developer wants residential, retail at old furniture warehouse (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/08/08/story4.html)


A few months ago Milwaukee County officials issued a request for proposals to developers for another piece of County-owned land in the Park East corridor. The 2-acre site was near the eastern end of the corridor, bounded by E. Ogden Avenue, N. Broadway, N. Milwaukee, and N. Water Streets. The County is offering $2.83 million for the land.

Only two development teams sumbmitted proposals, but descriptions of those plans have not yet been released. Responding to the RFP were:

- A team from New York City, Full Spectrum of NY L.L.C. and Schultz Development Co.
- A team from the Midwest represented by the Ryan Company of Minneapolis; RSC & Associates of Chicago; and Legat & Barrientos, a Milwaukee architectural firm.

A County committee will weigh in on the two proposals to determine which one to recommend for approval from the full County Board.

Earlier this summer, the County awarded its first Park East corrdior RFP (a 2-acre site on the block immedately east of this latest one) to the RSC & Associates development team. RSC's winning entry for that site is a $40 million condo/retail proposal. That RFP also only received two submissions, from over 150 invitations.

From the Business Journal: Two groups bid on county Park East site (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/08/08/story6.html)


Here is an editorial from the Business Journal regarding the Common Council's action on the PabstCity project: So where is that PabstCity alternative plan? (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/08/08/editorial2.html)


Also from the Business Journal, is an opinion piece from Frank Busalacchi, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, regarding the fate of Amtrak and what it means for the whole state of Wisconsin: All aboard a future with passenger rail (http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/stories/2005/08/08/editorial4.html)


The recent federal transportation bill which received congressional approval provides some much-needed funding for a couple Milwaukee-area rail projects.

The bill provides $80 million for a proposed extension of Chicago's Metra commuter trains from Kenosha into Milwaukee, via Racine and several south shore suburbs. While that money is definitely not a guarantee the extension will happen, it does give the proposal a good shot in the arm, and is evidence that leaders in southeastern Wisconsin are serious about rail transportation. The initial start-up cost is estimated at $152 million (infrasturucture upgrades--tracks, signals, stations, etc,--and equipment purchases). The annual operating expenses are estimated at $18.6 million. The commuter rail line, however, is only estimated to generate $3.2 million in fares a year.

The preliminary engineering phase is set to begin soon, which will determine more detailed information about infrastructure improvements, equipment needed, and most importantly, how to pay for the consturction and operating costs not covered by federal aid and farebox returns. The recent State budget established a three-county transportation authority (Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha) to help oversee the project efforts, and provides the ability to esablish a $2 rental car tax--the proceeds of which would go toward helping fund the commuter rail service.

If local leaders really push the project along, and plans advance fast enough, the commuter service could be up and running by 2009--which would coincide with the reconstruction of the nearby I-94 freeway, a multi-year project scheduled to begin that same year.

The federal trasnportation bill also authorized $3.76 million for remodeling the Milwaukee Amtrak station into a multi-modal transportation center serving trains and buses. That funding is in addition to the $4 million worth of state, federal, and private financing already dedicated to the project. The earlier design for the station was mostly just a cosmetic interior and exterior makeover for the building that was critcized by City officials as being too inadequate to fit the intended uses and a rather lackluster gateway to Milwaukee. But now with more funding, WisDOT and its developers and architects have gone back to the drawing board to revise those plans. Furthermore, the City is also considering establishing a TIF district in the area, which could also provide more money for the project.

See the Journal Sentinel article for more details: Pulling into the station - Area train projects nearing fruition (http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/aug05/346919.asp)

Aug 13, 2005, 9:26 PM
In total, the $45 million development will have 130 one-to-three-bedroom condo units ranging in price from $160,000 to $1 million.

^the first few buildings ready by 2007, and the remainder by 2009.

Starting at $160,000??? Unbelievable! Hell I should purchase two or three of them just for an investment.

Aug 13, 2005, 9:40 PM
[QUOTE=Markitect ] In total, the $45 million development will have 130 one-to-three-bedroom condo units ranging in price from $160,000 to $1 million.

^the first few buildings ready by 2007, and the remainder by 2009.

BTW those look sweet. Great news for Milwaukee.

Aug 13, 2005, 10:23 PM
^ Best thing on the boards right now, imo.

Aug 15, 2005, 3:05 PM
Gated community proposed for central city
$3.5 million project's partners include church, Chicago agency
Posted: Aug. 14, 2005
For as long as anyone can remember, elders at Way of the Cross Missionary Baptist Church have been praying for something close to a miracle for a barren stretch of land between N. Teutonia Ave. and W. Hopkins St. near their church, on Milwaukee's north side.
The vision now taking shape for this former factory site along W. Center St. is unprecedented in Milwaukee: a $3.5 million community of 24 single-family homes, surrounded by a fence and shrubs and sharing a private road , with access controlled by gates.

The proposal for a gated community - more common to affluent suburbs than to blighted inner cities - has already drawn skepticism from officials of a city that is known for through streets and open neighborhoods. But it has also created a buzz throughout development circles and among prospective homebuyers.

The project already has 32 reservations for the two-story, three-bedroom townhouses with attached garages said E. Marty Payne, director of community relations for People's Action Redevelopment Coalition, the Chicago-based development agency that is partners with Way of the Cross on the project.

Access for residents will include "secured gated entrance access" from W. Hopkins and N. 13th streets and "gated access for fire vehicles and trash pickup" at an entrance on N. Teutonia.

The development is contingent on several factors, including a transfer of the land from the city to Way of the Cross, soil cleanup, a site review and other possible changes before construction could begin, the Department of City Development says.

According to the Department of City Development, there has never been a secure gated development proposed for the inner city, let alone any other neighborhood in Milwaukee.

The site had once been home to a Briggs & Stratton factory, but since the flight of industry from the neighborhood in the late 1970s and '80s, the land has been little more than a brownfield.

Failed proposals
Few proposals for development have come along over the years. Even the most promising - a senior housing complex - fizzled, recalls Phillip Carrington, a deacon of the church, who helped lead an attempt years ago to buy the land from the city for $1.

But a little over 10 months ago, the church came across what seemed like a perfect match in People's Action Redevelopment Coalition. Now the agency and elders of the 500-member church at 1401 W. Hadley St. are pushing to break ground. Way of the Cross will act as a marketing partner in the venture, Payne said, and the agency will be the owner and developer of the site.

The developers are not seeking government subsidies. They intend to finance the more than $300,000 it will take to clear the soil of toxins themselves, without seeking soil remediation funds from the city, in keeping with their policy of maintaining control of projects with the firm and the community groups it works with. They're in talks with Columbia Savings & Loan Association and North Milwaukee State and Legacy banks to provide mortgages for prospective buyers.

State Financial Bank will fund the development, pending the conveyance of the land to Way of the Cross, according to the developers.

The idea of a gated community runs against the grain of other housing development projects aimed at attracting middle-class homeowners to the city, and it comes with its own set of pros and cons, development experts say.

Lindsay Heights and CityHomes, two of the city's most recent projects, brought a mix of incomes to urban neighborhoods where a good number of residents formerly lived below the federal poverty level.

Both projects have helped raise values for existing properties and increased investment by creating traditional neighborhoods that are aimed at reinvigorating declining communities, as opposed to creating self-contained, inward-looking gated developments.

Can it work in Milwaukee?
But does that mean a gated development can't work in Milwaukee?

John McIlwain, a senior fellow for housing with the non-profit Urban Land Institute, in Washington, D.C., said similar developments have sprouted up in several urban areas, including two in Detroit.

"What you do is you control access," he said. "You control access to a building. You control access to a group of buildings. You put a fence around it . . . and you don't let anyone in unless they're announced or a resident. That's been done in low-income communities now for a couple of decades."

But at the same time, gated developments in blighted neighborhoods run the risk of scaring off investments, McIlwain said. They may help residents feel secure, but they run the risk of creating resentment among residents in poorer neighborhoods because they have the appearance of creating an island of affluence that is closed to other residents.

Way of the Cross Redevelopment Corp. insists its collaborative partnership with People's Action Redevelopment Coalition promises to do what other new housing projects have in the city: reinvigorate a neighborhood long on decline and attract investment.

It also comes along in what Mayor Tom Barrett and the Department of City Development describe as a housing boom for Milwaukee: Last year, the city issued 2,884 building permits for commercial and residential developments, compared with 1,000 such permits in 1986.

Barrett said he hasn't heard any objections to the development, and that he is always wary of making a commitment to such projects until he sits down with staff members who make recommendations on projects.

The coalition, which is near completing the construction of five homes on S. 5th St. and W. Arthur Ave., thinks the strength of the development is not only the gated community concept but also its partnership with Way of the Cross. The coalition will carry most of the risk on the project, according to Michael Woyan, executive director of the agency.

"We don't use Realtors. We don't advertise," Woyan said. "We reach directly into community-based organizations because they have resources far more than what they're taking into a collection plate. They have people who would like to own a home that wouldn't be able to if it wasn't for us kicking in the down payment."

Carrington, the church deacon, insists the gated concept will be a plus for the area.

"My whole thing is dealing with the people who live in the neighborhood around our church," he said. "Whatever we can do to improve the quality of life in that neighborhood, that's part of our outreach, and it's our reward for a project like this."

From the Aug. 15, 2005, editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Milwaukee’s first gated community would have 24 three-bedroom homes with attached garages on a parcel between N. Teutonia Ave. and W. Hopkins St
A gated community with 24 homes is being proposed for this triangular parcel of land along N. Teutonia Ave. and W. Center St. Looking southeast, downtown and Lake Michigan are visible at the top.

Aug 18, 2005, 8:43 PM
The vacant Gipfel Brewery building on the 400 block of W. Juneau Avenue (near the Bradley Center) may get a new life in a new location, according to plans from Ruvin Development. Ruvin would like to relocate the small historic building to a site next to the Sydney Hih building on the 300 block of W. Juneau Avenue (across the street and down a half block), which is another historic building Ruvin is currently renovating.

The former Gipfel Brewery building, now very much dilapidated, was placed on the City's historic designation back in 1985 for being a rare local example of Federal-style architecture. It is also the oldest surviving brewery building in the city (though not used as such for many many years). It was built in 1853 along what was then called "Brewery Row," as part of Milwaukee's fledgling brewing industry, and operated until the ealry-1890s. After that it was used for other industrial and commercial uses, and somehow managed to escape demolition for all these years while just about everything else in the neighborhood (except for the Sydney Hih) was bulldozed away for freeway projects, parking garages, and parking lots. More recent Gipfel owners unsuccessfully tried to get the building demolished, citing it was in such poor condition. The Bradley Center acquired the building a few years ago, hoping to turn it into a brew pub, but those plans fell through. More recently, the Bradley Center has been eyeing the site for possible expansion and/or a relocated Potawatomi Casino, which is currently under discussion. Relocating the Gipfel building would be one monor hurdle cleared for the casino proposal.

Ruvin envisions the Gipfel building to be placed at the west end of the Sydney Hih block, creating two "historic bookends" between which some new construction would be built (to replace the fire-damaged portions of the Sydney Hih). Ruvin also plans to acquire a piece of land just to the north, for a glassy 12-story tower on land once occupied by the Park East Freeway. He is working with Johnsen Schmaling Architects to blend together the modern and historic structures.

^ The historic former Gipfel Brewery building, now fenced off and boarded up, has seen better days in its 152 years.


More info in this Journal Sentinel article: Plans on tap to rejuvenate Gipfel Brewery - Historic structure may be moved to join Sydney Hih building for redevelopment (http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/aug05/349208.asp)

Aug 18, 2005, 11:15 PM
Excellent news! I don't like the idea of moving it at all, but it would be nice ot see restored. To my knowledge it's one of (if not the) oldest buildings around downtown, and it's sorry state of ruin now is upsetting due to the redevelopment possibilities around it.

Aug 29, 2005, 10:21 PM
KeyBridge Development held a groundbreaking ceremony today for First Place on the River, which is being built at the confluence of the Milwaukee and Menomonee Rivers in the Walker's Point neighborhood. The $68 million project includes 152 condo units (ranging from $148,000 to $1.8 million), 16,000 square feet of street-level retail space, a parking garage, and a new RiverWalk segment with 32 boat slips. The development combines 8 stories of new construction built atop an existing 4-story building that was once a warehouse.

^ A rendering looking west taken from the Water Street bridge.

More details in this article from the Daily Reporter: Milwaukee condos drawing from suburbs, Barrett says - KeyBridge plans 152-unit complex near river (http://www.dailyreporter.com/item.cfm?recid=20038149&snippet=f)

Many more renderings can be found on the First Place on the River website (http://www.firstplacemilwaukee.com/).

Aug 29, 2005, 11:15 PM
Wow! That looks fantastic!

Oh, and I had a laugh the other night, when I was reading through an old Milwaukee book I have. It was made when the Quadracci was just being proposed, and reported the project at it's very premature pricetag of $28 mil. ;)

Aug 31, 2005, 10:25 PM
[Eric Cartman]KICK ASS!!!![/Eric Cartman]

I had no idea about this project, so I'm delightfully shocked that it being built

:banana: :cucumber: :tomato: :carrot: :pepper: :righton:

Sep 9, 2005, 5:48 AM
There is a little bit of new news regarding Manpower's search for a possible new home. The staffing company has narrowed its search down to five different plans submitted by developers who responded to a request for proposals. Three of those proposals are located at new sites: a parcel at the Milwaukee County Research Park (subruban Wauwatosa), a parcel at the Estabrook Corporate Park (suburban Glendale), and a parcel near Schlitz Park (Downtown Milwaukee). The other two proposals are expansions of the existing buildings at two different sites that Manpower already occupies in Glendale.

Manpower will be judging the proposals based on rent, building design, convenience, and availability of free parking. The firm is looking for about 230,000-260,000 square feet of space for 850 employees. A selection might be made by the end of September.

More in the Journal Sentinel article: Manpower looks at downtown, Tosa for new headquarters - Staying in Glendale also a possibility (http://www.jsonline.com/bym/news/sep05/354236.asp)


Columbia St. Mary's is planning to open an urgent-care patient clinic later this year at 732 N. Jackson Street in Downtown. The clinic would offer urgent care, occupational medicine, and X-rays. Such clinics do not require appointments and are designed for minor medical problems as opposed to higher-cost emergency room care. The decision to open a downtown clinic was based on the growing downtown population and high concentration of downtown workers.

More in the Journal Sentinel article: Clinic to offer urgent care - Columbia St. Mary's service would be a 1st for downtown (http://www.jsonline.com/bym/news/sep05/353957.asp)


Next Monday, the Milwaukee County Board's Committee on Economic and Community Development will be reviewing proposals from two different developers competing for the chance to develop a site in the Park East corridor. The 2-acre site is bounded by N. Broadway, N. Milwaukee Street, N. Water Street, and E. Ogden Avenue.

Full Spectrum, a development team from New York, is proposing a $76 million mixed-use project that calls for a total of 375 housing units (14 three-story towhouse duplexes, 45 low-income apartment units, and 302 additional condo units), street-level retail space aimed at small national and local chains (42,000 square feet), parking (440 spaces underground, 56 spaces on-street), and a 26,300-suqare-foot public park. The group of retail/apartment/condo buildings range in height between 8 and 13 stories.

Ryan Companies, a development team from Minneapolis, and RSC & Associates from Chicago, is proposing a $73 million mixed-use project that calls for a total of 175 high-end condos (15 townhouses, plus 160 units in 12-story buildings), retail space aimed at small stores as well as big boxes (184,800 square feet total, including a 70,000 sqft space and a 50,000 sqft space for big boxes), parking (270 private spaces for residents, plus a three-level garage for retail customers).

The Committee on Economic and Community Development will select which proposal will move forward to be considered in front of the full County Board.

More details in the Journal Sentinel: County to weigh Park East proposals - Two plans put forward for one tract of land (http://www.jsonline.com/bym/news/sep05/354252.asp)

Sep 11, 2005, 11:25 PM
Trouble brewed early for PabstCity
City subsidy seemed guaranteed, but making a deal wasn't so easy
Posted: Sept. 10, 2005
First of two parts
At Milwaukee City Hall, Common Council President Willie Hines headed over to meet with Mayor Tom Barrett, as the building settled into its familiar post-council meeting lull.

It was May 3, and ever since January - when developers put in their request for an eye-popping $39 million in city support for the long-awaited PabstCity project - both knew the meeting was going to come.

That morning, negotiators from the Department of City Development, along with the city comptroller and city attorney's office, had hashed out the details of the request.

Now it was ready to go.

The $317 million project would be among the largest ever in the city. It would turn a long-blighted property into a high-profile entertainment complex and bring with it jobs, thousands of jobs, from construction to retail.

And, in effect, the cash-strapped city could get the money where it had none.

The $39 million would come from the property taxes generated by the new development, a common approach known as tax incremental financing.

A year earlier, just after the start of the term, Barrett and Hines had worked together to win approval for the Harley-Davidson museum. This would be the same, Barrett figured. PabstCity would pass. It had to pass.

These things always pass.

Hines was ushered into the mayor's office, where Barrett greeted him with a wide smile.

We have a deal, Barrett said.

It was at that moment, really, that the problems began, ones that would rewrite the relationship between a new mayor and a restless council.

Who has a deal? Hines asked.

Early opposition
For a project everyone was supposed to like, the first public meeting on PabstCity roiled with emotion and frustration.

There were historic preservation activists, complaining that too many buildings would be torn down, many more than called for in the original plan.

And owners of bars, restaurants and concert halls, who focused their ire at the House of Blues, which developers had lined up as the top tenant.

It was the sort of high-profile venue cities across the country fought to get. It meant status.

Now, the fight was to stop it, amid fears it would put other establishments out of business.

"This will severely impact what we do," warned Peter Jest, owner of Shank Hall on the city's east side.

He was among the many who had gathered at the meeting of the Redevelopment Authority that, like the Common Council, would have to OK the plan.

That meeting was on May 6, a mere three days after Hines was told the deal was ready for a vote. It was part of an ambitious push by the developers, a partnership that included Cleveland-based Ferchill Group and Wispark LLC, the development arm of We Energies.

The idea was to win council approval May 20, so the developers could go to a huge industry convention in Las Vegas with a deal in hand and momentum to line up more tenants.

Although 14 weeks had passed from the time the plan was submitted, the Department of City Development was pushing for the next phase to be completed in 17 days.

Hines and others were stunned when they heard it. Less than three weeks? A project of this size? This complex?

Sensing the resistance, Barrett decided to overrule DCD and slow things down. As a longtime legislator, Barrett knew what it was like to feel rushed to a vote. The Redevelopment Authority would still meet, but only hold a hearing.

The vote would wait.

To be sure, the outrage was predictable. For months, the owners of The Rave, Joseph Balistrieri and Leslie West, had been meeting with aldermen to argue the House of Blues would gut their business - with an unfair assist from city taxpayers in the form of a subsidy.

In February, West had sent a pointed e-mail to Ald. Jim Bohl that said, in part: "I don't care what the city does with the TIF money, just so it does not include a House of Blues."

Even though the vote was put off, the Redevelopment Authority meeting became a rallying point for opponents: They're jamming this through.

Among the crowd was David Halbrooks, a former Municipal Court judge who a month earlier had been thumped by voters in his comeback bid.

He didn't attract much notice.

And he liked it that way.

Taking a head count
Despite the complaints, there were few worries about PabstCity, since the launch with aldermen was going smoothly.

DCD Commissioner Rocky Marcoux was as eager as the developers to shift from negotiator to salesman, and he worked to meet with everyone, Hines first, answering questions, concerns.

For Marcoux, less than a year into the job, PabstCity was his first big project, and he took pains to get it right. He even asked City Comptroller W. Martin "Wally" Morics to sit in on the talks, knowing his opinion would carry weight with the council.

Like Barrett, Marcoux left his meeting with Hines feeling as if he had a partner. Early on, Barrett and Hines had each done their own private assessment of the likely outcome and came to the same conclusion: passage, about 10-5.

As he met with aldermen, Marcoux came to agree.

Few aldermen, though, would take a stand publicly.

A non-committal stance brought more attention, from project supporters and critics alike - and, with it, campaign contributions. It also brought more influence and leverage, with some aldermen seeking changes and concessions.

But Barrett and Marcoux were determined to stick with the original deal. It would be a bad precedent to put 15 aldermen, with 15 different views, at the negotiating table.

The team from Wispark also was making the rounds: president Jerry Franke; Dan McCarthy, who in 2003 had left a DCD job to join Wispark; We Energies lobbyist Joel Haubrich; and outside lobbyist Moira Fitzgerald, hired to pitch in.

Their chief task: convince aldermen the $39 million was needed to make the project work. Some aldermen questioned whether what Marcoux had negotiated - and what Barrett had agreed to - was the best deal the city could get.

To help woo some aldermen, the city added $2 million to set up a job-training program for central city workers to develop construction skills. The $39 million had become $41 million.

Still, it represented only about 13% of the total cost, a level on par with past projects.

Nevertheless, there were worries about whether PabstCity would attract enough business to be a success. And whether the project was so large that the borrowing would delay other projects, such as for the Bronzeville entertainment district on W. North Ave.

Ald. Ashanti Hamilton had been skeptical but liked the extra $2 million for job training. So did Ald. Willie Wade. And Ald. Bob Bauman, who represented the PabstCity area, became the biggest backer.

Together, the three formed a majority of the critical Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee. Another member, Michael Murphy, was undecided but might come around. Only Ald. Mike D'Amato, the chairman, was adamantly opposed to the project.

It was too retail-oriented. Not a big enough residential piece. The low-paying service jobs weren't enough of a return for the taxpayer investment. It would hurt bars and restaurants, including those in his district.

On most matters, D'Amato was a Barrett ally. This time, the mayor wouldn't have his vote but appreciated D'Amato's up-front bluntness.

At least D'Amato punches you in the nose, so you know it's coming, Barrett had told staffers after one early meeting.

Indeed, as committee chairman, D'Amato would be able to keep PabstCity bottled up for weeks but had given this assurance: No delay tactics. He would not block it on procedure.

Instead, D'Amato began to work on Hines, raising concerns about whether the city could have gotten a better deal, and - even more potent - questions about why the council hadn't been more involved.

And, of course, D'Amato had other friends.

Buying time
The first hearing before D'Amato's committee, on May 17, went about as expected: Preservation advocates condemned the loss of history. Bar and restaurant owners complained about the loss of business. Marcoux and Wispark touted the virtues of the project.

And David Halbrooks again quietly watched it all.

His interest was anything but casual. Halbrooks was a friend of Jest, the owner of Shank Hall, who - on the night Halbrooks lost the election - suggested he dig into PabstCity and try to stop it.

In a way, it was a natural fit. Halbrooks, after 13 years in the city attorney's office, knew his way around city government. As an avid concert-goer, he was also familiar with the city's clubs. And he was close to D'Amato, who had helped him get appointed to the bench.

When D'Amato sent a series of pointed questions to the city comptroller's office about Pabst City, ones meant to reveal the plan's weaknesses, many had been submitted to him in an e-mail from Halbrooks. The collaboration included Jim Plaisted, a former D'Amato aide, who now headed up the North Ave. business district.

It was Plaisted who helped drum up attendance at the Redevelopment Authority meeting with a desperate slow-this-thing-down e-mail.

Halbrooks brought a friend, former Ald. Fred Gordon, to the meeting, in hopes Gordon's credibility with his ex-colleagues would help matters. Gordon also urged aldermen to put on the brakes.

Two days later, the Redevelopment Authority gave it a 5-2 stamp of approval. It was now on track to go back to the committee June 7, and win council passage June 14.

Halbrooks made another call.

This one went to Brian Burke, a state senator turned lobbyist at the firm of Zigman Joseph Stephenson. They met that night, May 23, at the Milwaukee Athletic Club: Halbrooks and Jest, Burke and Craig Peterson, the firm's owner.

Peterson had just returned from Las Vegas, where PabstCity developers were busily selling the project. He, too, could sense the inevitability of it.

These things pass. In the end, they always pass.

They set up a campaign-style war room in Peterson's downtown office. They did opposition research, sending newspaper clippings to aldermen about problems the House of Blues had in other cities.

But they also would need a ground campaign to mobilize opposition among residents. That would get the phones ringing at City Hall, and that would get the attention of wavering aldermen.

And they needed more time.

That came June 2, in the form of a report from Chicago-based C.H. Johnson Consulting, a firm hired by the comptroller's office to review the PabstCity project, in particular the viability of the retail end of it.

The report raised concerns about whether the site would draw enough out-of-town business, if it was too disconnected from the rest of downtown to draw lunch-time crowds and about what would happen if any of the big-name tenants - including Sega GameWorks and a movie theater - pulled out.

Citing the new questions, D'Amato postponed the hearing on PabstCity. It would not go to the council until July 6.

Three more weeks.

Battle lines drawn
While PabstCity opponents were doing opposition research, Bauman decided to do some of his own.

He agreed to meet with Halbrooks and PabstCity foes - Peterson, Gordon, Burke - over dinner at Mo's steak house downtown. He wanted to hear their arguments, scope out the competition.

It didn't exactly look like a murderer's row. Halbrooks and Gordon were election losers. And Burke, once a political player in Madison, faced an October trial on misconduct-in-office charges. It was hard to say who was bankrolling the operation, though Bauman had his suspicions.

As an attorney, Bauman could appreciate the passion the critics brought to the job - the "art of the advocate," he called it. But, as he drove home that night, June 14, he was a little chagrined at the financial side of the meeting.

I don't even agree with these guys and it cost me 50 bucks, Bauman thought.

Time raced on.

In the war room, the foes were desperate for attention and issued news release after news release, even sending one stuffed into empty Pabst beer bottles.

Another featured Gordon criticizing the agreement in the deal on how many jobs would go to minorities, even though it met all city requirements.

Ald. Michael McGee, a first-termer, announced his opposition to the plan - soon after The Rave agreed to host a hip-hop concert as part of a community initiative McGee had launched.

Ald. Tony Zielinski, who had butted heads with DCD over other matters, became a no vote. So did Murphy, the senior member of the council.

Murphy came to the conclusion one day after taking his stack of PabstCity documents upstairs to the council chambers to read them without interruption. Too risky, he concluded.

For both sides, time was tight. The committee meeting was set for July 5. If problems came up, there would be little time to regroup before the council voted the following morning.

As the vote approached, Murphy ran into Marcoux.

Why go ahead if you don't know you have the votes? Murphy asked him.

We wouldn't do that, said Marcoux, who had private assurances and a sense of the council.

On July 5, the day after a long holiday weekend, the committee met for more than six hours of debate, the arguments now familiar to each side.

Finally, testimony over, D'Amato called for a five-minute recess.

As the five minutes stretched on, word began to spread throughout the room. There would be amendments.

But no one knew just what they were, or what they would do.

Bauman had seen Legislative Reference Bureau staffers huddled in D'Amato's office over the lunch hour working on them but didn't know specifics.

We'll deal with them, Marcoux thought. It's the process.

But when the committee returned, the ruling was there would be no more testimony, just votes on the amendments.

They were rolled out quickly: The developer would have to pay the county to provide a trolley link to the site; there would be higher mandates for minority participation in jobs and contracts; the leases for major tenants would have to be guaranteed for 10 years.

Marcoux grew angry.

The amendments were deal-killers. Yet he couldn't talk to his three supporters on the panel. He raised his hand. Moved to the table. Was ruled out of order. No debate.

What's more, each amendment added a provision that the final agreement - once all the legalese was complete - would have to come back to the council. That would undermine Marcoux's authority, change the way all future deals are done, turn all 15 aldermen into deal-cutters.

Marcoux boiled.

So did the Wispark representatives, seeing months of work undone in mere minutes.

The amendments all passed, on identical 5-0 votes. In theory, D'Amato offered them to make the plan acceptable. But he voted against it, as did Murphy.

The measure passed 3-2, and would go to the council. But the results of the day could go down as a defeat, not victory.

It was nearly 8:30 p.m. They only had the night to regroup. Barrett returned to City Hall to huddle with staff, others.

By morning, a plan emerged.

In some cases, such as the higher requirements for minority hiring, the amendment would stay. Barrett agreed with the goal. So did Wispark.

In other cases, the amendment would be tweaked, so developers could live with it.

But the provision requiring a new, extra step of council approval would have to be removed. They had the votes to do it. And then PabstCity would pass. All that was left was a technical fight over procedures and council rules.

But, as the meeting began, few knew this: In these fights, sometimes the minority rules.

Almost immediately, McGee argued the amendments added the night before needed study. The vote should be delayed.

He invoked a rarely-used provision, under which a spending measure could be held for one meeting with just three votes - one-fifth of the council.

And he got three votes, himself, Zielinski and Hamilton, who was a PabstCity supporter. But Bohl won reconsideration and this time Hamilton said no.

As the debate got under way, McGee tried again.



The move continued to fail, with only McGee and Zielinski voting for the delay.

The council soon voted 10-5 on a related measure, one to allow developers to tear down the needed buildings.

Soon after, the council voted 8-7 to strip the committee-added amendment that required a new layer of approval.

D'Amato could see it now, everyone could. The votes were there. PabstCity would pass.

McGee made his motion again and the roll call began. Few paid attention. Just another blip before passage.

D'Amato sat in the back of the room. He had given his word: No delay tactics. But now, he felt, it was the only way.

He'd buy three more weeks.

The vote came to him.



Sep 11, 2005, 11:47 PM
I've been thinking...with all the huge loft conversions and condo proposals for the areas around and south of the Third Ward and Walker's Point, wouldn't it be awesome if the area (which, I think, if it continues building its current pace, could start to invade Jones Island) were to become a more creative palatte of designs? If in 30 years all the buildings would have aged enough to have become a more vibrant part of the city?

Sep 13, 2005, 6:35 AM
After several years of behind-the-scenes planning, more details about the Milwaukee Connector, a proposed electric bus system that would link Downtown with nearby neighborhoods, will be revealed at a series of public information meetings this week.

A two-route system has been mapped out: one running from North Side neighborhoods through Downtown into the Third Ward, and another running from Miller Park through Downtown and the East Side up to UWM.

There are two different vechicle choices being considered for the Connector. One is a $300 million network of electric guided buses. These are long, articulated, rubber-tired buses (which look like modern light rail vehicles), that are powered from an overhead wire, and are guided along the street via a special single rail/groove embedded in the pavement. They are also able to temporarily leave the guide track to maneuver around obstacles in the way or to take detours, thanks to battery power. The second option is a $157 million system of regular buses with hybrid diesel-electric engines. Both options would have reserved lanes in the street (at least in some places, by sacrificing curbside parking), and would be outfitted with stoplight prioritization.

The Connector Study looked at other transit options before ruling them out a few years ago, which included monorails, electric guided buses using optical/laser guidance technology, and regular light rail/streetcars.

Of course, the Connector project faces some major hurdles--public support, political support, and financial support. Milwaukee currently has $91.5 million of Federal funding set aside that's to be used for public transit, which would be used for the Connector.


Some more info can be found in this article from the Journal Sentinel: Electric bus proposal is back en route - City's connector plan needs support, and high gas prices may fuel its appeal (http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/sep05/355297.asp)

Also check out the Milwaukee Connector website (http://www.milwaukeeconnector.com)


A new design for remodeling Milwaukee's Downtown Amtrak station was revealed today, several months after the previous redesign received some well-deserved negative feedback. The earlier design was critcized by City Planner Bod Greenstreet as being much too lackluster for a building that is supposed to be intended as a gateway to the city. In addition. Alderman Bob Bauman, whose district includes the station, critiqued the remodeling as being too small for all of the intended used WisDOT wanted to include. So WisDOT, the developers, and architects went back to the drawing board to produce a new design that was a little big bigger, a little bit grander, and lot more expensive ($4 million vs. $15.2 million).

Like the previous design, the Amtrak station would be remodeled into an intermodal passernger transportation terminal that would serve trains (Amtrak and possibly Metra) and buses (Greyhound, MCTS, maybe Badger Bus too); and it would also include WisDOT offices, and a few small retail shops/fast food restaurant (the proposed drive-thru was axed a while ago). The lastest design still includes all of those elements, but now with a glassy, airy, three-story atrium that would serve as a new passenger lobby added onto the front of the building.

The new, more expensive design, resulted from the $4 million in federal, state, and private funding that was previously pledged from the earlier design, plus an additional $3.6 million federal funding from the recently-passed transportation bill. The City is considering establishing a TIF district that would provide another $6 million for the project. WisDOT officials have said they would come up with the remaining $1.44 million, though they haven't figured out from where exactly the money would come from yet.

WisDOT and City officials envision a renovated station as a catalyst for other development in the immediate neighbrohod, which is currently filled with some run-down warehouses, surface parking lots, vacant lots, obstructed riverfronts, broken streets and sidewalks, and a few lonely office buildings and warehouses-turned-lofts. Planners would like to see the area revitalized with more loft/office conversions, new mixed-use construction parking garages/office/retail/residential, a hotel, and better linkages to the rest of Downtown.

^ The existing Amtrak station (originally built in 1965 by the Milwaukee Road, and later shared with the Chicago & North Western) was part of a massive Downtown urban renewal project in which the railroads were required to demolish their older stations located in other parts of town in order to accommodate freeways.

^ A rendering of the previous design that was criticized for its blandness and attempts at cramming too many uses into a small space.

^ The latest redesign for the station includes a glassy 3-story atrium that would be built in front of the existing building, which itself would be gutted and remodeled as well.

More from the Journal Sentinel: $15.2 million Amtrak station redux proposed - Officials hope overhaul will inspire retail, housing in area (http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/sep05/355296.asp)

Sep 13, 2005, 6:48 AM
Shiz-nit, that is a change for the Amtrak station! Wow...

Sep 13, 2005, 6:54 AM

I just sent that picture to all of my sarup friends. I think the decibel level in the arch building just rose. yep...i can hear it from my house.

Btw, would that facade face the freeway?

Sep 13, 2005, 7:02 AM
Btw, would that facade face the freeway?

Partially--it will likely be obstructed by the buildings between the freeway and St. Paul Avenue.

Hopefully the design provides a building that functions well too...which isn't somthing easliy eveident from this flashy perspective rendering.

Sep 13, 2005, 7:18 AM
The station is now fronted by a fortress-like facade that Greenstreet labeled 'very useful for sustaining heavy shelling' but not very attractive." That is CLASSIC Greenstreet humor right there! :D

Sep 13, 2005, 8:58 AM
Milwaukee is ranked #5 in the nation for best cities for seniors to live!

Here's the link
click here (http://houseandhome.msn.com/move/BestCitiesforSeniors.aspx)

Sep 13, 2005, 12:18 PM
So is that most recently renderred design actually have a chance getting built (unlike the electric bus)?

Sep 16, 2005, 11:15 PM
I'm delighted. A $50 million tower for the 'Gold Coast?' And the developer is concerned with preservation? Even more Gold-the inhabitants of Milwaukee's second newest residential tower are now NIMBY's. :haha: Their argument is that Prospect will become a 'canyon of condos.' They should have made that movement 30 yeras ago. :rolleyes: While I think a $50 million tower for Milwaukee should stand out more (IE in a different location, not already in a place where there are plenty) I'd very much like to see this happen, especially if the developer stays true to his word. Oh, and to the residents of 1522-why don't you, with the $35 grand you just made for legal battles, instead give the money to the Conservancy of Music? A bigger, more beautiful mansion on the East side of Prospect in a much worse financial situation and thus more suceptible to new developement...
Tower developer gets caught up in past of Prospect Ave.
Neighbors plan fight over site of historic mansion
Posted: Sept. 15, 2005
In its heyday, it was Milwaukee's Gold Coast - block after block of opulent mansions built by movers and shakers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Today, N. Prospect Ave. has only 15 or so remnants of those glory days, and they have all been converted to offices or other uses, the rest having been leveled for apartment buildings, condos and parking lots.
A fight is looming over the fate of one of the survivors: the Frederick Goll mansion, at 1550 N. Prospect. Developer Boris Gokhman, who bought the property in July, wants to build a residential tower on the bluff-side parking lot behind it. The $50 million project is being encouraged by city development officials, who see a potential infusion of tax dollars and new residents, but preservationists and neighbors are alarmed about what they view as an assault on history.

Gokhman, a partner in New Land Enterprises, said it was premature to talk about the project because he hadn't decided whether to build apartments or condominiums and is still talking with architects. But he said his plans envisioned preserving the mansion, now used for offices and protected to some extent by city historic designation. The section of Prospect between E. Ogden Ave. and E. Brady St. is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but that designation carries no safeguards against demolition and new development.

Built in 1898 by retailer and banker Frederick Goll, and designed in the English Renaissance style by the prominent local firm of Ferry & Clas, the brick and limestone house is one of only three mansions remaining on the east side of the street.

"I would not like to demolish it," Gokhman said. "I would use it as a front door, to make a statement. If and when we develop the property, we will be very respectful of its history."

There were rumors that Gokhman might try to move the house to another east side location, possibly to one of three lots on N. Terrace Ave. that Columbia St. Mary's Hospital will make available for residential development when its new campus is reconfigured. Gokhman wouldn't rule out relocation, "but I would not say it's one of the prominent options," he said.

Sensitive design 'a winner'
Mike Wisniewski, a senior economic development specialist with the Department of City Development, said that if Gokhman comes up with a sensitive design for a tower, "it's a winner. It follows the train of movement toward new residential development downtown."

Wisniewski said that under current zoning for the 30,000-square-foot site, the developer could build as high as he wants if he builds no more than 200 units; if he were to build more than 200 units, Gokhman would be restricted to a building no more than 85 feet high.

Whatever the size, the project alarms residents of the recently built condo tower next door, at 1522 N. Prospect, and not just because those on the north side of the building would have their views of the lake interrupted, according to Bill Pocan, president of the building's condo association.

Pocan, who lives on the south side of the tower, said the real issue was the potential erosion of neighborhood character. "One reason a lot of us moved back to the city from the suburbs was because we liked the blend of old and new," he said. "It hurts the whole flavor of the neighborhood to put a 20- or 30-story building behind a historic mansion."

David Behrendt, another resident, asked: "If the Goll mansion goes, what will save the other ones? Chicago has its brownstones, San Francisco has its Painted Ladies and Milwaukee has its mansions. They all add value. Let's not destroy the village in order to save it."

Wisniewski said he understood the neighbors' concerns but disagreed that another high-rise would hurt the already greatly altered street, much less the Goll mansion. "Is it any different from having Kilbourn Tower next to University Club Tower?" he asked, in reference to new high-rises at the corner of Prospect and Kilbourn avenues, a stone's throw from the 79-year-old University Club. "The synergy of the old and the new buildings makes a lot of sense."

Unconvinced, the residents of 1522 recently approved a $35,000 special assessment to finance a lobbying and public relations effort against Gokhman's development. They hired public relations executive Evan Zeppos to lead the campaign.

Zeppos said his strategy would be three-pronged, focusing not only on the danger of turning a national historic district into a "condo canyon" but also on the environmental risks of building into the steep bluff behind the mansion and the potential harm to a bike trail below. He said he was advising the residents to build a broader coalition to fight the project.

One group that may get involved is the fledgling Milwaukee Preservation Alliance. "We're looking at it," said Virginia Cassel, an alliance board member. "We have a historic preservation ordinance in place for a reason. It's a shame to just throw it away."

Sandy Ackerman, who heads the city's Historic Preservation Commission, predicted that her group would recommend against Gokhman's project. "That's our job - to save history," she said. "How something affects the city tax rolls is not what we are supposed to look at."

But Ald. Bob Bauman, who serves on the preservation unit and represents the east side of the avenue, said that even if the commission gives the high-rise a thumbs down, the Common Council would likely approve it "in a heartbeat" because of the potential boost to city tax coffers.

"I will probably support the homeowners who are fighting it, because they are my constituents," Bauman said. "But when you have a city that is now No. 7 on the poverty list nationwide, when you are deluged with complaints about diminishing public services, a lot of my colleagues are going to ask: 'What price preservation?' "

From the Sept. 16, 2005, editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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