Riverwest private dorm recommended for denial by City Plan Commission
Trinitas Ventures’ request for a change in zoning, from Industrial Light 2 to Detail Plan Development, was recommended for denial by the City Plan Commission at the February 6th, 2012 meeting. The proposal would allow for the development of a $35 million, 681-bedroom private dormitory to be developed on an existing industrial site, which has sat underutilized for numerous years. Trinitas Ventures targeted the Milwaukee area and this site in particular, because UWM has seen a 9% enrollment growth since 2005, approximately 26,000 students live off campus today, and UWM can currently only house 15% of their student population. The project would include 1.1 acres of green space, fully furnished units, tennis courts, a basketball court, a swimming pool, a workout room, shuttle service to campus, and other amenities aimed at attracting college students.
Brian Parish, Vice President of Brokerage Services for The Dickman Company, Inc. spoke in support of the project, and explained that they had been marketing the property since 2009, and that it has been available since 2002, but that we’ve “never concluded a sale or lease in this time”.
Chris Coakley, the property owner, explained that after owning the property for ten years that “at the end of the day, I’ve realized that it’s functionally obsolete”, and that “if this project doesn’t move forward, it will sit empty for another ten years.”
The project was opposed by neighborhood residents and at least two neighboring businesses. Tulip Corporation was concerned with the potential of receiving complaints from new residents, because Tulip Corporation has operations 24 hours a day and has always been located between industrial uses, not residential uses. Jonathon Eder, President of In Place Machining Company, spoke at length about the project stating it was critical to “keep it [the site] industrial”, and unless the city commits to its industrial zoning that it will “never attract another business”. Residents spoke about the impacts on parking, property values, noise, conflict with residents, a potential decrease in property values, and a potential increase in crime that could come about if the project was to move forward.
Alderwoman Coggs explained that despite only having $25 million worth of development in her district in recent years she was “in objection” to this project, and that her “position at this location will not change”. She listed a variety of reasons including the potential for students to be a target of crime, and that this project was inconsistent with the Northeast Side Area Plan.
Alderman Kovac also spoke in opposition to the project adding that “it’s a very high hurdle to change the zoning, and they haven’t even come close.”
The Commission voted unanimously to recommend denying the change in zoning, despite Trinitas Ventures’ request to hold the file.