Dave Reid

Oops! No Money for UW-Tosa

By - Sep 10th, 2009 07:27 pm


To think, I was just about to put the UW-Tosa t-shirts up on the new Urban Milwaukee store, maybe I can hold off now?  Apparently, UWM’s backing out of the fight to locate the School of Freshwater Sciences on the former Pieces of Eight restaurant site ruffled some feathers, and Michael Cudahy decided to return the favor by backing out of funding UWM’s proposed Wauwatosa location for the Engineering School.  The fallout from this rift could actually build a stronger city and certainly will reshape a lakefront.

Maybe, now Chancellor Carlos Santiago can take a closer look at the master plan that UWM has been developing, and reconsider downtown Milwaukee as an option for the new school of engineering.  A downtown campus would be closer to other universities and major companies conducting research.  In fact, it was recently announced that UWM, Marquette, and MSOE will be working together on energy related research projects though the forming of the Southeastern Wisconsin Energy Technology Research Center.  This partnership appears to be just the start and will be an ongoing endeavor that could only be strengthened by proximity.

In addition to UWM’s School of Engineering, potentially being back in play despite statements from UWM representatives, the other impact is the future of the lakefront.  During the debate over the School of Freshwater Sciences there primarily was discussion of two options other than the university for the Pieces of Eight site.  Many people thought that bringing back a high-end restaurant would be good for Milwaukee, and others fought passionately for preserving or creating new green space.  So I have two questions.  When does the new Bartolottas open?  And, how soon will the parks groups begin raising funds to buy out the lease?

On a more serious note, I do wonder, now that Michael Cudahy has withdrawn his funds for the Wauwatosa expansion, where will the $13.5 million to purchase the land come from?  Taxpayers?

Jill Capicchioni

Categories: Real Estate

11 thoughts on “Oops! No Money for UW-Tosa”

  1. David B. says:

    Hey Dave, Do we know how much Cudahy had commited towards UW-Tosa?

  2. I believe the Public Trust Doctrine will prohibit operation of a restaurant at the Pieces of Eight site if anybody would bother to see it be enforced.

  3. Mike Poe says:

    So the land has not been purchased yet? If not, that makes me feel much better.

    Hopefully we see UW-Downtown real soon.

    Now that Cudahy is out of the picture how long can we expect this ordeal to take? I’m curious how much money he planned on contributing as well.

  4. Blaine D. says:

    Thankfully this fell through (to a point anyway). I was banging my head against the wall trying to figure out why they wanted to put a campus way out in Tosa. Way to keep UWM a true commuter school. Locate it downtown (maybe near the extension school) or possibly closer on the eastside somewhere?

    What about the Columbia Hospital purchase? I’ve been living out of state for several years now but I remember when the idea of that surfaced the neighborhood associations were screaming about such a possibility!

  5. Nick Aster says:

    Very interesting. I don’t see loss of the lakefront site as that much of a big deal – UWM could build a bigger place, with more design freedom along the Milwaukee river perhaps which integrates much more nicely into the urban fabric. As for Tosa, totally agree it was a bad choice from the get-go. I wonder if Cudahy can come out swinging for a compromise – perhaps a downtown location that could host both school? After all, water and engineering are related!

  6. Ben says:

    It would be almost unendurably delectable if UWM was forced to build downtown.

  7. Jeff Jordan says:

    Let’s not forget that the taxpayers are paying a whole lot of money for the Master Plan. Now that they have a free hand, we might get a comprehensive plan for both locations (Engineering and Fresh Water) that will make sense and garner the support of the community and the staff.
    Let’s not gloat about Cudahy’s abandonment of this issue. On this issue, I think he was wrong, but we, as a city, owe him a lot. When the guy is right, he is right. I wish other people with the ability and the money would step up like Mike does, and offer ideas, money and leadership.

  8. Dave Reid says:

    @David B I believe close to the purchase price, originally I had heard $10 million.

  9. Dave Reid says:

    @Michael I believe you are technically correct, but I feel pretty confident a restaurant will go back in there.

  10. Dave Reid says:

    @Mike Poe Well there is a deal for the land, but I have to believe it could still fall through due to a lack of funds.

  11. Dave Reid says:

    @Jeff Good point. I certainly appreciate all that Cudahy has done for Milwaukee.

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