Dave Reid

Zoning Committee Approves 26-Story Tower

By - Sep 30th, 2008 09:58 pm
1550 Prospect Avenue

1550 Prospect Avenue

The only item on this meeting’s agenda was a request from New Land Enterprise for a change in zoning from RM7 to Detailed Planned Development which would facilitate the construction of a 26-story condominium tower on the Goll Mansion property.

Scott Kindness, the lead architect on the project, pointed out that Prospect Avenue is a “melting pot of architectural styles”.  He also indicated that the Goll Mansion would be one of the selling points of the projects and to “think of the mansion as a clubhouse”.  It was pointed out that the current zoning would allow for unlimited height and up to 186 units to be built on this site and that New Land Enterprises is proposing to build a 26-story 35 unit condominium tower that with the exception of some upper level setbacks would meet zoning.  Additionally the development team addressed complaints regarding the 5-story parking garage by explaining the risks involved to the Goll Mansion as well as the need for approximately 125 trucks over eight months to support the possibility of building the parking below grade.

Christopher Kohl, a resident of 1522 On the Lake, started the public comments by saying “it has been said there’s no right to a view” but then indicated he believed that the historic building next door would insure a lower building that would of protected his view.  He then went on to request that the city force New Land Enterprises to put $1 million into an escrow account to insure that restoration work actually occurs on the Goll Mansion.  Alderman Bob Bauman responded to these concerns by asking if the City of Milwaukee has the legal power to make the escrow account part of the zoning change or if the city could dictate the order of development.  Both questions were answered with a “No” and explanation by Assistant City Attorney Gregg Hagopian.

Other residents of 1522 On the Lake spoke in opposition of the project by giving a laundry list of complaints mainly revolving around the preservation of the Goll Mansion.  In response to these issues a letter from Todd Farris, an attorney representing residents of 1522 On the Lake was read into the record.  The letter stated that “better the Goll Mansion is simply taken down”, showing that much of these complaints and concerns regarding historic preservation were hiding the real issue.

Debby Tomczyk, the project’s lawyer, explained that unlike many preservation projects that “our project is completely self supporting”.  She also addressed the idea that had been floated to force New Land Enterprises to put $1 million in an escrow account to pay for the restoration of the Goll Mansion by explaining that by entering into a Detailed Planned Development with the City of Milwaukee if the restoration work isn’t completed the City of Milwaukee will not issue occupancy permits.  This made it clear that there is already a financial incentive to complete the Goll Mansion, namely the ability to sell and occupy units in the new tower.

Paul Demcak, the executive director of the Milwaukee Preservation Commission, added that he “still strongly support this project” and that “it’s basically unheard of for a developer to meet these standards” implying that the agreement they had worked out with New Land Enterprises set a high standard.

Once the public comment period was over the committee quickly took the ordinance up to a vote at it was approved 4-0.  It will now go before the full Common Council for adoption.

Categories: Real Estate

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