Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

“Mini Earthquake” On Farwell Avenue?

Building's deconstruction spills into street. Over $2,000 in citations issued.

By - Nov 21st, 2016 02:45 pm
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1840 N. Farwell Ave.

1840 N. Farwell Ave.

An East Side deconstruction project took an unfortunate turn today. The last standing piece of the four-story office building at 1840 N. Farwell Ave. collapsed into the street while crews from Kenosha-based Recyclean, Inc. were working to demolish the remainder of the building. The glass doors at the front of the office building across the street were shattered, but no injuries were reported. However, Farwell was temporarily closed to traffic due to the debris on the street. An employee at nearby Mueller Communications (1749 N. Prospect Ave.) described the impact of the incident as a “mini earthquake.”

UPDATE: Tim Gokhman of New Land Enterprises said the structure was dropped into the street in a controlled manner with approval by the city. No fines or violations were issued. Gokhman says “the reason the building was collapsed towards Farwell was to protect the residential structure to the north.” A follow-up call to Todd Weiler at the Department of Neighborhood Services confirms that no fines or violations have been issued at as of Monday afternoon and that the proper permits were in place, but that the contractor did not have approval to drop debris into the street.

UPDATE 2: Citations have now been issued as of Tuesday, November 22nd. Four citations of $565 each were issued for “improper procedure.” Those receiving citations were New Land LLP, New Enterprise, PFI 1840 LLC and Recyclean, Inc according to Weiler. Weiler also notes the amount is the standard citation amount and that the case is still open.

The modernist office building, originally built in 1961, is being demolished for a new 13-story mixed-use building being developed by Jim Wiechmann and his firm Wiechmann Enterprises. As of this weekend, the only remaining pieces of the building were the street-facing facade, staircase, and front series of pillars that form the building’s support structure. Now all that remains standing, after the collapse, is some of the first-floor support structure.

A representative of Recyclean could not be found at the construction site and crew members declined to comment. Representatives from the city’s Department of Neighborhood Services were at the site inspecting the damage and instructing crew members to clear the road, which they did pretty quickly. The collapse happened shortly before 10:45 a.m., and the street was largely clear and open to traffic again by 12:45 p.m. Work at the construction site was idled following the incident.

Recyclean, Inc. has been guiding the deconstruction work of the 25,536-square-foot building, which began in September. They’re also at work on another project for frequent Wiechmann partner Tim Gokhman, deconstructing the building that housed Renaissance Book Shop at 834 N. Plankinton Ave.

Deconstruction, unlike demolition, seeks to divert and reclaim as much of the building as possible from the landfill. Sidewalk architects have been able to observe element after element disappear from the building, essentially watching the construction process happen in reverse. Ceiling tiles disappear one day, then glass windows the next. A wrecking ball would be faster, but far worse for the environment.

The site is owned by PFI 1840 LLC, which lists an address in Sheboygan owned by Monica and Steven Gosse.

New Building

Once the site is cleared, construction work will begin on the new tower. The tower will occupy the footprint of the building, as well as the parking lot immediately to the south at 1832 N. Farwell Ave. The new building is being designed by Kindness Architecture + Planning, a frequent Wiechmann and New Land Enterprises collaborator. Kindness, a seven-person firm, was acquired by Eppstein Uhen Architects in August.

When complete, the new building will include 153 apartments, primarily one bedroom and studio units. A 215-stall parking garage on the building’s lower floors will service 10,000 square-feet of office space in the building, as well as first-floor commercial space. Award winning chef Justin Carlisle has announced that he’ll open a deli in the building, complimenting his Red Light Ramen and Ardent restaurants just across the street.

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2 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: “Mini Earthquake” On Farwell Avenue?”

  1. Doug Lueck says:

    Farwell Avenue mess.
    What’s the difference in meaning between deconstruction and demolition?

  2. K says:

    “Deconstruction, unlike demolition, seeks to divert and reclaim as much of the building as possible from the landfill. Sidewalk architects have been able to observe element after element disappear from the building, essentially watching the construction process happen in reverse. Ceiling tiles disappear one day, then glass windows the next. A wrecking ball would be faster, but far worse for the environment.”

    ^Straight from the article…^

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