Dave Reid
Plats and Parcels

The Boom in Walker’s Point

A new project on South Water St. continues the pace of development.

By - Apr 6th, 2015 05:24 pm
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The VJS construction trailer sat at 236 S. Water St. for years awaiting for the Rivianna to be built. Photo taken by Jeramey Jannene in November 2008 from the top of 201 Deco, an office building in the South Water Works complex.

The VJS construction trailer sat at 236 S. Water St. for many years awaiting the Rivianna to be built. Photo taken by Jeramey Jannene in November 2008 from the top of 201 Deco, an office building in the South Water Works complex.

There was more drama about the never-ending NBA arena funding issue and County Executive Chris Abele moved to a downtown residence last week, but for our money the big real estate news was the announcement of a new Walker’s Point apartment project. The neighborhood has been on the up-and-coming list for years, and this project shows the trend continuing.

According to a story by Tom Daykin and the Journal Sentinel, David Winograd, the owner of South Water Works complex, is planning another apartment complex at 236 S. Water St. along the river. The new project would be built just across the street from the South Water Works, which includes the 55-residential unit Bridgeview Apartments, the 52-residential unit Building 6, two office buildings, Next Act Theatre, and the soon-to-open 76-unit Oregon at South Water Works. At this time Winograd is seeking a zoning change for the site but hasn’t publicly shared any specifics. Though Jeff Fleming, Department of City Development spokesman, told Daykin it is a “larger scale development.”

It’s not the first time a large-scale development was proposed for this site. In July 2009, developer Bob Schultz had received a zoning approval for an $80 million, 18-story, 3-tower, apartment and hotel project, known as Rivanna, on the site where Winograd plans to build. Had Rivanna been built it would have included 166 residential units, a 236-room hotel, and 10,000 square feet of first floor office/retail. On that same day the Hide House development and the Villard Square Library project were both approved. Rivianna never moved forward leaving the site vacant, but two out of three projects approved on that day have since been built.

The plan for Rivianna originally included helipads on each roof to support executive travel to Chicagoland and a waterfall along the Riverwalk. These amenities raised concerns from residents across the river in Marine Terminal Lofts, and were eventually dropped.

There’s no word if Winograd plans to bring back the helipads (not likely), but we can dream. His South Water Works certainly shows he can build big projects

Rivianna Renderings from 2009

Arena News

Another week, another round of alternative funding proposals for Bucks arena.

Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to raise funds to build a new NBA arena by issuing $220 million in bonds and using income taxes paid by NBA games played in Milwaukee to pay of the debt has recently come under fire from state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald proposed a $150 million alternative package that would utilize bonding from the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, but would create a $70 million funding gap.

Despite the concerns and counter proposals Walker continues to express optimism a deal will happen. According to a story by Rich Kirchen, of the Business Journal on March 30th, the governor said “I believe we’re going to have a viable alternative to our arena plan on the table.”

On April 2nd, Kirchen reported on Mayor Tom Barrett’s Thursday press conference about arena funding.

“I have represented to all the players involved that the city would certainly contribute half of that [$50 million] called for by the governor’s proposal,” Barrett said during the press conference. “I’ve had contact with [County Executive] Chris Abele, and the city and county together will reach that $50 million.”

Don Walker and Jason Stein, of the Journal Sentinel, filled in the details of city’s half of the $50 million contribution.  According to their story it would come in the form of $17 million in infrastructure near the arena, the donation of a $7.4 million city-owned parking garage at N. 4th St. and W. Highland Blvd., and the former Sydney Hih site, valued at $1.1 million, in the Park East corridor. That’s $400,000 extra!

But in a followup story, by Walker, Abele cast doubt on Barrett’s story of having made contact with the county exec about the city plan, saying he’d first heard of the plan after Barrett’s new conference. Abele added that “we are working on alternative models that can get the entire project funded and we continue to share those models with the governor, legislators, the city and the Bucks owners.” (Note all that consultation.) “We will continue to work hard to do whatever we can to ensure that this project gets done,” Abele added.

Two steps forward, and one step back.

Abele’s Moderne Move

County Executive Abele’s move to The Moderne had to be the worst kept secret in Milwaukee, but last week Sean Ryan of the Business Journal officially reported the big news. Abele purchased a $2.1 million, 29th floor, 3-bedroom, 4,313 square foot condo in The Moderne.

More importantly developer Rick Barrett told Ryan, “We remain fully leased up, and have sold all but 3 of the 14 condominiums.” As the building was partially financed using city TIF dollars this should help insure the loans are paid back. See, Abele and the mayor can work together.

But the question here at Urban Milwaukee: In tomorrow’s election what ward will Abele be voting in?

In Other News…

-Once a parking lot, always a parking lot. A lot at 822 N. Old World Third St. was sold to an affiliate of MVP REIT Inc. for $1 million, significantly higher than its assessed value of $462,000, according to a story by Ryan. MVP REIT is a San Diego-based firm that according to the story, “focuses its investments in parking lots and structures…”

-On April 1st (and apparently not an April Fool’s joke), Korb Tredo Architects announced the departure of co-founder Jeff Tredo. Later in the day Ryan reported that Tredo was headed to Rinka Chung Architecture.

And in case you missed it, we featured the Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons project in last week’s Friday Photos.

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