Five-Story Mixed-Used Building for Capitol Drive Moves Forward
The $9 million project combines a charter school, job training center, and an apartment complex and sports a green roof.
Howard Snyder, the longtime director of the Northwest Side Community Development Corporation, is working in partnership with Gorman & Co on a project to build a $9.1 million five-story mixed-use building at the corner of W. Capitol Dr. and N. 31st St. The building, designed by Korb Tredo Architects, will be home to a new charter school, operated by the TransCenter for Youth, a job training center, and 43 affordable housing units. To allow for this development to proceed, Snyder and his architect appeared before the City Plan Commission on May 6th, 2013 requesting a change in zoning from Industrial Heavy to Detailed Planned Development.
Jason Korb, Owner of Korb Tredo Architects, explained that a grant from the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District will be used to construct a green roof over the wing of the building that will house the job training center. Additionally, the site will have bioswales and green infrastructure integrated into this project that according to Korb will, “clean the water before it enters the sewer system.”
Snyder spoke about the connection between the project’s uses and the surrounding community. Part of the concept is that students will be able to move from the school room into job training and then into jobs within the old 3oth Street Industrial corridor, nowadays known as Century City. To further this focus they are considering dedicating 10 to 15 apartments to young adults that are aging out of foster care.
A neighboring property owner raised concerns over traffic, in particular problems with school buses from Hope School blocking access to his property. Ald. Ashanti Hamilton responded, telling the commission that “we do not want to have a negative impact on existing business,” and he would do whatever is needed to address the problem. He also noted that the training center is an “extremely important part of the overall plan” for the area.
The project was recommended for approval with the condition that a traffic study be conducted that addresses issues raised by the neighboring property owner. With this recommendation in place the change in zoning request will now go before the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee.
Jobs is the Focus
Speaking to Urban Milwaukee prior to the approval Snyder explained that “there used to be 15,000 people working in that neighborhood,” but not anymore. “It’s the downstairs, not the upstairs that’s really important,” he said, emphasizing the key to the project is its ability to tie education to training and in turn to jobs for neighborhood residents.
Another approval of note that occurred during this meeting was the city’s acceptance of a quit claim deed from Glendale Redevelopment, LLC for a former segment of the Wisconsin and Southern Railroad right-of-way at 320 W. Capitol Dr., including part of N. Richards St., and the bridge over W. Capitol Dr. The city will dedicate these properties as a public right-of-way to be used as a bicycle and pedestrian way. According to Bunky Miller of the Department of City Development, this is being done to allow for the “Artery” project. Additionally, the Department of Public Works has a grant in the works to purchase the corridor leading up to Capitol Dr.