Jeramey Jannene

Kimpton Hotel Approved

Nine-floor, four-star hotel will add drama and 158 rooms to Third Ward; hopes to open in 2015.

By - Feb 27th, 2013 03:53 pm
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Kimpton Hotel Rendering

Kimpton Hotel Rendering

The proposed 158-room Kimpton Hotel in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward sailed through the neighborhood’s Architectural Review Board. Receiving unanimous approval, multiple commissioners remarked about how the planned building did a good job following the design guidelines for the neighborhood.

The development site, on the northeast corner of Broadway and Chicago St. is currently a surface parking lot.

Doug Nysse of Arrival Partners, the development advisor and planner for project developer HKS Holdings, presented the plans to the board. Kahler Slater is serving as the project’s architect. Nysse formerly worked for Kahler Slater as the leader of the firm’s Hospitality Team.  With Nysse, Kahler Slater handled the nearby Hilton Garden Inn Milwaukee Downtown and Milwaukee Marriott Downtown.

Project Details Discussed at the Meeting

  • All parking will be under the building and accessed from the alley.
  • All existing curb cuts will be removed on the site.
  • The first two floors will fill the lot, the remaining seven floors (including the ninth floor penthouse) will fit onto an L shape to maximize sunlight to the rooms.
  • Kimpton will operate a restaurant on the first-floor along Broadway.
  • The first two floors will be utilized as social spaces, with hotel rooms starting on the third floor.
  • A north-facing sign is planned for the blank wall on the ninth-floor penthouse space. The sign will need further approval from the Architectural Review Board.

The developers estimate the project will be completed in 2015. Nysse declined to reveal a construction start date. The developers are not seeking any public financing for the project.

Kimpton had previously attempted to enter the market through the Palomar Hotel development in the Park East; however, that deal fell apart as the recession dried up the real estate market in 2008.

Categories: Development News

13 thoughts on “Kimpton Hotel Approved”

  1. George Davida says:

    The hotel rendering shows it is an attractive building. However the loss of the parking spaces
    for residents of The Broadway is a serious problem. There are 40 units in that building that
    have no parking and relied on the surface lot to park. That lot is also used for patrons of the
    businesses and restaurants for valet parking which can impact their already precarious financial health. Some business have closed and some are on the brink of closing.
    Lack of parking, especially for restaurants, may well doom many of them. The property values of the condos have declined substantially from the general housing decline and further declines (due to lack of parking) may well lead to more foreclosures (and there have been some already).
    The city and the developer should construct enough parking spaces to allow the
    residents of the condos to park there (for a fee of course) or pay the $20,000-$30,000 for
    a space they can own outright. That may defray part of the cost of the parking structures.

    In addition, the height restriction is really not necessary. The designation of “historic”
    for the area is mostly nostalgia by some “activists” who fondly remember the vegetable markets
    or the long gone machine tool shopts and they may not even live there. Many of these buildings are in need of repair and sooner or later they will have to be torn down or will cost an unreasonable amount to repair such things as the columns (which some describe them as match sticks, having decayed from the lowering of the water table that preserved the wood columns.) With a reputable developer of hotels like this, taller buildings may usher in a renewal of the third ward. The brick construction or the look can still be preserved if desired, but taller structures may be more financially viable. When the old structures do have come down, new ones may be easier to fund than 5 or six stories.

    I think it is a great idea if the developers, with city help, can add to the height and create several more floors of parking that can help all the residences and businesses there.

  2. D says:

    Great location for a hotel. The Third Ward at this point is probably our best neighborhood. A good mixture of restaurants, unique retail, and nightlife. It’s walkable, safe, and right next to downtown/Summerfest. Add into this that it will soon have a decent transit connection with the streetcar. Not a huge fan of the streetcar but I am happy it runs through the Third Ward.

  3. George,

    Aren’t those units forever going to be undervalued if they don’t include enough parking in the same building? I would think so. Regardless of location, condos everywhere in Milwaukee have unfortunately lost value.

    Four things jump out at me.

    1. I don’t think anyone in Milwaukee would actually hand out 20 to 30k (or even 10k) for a parking spot that isn’t in their own building (or connected building). If that were to be true, I think you would see the private market creating parking garages.
    2. You mention the potential of businesses closing, and the lack of parking possibly being a cause. Yet here you have a business opening (with a restaurant) that will bring customers to the area. The market seems to be dictating that a hotel is a more profitable use of the land than a surface parking lot.
    3. The developers could build a taller building within current zoning (130% of the height of the adjacent buildings). They’re choosing not to do that.
    4. Rental spaces to the immediate east of The Broadway are available, as well a large city parking garage just to the northeast. The Third Ward is in no danger of running out of rental parking.

    People don’t come to the Historic Third Ward because it’s easy to park there. They come because of the vibrancy that the businesses create. Adding to that is a good thing.

    The notion of replacing the lost parking with new parking under the hotel seems perfectly fair if those that would want it would pay for all of it. I doubt they would pay its actual costs though.

  4. George Davida says:

    The commentator states:
    “Aren’t those units forever going to be undervalued if they don’t include enough parking in the same building?”
    No. The units increased in value from the initial sale price prior to the housing crash.

    “I don’t think anyone in Milwaukee would actually hand out 20 to 30k (or even 10k) for a parking spot that isn’t in their own building (or connected building)”.
    But buyers did pay that much for structure parking.
    If one were to examine pre-housing crash prices, one would find that the difference in purchase price between units with and without a parking was approximately 25K.
    Connecting the buildings to access parking is very feasible. In fact users who parked on the surface lot simply walked to the entrance in the alley.
    In addition, units that had no parking underground were being sold with the incentive that there was parking next door for rent.

    “You mention the potential of businesses closing, and the lack of parking possibly being a cause. Yet here you have a business opening (with a restaurant)”.
    They are building their own parking structure and not relying on the city or others to provide it. Obviously parking was a consideration or they would not be spending a good amount of money on building parking spaces.

    “The market seems to be dictating that a hotel is a more profitable use of the land than a surface parking lot.”
    No one has suggested that surface parking on a lot is more profitable than a hotel on that lot.

    “The developers could build a taller building within current zoning (130% of the height of the adjacent buildings). They are choosing not to do that.”
    It is not known what the architectural board based its decision on to approve the project or if the height was an issue. The developers may well have come forth with the 6 story high building because they have thought it had a better chance of approval. They and the architectural board can answer that. It was suggested that height restrictions be removed entirely. If there were no height restrictions an entirely different proposal might have been put forth for that lot and for other spaces in the area to the north of that lot.

    “Rental spaces to the immediate east of The Broadway are available, as well a large city parking garage just to the northeast.”
    Quite a walk carrying groceries.

    “People don’t come to the Historic Third Ward because it’s
    easy to park there. They come because of the vibrancy that the businesses create.”
    Vibrancy is hardly enough to attract people to go to a restaurant if parking was a problem.

    “The notion of replacing the lost parking with new parking under the hotel seems perfectly fair if those that would want it would pay for all of it. I doubt they would pay its actual costs though.”
    The users of the Third Ward parking structures on Milwaukee and Chicago did not pay the up front cost of the structures. It was suggested that owners of condos pay $25,000 to $30,000 for owning a structure parking space next to their building. That is about what buyers in that building paid for a space.

  5. George,

    I realize some people did pay for parking spaces in the building, but they’re not going to pay $30k for a space that’s not in the same building (even if it is structured). And even if people were able to get a handful of spaces added to the Kimpton Hotel that they could own outright, I don’t suspect the cost of the space would be realized in the value of their condo.

    I can’t see a scenario where you could replace the parking consumed by the condominium owners on that lot at the cost to build it (while still building the hotel).

    Regarding the height issue, to my knowledge there is no developer in town asking for the height restrictions in the Historic Third Ward to be lifted.

  6. Chris says:

    Does this invalidate Greg Marcus’ claim that the downtown hotel market is oversaturated and ? This project has nothing coming from the city and so far doesn’t seem to indicate any foreign investment via EB5. I understand he was just protecting his turf when he gave that speech but his assertation just doesn’t seem to ring true.

  7. Erik Granum says:

    Regarding this discussion:
    “The commentator states:
    “Aren’t those units forever going to be undervalued if they don’t include enough parking in the same building?”
    No. The units increased in value from the initial sale price prior to the housing crash”

    This is a good thing, and represents proper value, rather than undervalue. Units without included parking (especially if, as stated, cost for one is an additional $25k) means more people can afford to live (and purchase property) in the 3rd Ward.

  8. Tyrell Track Master says:

    Perfect project, perfect location, let’s go!

    AS for people whining about parking. Amazing! For god’s sake, the world is changing. I know that in Milwaukee people refuse to walk more than 100 yards but the idea that there is a parking problem in Milwaukee is one of the biggest jokes I’ve ever heard. I cant think of another major city that has more parking downtown than Milwaukee, it’s parking garages in all directions.

  9. Jerad says:

    @ George

    Vibrancy is exactly what would attract a good amount of people to businesses and restaurants if the parking can be scarce. It’s why you look at the areas of Milwaukee that are getting the most investment are pedestrian friendly areas, where parking is not exactly readily available all the time. (North Ave., Third Ward)

    Personally, I walk to Whole Foods all the time and that’s a 18 block round trip. I realize that not all people would be willing to/or physically could do this. However, complaining about a block long walk even with groceries is a joke.

  10. Third Wardian says:

    This is EB5 financing and that’s all fine and good. As to parking, has anyone noticed that in addition to two city structures, numerous private lots, and on street parking…there’s about 30 acres of open parking lot in the Third Ward (that sits nearly vacant) allocated to Summerfest. Ah yes, the optimal use for lakefront property is to pave and stripe it so drunk drivers have a place to park 14 days a Summer. The last thing the Third Ward needs is more parking. It’s a city, it requires and thrives on density, foot traffic, and people living and working in close proximity. It is embarrassing to consider how much city development gets held up or shelved because of parking (a TON). There is such disdain toward funding public transport in any form, but a tacit expectation that the city and its taxpayers provide all comers with limitless cheap/free parking….where is the study discussing the economic benefit of parking structures? If parking was truly a key factor in retail commerce, the meters in commercial districts would be free as an inducement to consume and local businesses would gladly pay that tab…but that argument is specious. The % of customers at the Public Market who validate who don’t as an example? Please resist the temptation to pave the Third Ward over as Milwaukee’s parking lot, it’s a cool spot.

  11. Billy says:

    This is an amazing project and I’m very happy to know it will replace a surface parking lot–as everyone in Milwaukee should be.

  12. Blog Commenter says:

    I was recently in San Antonio where they have bright, well-lit and well-planned surface parking underneath elevated freeways. We already have parking under the freeway by the public market, but it is neither bright, well-lit nor well-planned. I can understand the desire to fill in the surface parking in the middle of a block, but the city should make full use of the land underneath I-794.

  13. Cassandra Grace says:

    “where is the study discussing the economic benefit of parking structures?”

    Donald Shoup is the world’s top scholar on the economics of parking.
    Besides scholarly research, he has written for the popular press as well.
    His books and papers lay out many studies on the economic costs and benefits of parking.

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