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  #21  
Old Posted Sep 29, 2003, 7:41 AM
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This Sunday's Journal Sentinel featured two point-counterpoint editorials debating the issue of open spcae within the soon-to-be-redeveloped Park East corridor in Downtown Milwaukee. The overbuilt, underutilized Park East Freeway has now been reduced to rubble, which will ultimately turn into 26 acres of prime Downtown real estate ripe for redevelopment.

The Park East is down. Now what? - Plan for more urban open spaces

The Park East is down. Now what? - Development, open spaces can coexist

I take the stance described in the second editorial. The corridor has a lot of great potential for new developments and various types of open space. Such spaces don't necessarily have to be in the form of expansive parks (a la Central Park in New York City); they can take the form of hardscaped and softscaped suqares and plazas, smaller parks, treelined boulevards and streets, plus the extension of the RiverWalk (which can be designed to be both hard-edged and natural). The criticism of using all or a portion of the corridor to create a larger park at a time when the County is slashing funding and deferring maintenance on already existing parks throughout the city and county is also a very valid point.


An article from Monday's Business Journal summarizes some of the developments in the Westown section of Downtown that are proposed, underway, or nearing completion.
  • 606 Building (Wisconsin Tower) - Plans for former office building to be converted into apartment and condo units
  • James Lovell Street warehouse - Yet-to-be-named conversion of warehouse into condo units
  • Boston Lofts - New condo units above Boston Store's recently remodeled retail and office space
  • Majestic Building - Office space being converted into condo units
  • Woolworth Building - Recently rehabilitated office space for redevelopment firm
  • Milwaukee Theater - Former Milwaukee Auditorium remodeled/reconfigured
  • Shops of Grand Avenue - Remodeled/reconfigured retail spaces in downtown mall
  • Amtrak Station - Plans to extensively remodel/upgrade existing Amtrak station into a venue that serves trains and buses
  • PabstCity - Proposed conversion of former Pabst Brewery complex into a mixed-use enertainment, office, retail, residential district
Read the article for a detailed explanation: Westown rebuilds on residential - Apartments, condos rescue ailing commercial, office district
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  #22  
Old Posted Sep 29, 2003, 8:53 PM
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Thanks!
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  #23  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2003, 5:48 AM
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This Monday the City Plan Commission approved the developer Peter Renner's design for the Harbor Front Condominiums. The proposal is located near the southern tip of the Third Ward, at E. Erie and S. Jackson Streets, along the Milwaukee River.

Renner expects construction on the first phase to begin in 2004 and be completed in 2005. A second phase will follow sometime in the future.

The plans also call for a new RiverWalk segment to be built adjacent to the condo buildings, which will ultimately link up to the rest of the RiverWalk system (which currently ends a few blocks to the north). A pedestrian plaza linking Erie and Jackson Streets to the RiverWalk will be placed between the condo buildings.

The Harbor Front Condos is the latest in a series of developments underway at the southern end of the Third Ward--which consists of mainly new construction (as opposed to primarily warehouse conversions in the northrn part of the neighborhood). A couple blocks away, the second phase of New Land Enterprises' Jefferson Block is under construction; across the street from that, the Mandel Group's Gas Light Lofts is going up. Nearby that, Mandel also has a proposal for the Marine Terminal Lofts along the river.

Renner is also building the Water Front Condos in the Fifth Ward, across the river and upstream from his Harbor Front project.

Check out the article from Monday's Journal Sentinel for specifics: City OKs building of riverfront condos

Also, from the archives, an article from this past summer announcing the Harbor Front proposal: Condos planned for riverfront - $30 million project's site near Summerfest grounds


Last edited by Markitect; Sep 30, 2003 at 5:57 AM.
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  #24  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2003, 6:53 AM
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Those condos look beautiful. This is just the type of development that I want to see in Milwaukee. A few high-rises is nice, but I think 4-6 story condos lining the river will look awesome, and more appropriate than a bunch of high-rises lining the river. Kind of a euro feel.
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  #25  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2003, 7:12 PM
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Yeah, that's the rendering.
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  #26  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2003, 8:15 PM
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Since the WAM on SSC has died down, why do't we just make this the unofficial Milwaukee thread?
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  #27  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2003, 9:24 PM
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Obviously you haven't visited the "What About Milwaukee" thread at SSC in the past couple of weeks. It is going strong with photo tours, development news/discussions, and miscellaneous general Milwaukee discussons. Some of the regular participants have returned.

Last edited by Markitect; Sep 30, 2003 at 9:34 PM.
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  #28  
Old Posted Oct 3, 2003, 3:28 AM
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And so it begins...

Developers of the now-under construction Kilbourn Tower are clashing with devlopers of the proposed-to-be-next-door University Club Tower, with the City of Milwaukee in the middle.

It seems KT-ers are saying the City is violating an agreement the City made with them when they City approved plans for UCT. What the argument boils down to is the two towers, if both were to go up, would be too close together, and that south-facing units in Kilbourn Tower would have windows that look out at the north-facing blank walls (which happens to be a serive/stair/elevator core, hence the relatively blank walls) of University Club Tower--which also coincidentally cuts off Kilbourn Tower's southern views of Lake Michigan. UCT-ers say "tough cookies, the City hasn't violate anything,we knew you'd bring this up." Meanwhile the City says "we didn't violate any agreements, we'd like to see both towers go up and be successful."

Developers for Kilbourn Tower have asked that University Club Tower be redesigned and/or repositioned on the proposed site so it sits further back from Propsect Avenue, which would allow University Club Tower to still get built, while allowing south-facing Kilbourn Tower residents to have their lake views.

Although I don't know the exact details of KT's agreement with the City, or the specifics on UCT's sitework, repositioning UCT on its site might actually work with a little tweaking of the design. Put a nice little landscaped park out front on Prospect Avenue which would become an additional amenity for UCT and KT; residents in both towers get their lake views, and everybody could live happily ever after.

An article from today's Journal Sentinel tracks the drama: Developer warns city to change or move other planned high-rise - Kilbourn Tower challenges design; neighbor to continue with development
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  #29  
Old Posted Oct 3, 2003, 3:33 AM
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well, i hope the parties involved can come to some compromise, i would really like to see both towers rise; the impact on the skyline from the lakefront would be great!
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  #30  
Old Posted Oct 3, 2003, 5:02 AM
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With infrastructure underway to reweave the urban fabric once detroyed by the now-demiolshed elevated Park East Freeway, developers are ready to pounce on the opportuity to grad up more blocks for development.

The City will be holding a series of public meeting in the coming weeks where citizens can address issues and see presentations of the lastest, and hopefully final, drafts of the Renewal (Regulatory) Plan and Master Plan for the redevelopment project. Once the plans are ultimately approved by the County Board and City Council, developers can start making deals.

An article from Friday's Small Business Times discusses the excitement building around rebuilding a huge chunk of Downtown Milwaukee. It also gives some info about how materials from the freeway's demolition are being recycled and put to use in other redevelopment efforts underway and scheduled for the near future in other parts of the city.

Read all about it: Get ready, get set, develop - If market conditions prevail, 'they could be lining up to buy' Park East land


In other news, tug of war between commerical development in Downtown Milwaukee and suburban Waukesha County continues. GE Medical is still pondering sites for relocating its headquarters, which currently resides in Waukesha. Nothing really new since the last time reports came out, and the list of contenders remains pretty much the same:
  • Downtown Milwaukee - Ovation Plaza, 22-story office building (proposed last Fall) to be built on Water Street (current site of Marcus Center parking structure)
  • Downtown Milwaukee - A site on Cherry Street, in Park East/Schlitz Park
  • Wauwatosa - Milwaukee County Research Park, near the Zoo Freeway
  • Brookfield - A suburban site near Bluemound and Calhoun Roads
  • Brookfiled - Another site near Bluemound and Calhoun Roads
  • Menomonee Falls - Heritage Reserve, suburban office park
  • Oconomowoc - Pabst Farms, a wannabe new urbanist suburban office/residential development

See article for more details: Downtown Milwaukee jumps high for GE Med jobs

Last edited by Markitect; Oct 3, 2003 at 7:40 AM.
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  #31  
Old Posted Oct 3, 2003, 7:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Markitect
GE Medical is still pondering sites for relocating its headquarters, which currently resides in Waukesha. Nothing really new since the last time reports came out, and the list of contenders remains pretty much the same:


* Downtown Milwaukee - Ovation Plaza, 22-story office building (proposed last Fall) to be built on Water Street (current site of Marcus Center parking structure)
Just a little bit more on this proposal...

Irgens Development Partners and the Marcus Center floated the Ovation Plaza proposal, but an anchor tenant must be found before any progress is made.

Last I heard, they were still kicking around ideas for the tower (mixed-use versus office, etc.), and the architetcural design hasn't been solidified. I managed to find a small rendering of something that was on the drawing boards, that hadn't been published in any of the usual newspapers I use for sources:



If GE Medical would agree to reloccate its headquarters to Ovation Plaza, that would likely be the catalyst that would get this tower going.
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  #32  
Old Posted Oct 3, 2003, 5:14 PM
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Thanks for all this Milwaukee news Markitect. Personally, what do you think of all this good news for the city? I remember back in the 90's it almost appeared Milwaukee would be a just rustbelt town forever!
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  #33  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2003, 6:21 AM
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Milwaukee will be a Rustbelt town forever. We'll just be a shiny one with clean streets and a better economy. The Rustbelt is a place, not a state of being - and it's part of Milwaukee's character. MKE has been a blue-collar, industrial city for decades, and that's something I'd like to think we take pride in.

As for GE Medical, it would be very exciting to see this company move downtown. What the hell is in Menomonee Frickin' Falls? It's a hole. And they're Village President makes Shrub look like a Rhodes scholar. My next comment ties into this, I guess. It's regarding the prelim design of Ovation Plaza: Blaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. Who's the architect? Frickin' Kahler-Slater? Because that would explain the uninspired, banal, depressing box-type crap architecture. Fine, great! Bring the employees downtown, by all means! But why mar the cityscape with a block of heavy-handed, unimpressive jizz? We've got M&I, the 633 Building, the 411 Building, the Juneau Village Apartments, MGIC Plaza, Wells Fargo, and several assorted low-rises and parking garages to do that.

(Speaking of the city being marred, Shrub was in town today. Did anybody go protest? I was there. It was pretty frickin' fun. We boo-ed his car.)
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  #34  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2003, 6:26 AM
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OH YEAH - and what's this about UCT having a blank wall? WHY? Would it be fatal to at least pretend that you care about the way the finished product will look? No wonder we've only seen one angle. The other ones might kill the buzz. And hey - if I were paying $1 mil for a condo in Kilbourn Tower, I wouldn't want to look at a frickin' cement wall. That's BS, and KT developers have every right to spazz out.
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  #35  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2003, 6:30 AM
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i like that m&i building.

i also like juneau village in a fucked up way.
maybe i just like their arrangement for photography.

that wells fargo bldg is truly hideous, though.
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  #36  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2003, 4:42 PM
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And you can't say anything good about 633. There is just NOTHING right with that horrible hunk of concrete.
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  #37  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2003, 5:00 PM
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CG5, I'd appreciate it if you kept your political views out of this thread, and let's just talk about Milwaukee.
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  #38  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2003, 7:27 PM
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Keep in mind, designs for buildings go through several iterations of design, and the rendering posted above for Ovation PLaza is very prelimiary yet. Most likely it was an exploration of building massing within the cityscape rather than a foucis on detailed facade composition.

On the plus side, it's nice and glassy--not some stone or brick clad post-modern silliness with cutesy arched windows and heavy cornices, nor is it some brutalist modern behemoth.

And Kahler-Slater isn't the firm working on the design--it's Eppstein Uhen.
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  #39  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2003, 8:38 PM
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Eppstein is pretty good. Worlds better than Kahler-Slater. I know that the rendering is a prelim, but some times the final designs wind up looking like their earlier couterparts. I just don't want to see that happen here. I'd like to see the building do something with its location right along the river. Make some sort of statement. Of course, this probably won't happen, but at least the building will bring more people downtown. I suppose that's a good thing. Btw - in terms of massing, that building is only 16 stories high. I thought the proposal was for 22 stories.

And ctwickman, I was talking about Milwaukee. I wasn't going to make a whole thread about it. I just wanted to see if anyone else was there. So I'd appreciate it if you pulled that stick out of your bum and let me be, thanks.
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  #40  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2003, 9:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CG5
I'd like to see the building do something with its location right along the river. Make some sort of statement. Of course, this probably won't happen, but at least the building will bring more people downtown.
That's hard to tell right now. Going by the rendering from the very very early design stages above, the building will be positioned along Water Street (where it should be), as opposed to the river itself. It simply won't be big enough to fill the block and a half between Water Street and the river (unless they'll want to sacrafice height to make a lower, squatter building, which I doubt).

Also remember, Edison Street is in there, between the river and Water Street. I know the City was looking at using parcels between the river and Edison to be assembled along with the Marcus garage site. That would either mean closing of Edison completely, or putting a portion of the building over the street. In the rendering, it looks like a new parkig garage will be built closest to the river, though it's hard to tell if it will be right on the river or not (the State Street Bridge obscures the river frontage). In defense of the Marcus Center, they would still need a garage for parking, and so does the proposed office building--I imagine this would be a shared facility.

In any case, the river would likely get a RiverWalk treatment no matter what is fronting it (currently I donlt think there is a RiverWalk section on that block). Even something as mundane and utilitarian as a parking garage can be designed to look nice.

Quote:
I suppose that's a good thing. Btw - in terms of massing, that building is only 16 stories high. I thought the proposal was for 22 stories.
The reports have stated 22-stories, yes. The rendering looks somewhere around 16-18 stories--but I have no idea when this was drawn, so it's likely a very early rendering from before the project was officially announced last Fall (or it could be a more recent rendering done after the announcement, and they reduced the height).
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