Jeramey Jannene
Friday Photos

North End Redefines Water Street

Third phase of transformational project fills the gap between Downtown and the Lower East Side.

By - Jun 5th, 2015 05:05 pm
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The North End Phase III. Photo by Brendan Murphy.

Looking south down N. Water St. at The North End Phase III. Photo by Brendan Murphy.

Heading west down E. Brady St. has a profoundly different feel these days. Gone is the feeling of emptiness as one rounds the bend and Brady turns into N. Water St. That emptiness has been filled by the filled by the third phase of The North End. The Mandel Group‘s latest installment of their “neighborhood by design” places a $53 million, six-story complex in the gap between Downtown and the Lower East Side. As Mandel Group President Barry Mandel said during the project’s groundbreaking “this was the hole in the doughnut downtown. Finally we weave together the urban fabric, create jobs and an ongoing tax base for the city.” While the horseshoe-shaped project is far from finished, it’s already profoundly changed how the area feels.

Work began on the site at 1635 N. Water St. in July 2014, with an official groundbreaking in October, and is scheduled for completion near the end of this year. When finished it will contain 168 apartments and a 29,500 square-feet Fresh Thyme Farmers Market grocery store (with underground parking). Tenants will have access to a multitude of amenities including a fitness center and yoga studio, a private clubroom, an internet cafe, a pet grooming and wash room, a bicycle repair facility, a recycling center and a car wash station. In case the building doesn’t contain everything one needs, a Bublr Bikes bike sharing station will be located near the former Pfister & Vogel Tannery water tower located on the southeast corner of the site to allow for easy travel to other locations in the area.

The project’s financing was described as “extremely complex” by Mandel at the groundbreaking and includes $10.5 million in New Market Tax Credits that help finance the grocery store. Tax-incremental financing (through the Park East TIF) is being used to provide $8 million in public and private infrastructure for the project, including construction of the RiverWalk segment and environmental remediation. The New Market Tax Credits arrangement includes contributions to the Walnut Way Conversation Corp. and Marquette University‘s ACRE program from both the Mandel Group and the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority.

If the financing of the project wasn’t complex enough, the southern portion of the site will include a small 17-vehicle parking lot because of an easement in place with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. It’s one of the many subtle ways MMSD’s Deep Tunnel and other sewer projects alter the shape of the city.

The third phase will complement the three existing buildings, ONE, Portrait, and Silhouette, already built just across Pleasant St. to the south. It will extend the RiverWalk another block north, limiting the number of non-walkable river lots to about as many as you can count on one hand.

The neighborhood is no stranger to change, in addition to the three Mandel buildings, four apartment buildings were recently completed just up the hill (AvenirAvante Apartments, Sage on Jackson, and East Terrace Apartments). It’s been mentioned also that The Rhythm apartments might break ground as soon as next week just across the street from The North End. Just north of The North End, Wangard Partners has demolished the former Habhegger garage and is finalizing plans for a new, mixed-use series of buildings.

HGA Architects & Engineers serves as the project architect, with general contracting being led by Ray Hintz General Contractors. The proposed fourth and final phase of the project would add approximately 275 apartments to the multi-block development.

Photos by Brendan Murphy

The North End Phase III Renderings

Past The North End Phase III Coverage

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