Dave Reid
Plats and Parcels

Huge Growth for Brady and Water

Three different developments will add 740 apartments and tremendous urban density to the area.

By - Feb 16th, 2015 05:01 pm
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River House Rendering

River House Rendering

Last week Walker’s Point was booming. This week? The intersection of N. Water and E. Brady streets on Milwaukee’s Lower East Side is on the verge of an even bigger real estate boom. Almost 750 new apartment units are planned for the area, with one groundbreaking just a little more than a month away.

The Biztimes reports that construction of The Rhythm, a seven-story apartment building which will have 140-units with a mix of studios and one-bedrooms, will begin in April. Tim Gokhman and Jim Wiechmann are developing the building and Scott Kindness is the architect on the project. It will be located on the site of the former Curve Bar, 1634 N. Water St. In September 2014, Michael Horne, reported on the final days of the bar as it was closing to make the site available for redevelopment. In July 2014, Gokhman, wrote in email about The Rythnm to Jeramey Jannene, “We do think that the proximity to the River Walk, Brady St, Downtown, and the construction of a grocery store across the street all create an opportunity for efficiently designed floor plans at an attractive price point in a dynamic and highly walkable location,”

Last week I reported that Wangard Partners was in the process of clearing the old Habhegger Wheel and Axle building, at the corner of N. Water and E. Brady streets. Since then, Wangard has demolished Mike Mervis’s former home at 1693 N. Water St., just down the hill from the Habhegger site, in preparation of a future development. Early plans for this combined site called for the development of 160 apartments, 6,600 square feet of retail space, and a new RiverWalk segment. In December 2014, Dan Shafer, of Milwaukee Magazine, reported that Wangard had changed the designs to include a mid-rise building, possibly 10 stories tall. Dorothy Snow, of Wangard, explained in an email to Urban Milwaukee that they are “still working on the design.”

But the biggest news in this area was the initial unveiling of the plans to redevelop the Gallun Tannery site. The site consists of 5.3 acres on N. Water St. along the Milwaukee River, just north of the Holton St. Viaduct. Horne reported that the project, known as River House, will include four 4-story buildings with 450 units, and a new RiverWalk segment. Project architect Jim Shields, explained he would like to “try to rebuild the lost world of Cream City brick buildings here,” by utilizing bricks that closely match the cream-city style of early Milwaukee in the facade of the new buildings.

River House Renderings

Bucks Hit the Jackpot?

Yes, the never-ending saga of who will or won’t pay for a new Bucks arena continues. Recently, the Menominee Tribe offered to pay $220 million to fund the new Bucks arena, meaning Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed “jock tax” wouldn’t be needed for the arena and state taxpayers wouldn’t have to pay a dime, if he approved the proposed Kenosha casino.

To many this sound liked a “win-win.” It is a, “win, win win.” Rep. Peter Barca, told Tom Held (welcome back to the journalistic fray, Tom!) of the Business Journal. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos had this to say, “This proposal is an exciting opportunity and could be a win-win for everyone involved.”

But Walker quickly turned down the offer, prompting Bruce Murphy to call the decision, “one of the most astounding political decisions I’ve seen in more than three decades of covering state and local politics.”

But there was still one item to clear up regarding the tribe’s offer. Was this gift to the taxpayers a bribe? “I would not see this as a bribe,” Gary Besaw, chairman of the Menominee Kenosha Gaming Authority, told Rich Kirchen, of the Business Journal. Glad that’s cleared up.

In one last bit of vital arena related news, Kirchen reported just how much each NBA player will contribute through the “jock tax.” For example, Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat will kick in $33,248 this year. Bosh will still contribute that, of course, if the Kenosha casino’s proceeds pay for the new arena, but the income taxes (including the future increment) paid by Bosh and all pro-basketball players would simply go to the state general fund rather than to pay off the arena’s bonds.

Streetcar and The Couture

On Tuesday, Jeramey Jannene reported that after years of debate the Common Council approved the streetcar’s $123.9 million financing plan. On Thursday, Sean Ryan, of the Business Journal, reported that the Joint Review Board also signed off on the financing plan, much to the chagrin of Ald. Joe Davis who issued a press release complaining about an alleged lack of transparency for a meeting which had the usual public notice. Included in the financing plan was the city’s portion of the financing for The Couture, a RiverWalk segment in the Third Ward for Mandel Group’s Domus apartment building project, and a $400,000 grant to support Gardner Denver Inc.’s move to 222 E. Erie St., in the Third Ward.

But once again, not so fast. Ryan also reported the Wisconsin Supreme Court refused to hear the county’s request to rule on the dispute between the county and Preserve our Parks over the legality of the land sale for The Couture, and whether it is happening on lake bed that is protected by the state constitution from development. The Supreme Court’s refusal to take on the dispute means it will likely end up in Circuit Court and eventually wind its way back to the Supreme. Ryan also reported that the site Johnson Controls is interested in for its new world headquarters could be impacted by this ruling, as it too is on what parks advocates claim is protected lake bed.

In Other News…

-The U.S. Green Building Council put out its 2014 Top 10 States for LEED list, and unfortunately Wisconsin is not leading the way. In fact it is our neighbor to the south, Illinois, who sits atop the ranking, leading the country in sustainable development.

-Historic Milwaukee, Inc. announced the 2015 honorees for the annual Remarkable Milwaukee fundraising dinner and auction. Patti Keating Kahn, our landlord here at the Colby-Abbot Building, is being honored for her efforts to restore and redevelop the Railway Exchange Building and the Colby-Abbot Building, both in downtown Milwaukee. Also being honored is the Forest County Potawatomi for their efforts in the Concordia neighborhood. The event will take place starting at 5:30 p.m. March 12 at the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. You can purchase tickets here.

12 thoughts on “Plats and Parcels: Huge Growth for Brady and Water”

  1. roee says:

    Great job Dave keep it rolling. My only thought is to be ok going bi-weekly which would prevent putting developers on the defensive as if this were a tabloid….

    “but Dorothy Snow, of Wangard, explained in an email to Urban Milwaukee that this is not final and they are “still working on the design.”

  2. Jeremy H. says:

    I may be losing it but I swear I read not too long ago in a published article that Wangard had revised the plans for the Habhegger site to include a 10 story residential tower to “take advantage of views offered to the new NML tower.”

  3. Dave Reid says:

    @roee Oh I’m sure the developers will be just fine.

  4. Dave Reid says:

    @Jeremy H. You’re right. I’ve updated the story to reflect this additional info.

  5. Justin A says:

    Did Wangard give any sort of representation as to when they plan to begin construction? If they are still working on the design phase, I feel like it could be quite some time.

  6. Dave Reid says:

    @Justin A Nope…

  7. Casey says:

    Wow! The Milwaukee River looks like a ocean channel in Dubai. So crystal blue!
    Are they ashamed or embarrassed that our river is a murky fresh water brown water way?

  8. Frank Galvan says:

    Press releases; not news; the Gohkman thing is absolutely, positively never going to happen. The other stuff is years away.
    PS: thanks, however, for the mention of urban pioneer Mike Mervis; it was sad to see his former home abandoned and boarded up and sadder still to see it recently demolished.

  9. Dave Reid says:

    @Frank I feel pretty confident that the Tim Gohkman project will happen. The Curve closed, deconstruction is underway, and I don’t believe there are any zoning changes needed. And he’s shown the ability to find financing (note the townhomes in Riverwest).

  10. Ron says:

    If we want to encourage young families to move to or stay in Milwaukee and 20 or 30 year old singles to settle in Milwaukee, developers must build condos and apartments that include three bedrooms that are affordable. Studios and one bed units cited in the new The Rhythm building do nothing to stabilize long term habitation in Milwaukee. The Building permits should include mandatory 3 bed room units.

  11. Joe says:

    @ Bucks Hit the Jackpot?
    If it was not a bribe, then they are free to give the money to the Bucks and Scott walker would have no say.

  12. Frank Galvan says:

    The Gohkman Townhouses: “Tunnel Vision!”

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