Dave Reid

Development Committee Hears Southeast Side Area Plan

By - Oct 22nd, 2008 11:42 pm

The Southeast Side Area Comprehensive Plan was presented for approval by the Department of City Development.  It included site specific recommendations for each district based on smart growth principals such as promoting dense mixed use projects that preserve the unique character and qualities of the neighborhood.  District plans were laid out for the Port of Milwaukee District, Kinnickinnic River District, Bay View District, South of Morgan, General Mitchell International Airport, Airport Gateway Area and the Airport Neighborhoods. Additionally catalytic projects, three of which are highlighted below, were presented that if completed would spark new development and increase the urban character of an area.

  1. Layton and Howell Avenue Site.  A town center, similar to Bayshore Town Center, was suggested for this location in part because of the significant under utilization of the area.
  2. The Former Army Reserve Site on Bay Street.  This site was originally looked at as a possible transit oriented development location in connection with the KRM study.  The concept has evolved and now is the site of the proposed Solar Village.  Two versions of the Solar Village concept were presented with the first proposal containing mostly townhomes while the second proposal suggested two mid-rise buildings on the edge of the site with greenspace in the middle.   Of note was that the two designs showed dramatically different arrangements and massing but actually proposed the same density.
  3. 1st Street and Lincoln Site – It was proposed that this site consist of an urban infill project with mixed use development.

A resolution was brought forward that would force banks and lenders to manage and take care of properties while they enter into foreclosure.  This file brought out lawyers representing various banks and lending operators.  They argued that this resolution wouldn’t pass legal muster and that they didn’t have timely notice.  Alderman Jim Bohl came out firing as he took issue with their notice argument as lenders often don’t properly notify the city when they acquire a property.  He went on to say that “the sky isn’t falling here, this is a reasonable measure” and that “I think that this legislation should be shoved down their throats” indicating his belief that their complaints were unsubstantiated and that this measure was vitally important.  Alderman Jim Witkowiak closed the meeting with “frankly I’m out of patience at this time.”  The resolution was held at the call of the chair to allow for further input but the committee’s intent rang loud and clear.  Clearly the committee’s intent was for this resolution to eventually move forward.

During the Department of City Development’s presentation of the 2007 TIF Annual Report a couple of items that stood out.  First, as recently reported, the Aloft Hotel project would be receiving construction financing this week.  Second, the troubled First Place on the River development has issued 79 occupancy permits which should fill approximately half of the units in the development.  Finally, it was pointed out that TIF activity has been lower than previous years but that a few projects would be brought forward soon.

The other items of interest were the change of zoning requests for O. C. Hansen Development’s proposed office building at 331 and 341 North Milwaukee Street.  As these items were declared obsolete and then placed on file, it appears that this project will not be moving forward.


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