Dave Reid

New Land Enterprises’ Bookends Project To Go Before City Plan Commission (Renderings)

By - Oct 8th, 2009 08:47 pm
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The Bookends, proposed by New Land Enterprises, will go before the Milwaukee City Plan Commission on October 19th, 2009 to gain approval of a change in zoning to a detailed plan development.  The project, which would be located at E. Kilbourn Avenue and N. Van Buren Street, consists of a 19-story mixed used apartment building with up to 224 dwelling units, a retail component, and five stories of structured parking.  According to the Journal Sentinel, New Land Enterprises is also requesting that the city provide a loan guarantee, which would allow New Land Enterprises to move forward with the project, potentially breaking ground in the near future.

If approved, the development will go before the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee, and then onto the full Common Council.  The full detailed plan is available on City Plan Commission website, and the associated file, 081081, is now available in legistar.





Categories: Real Estate

25 thoughts on “New Land Enterprises’ Bookends Project To Go Before City Plan Commission (Renderings)”

  1. Tom says:

    The Bookends are awful. The design is entirely without imagination. It is better to do nothing than to build this ugly building.

  2. cynthia loffredo says:

    Aesthetically challenged!!!

  3. Marco says:

    Completely uninspiring! We dont need any more of these types of buildings in the Mil.

  4. Nicholas Crawford says:

    Is this going where there is a parking lot now on the SE corner?

  5. Jesse Hagen says:

    This would be built where the former Edwardo’s Pizza (low-slung white building) is, on the north-east corner, along with the adjacent parking lot.

  6. Jeff Jordan says:

    I not only have many problems with the design, but there are other serious questions.
    First do we need more of this kind of housing n Milwaukee? With projects going into receivership and other standing near empty or under utilized, why should the city help bankroll this project.
    Second, New Land has a terrible reputation for quality and design. I realize some of that is subjective criticism, but I agree with those that are not inspired by this look. I don’t know what you call the style, but it looks like container ship sheik to me.
    Than there is New Lands failure to fill their street level spaces. From their failure on Downer to the glaring emptiness of the Sterling, New Land has not demonstrated the ability to fill street level spaces. This leads to a bleakness on the street and pulls down the merchants around him.
    The answer to this request should be, NO! NO! NO!

  7. milwbobby says:

    has new land ever built something isnt garbage? i hope for the sake of good architecture the city turns down this trash! get a clue boris! your buildings are crap!

  8. Chris says:

    Absolutely terrible. What a sophomoric design, possibly worse than Breakwater… ok, maybe that’s too harsh. While it’s not Breakwater bad, it’s certainly not worth receiving any City money.

    If it’s between this design mess and the Moderne, I certainly hope the City makes the right decision and gives the nod to the better building.

  9. Billy says:

    I can’t even get over how ugly this is.

  10. CJ says:

    I applaud New Land’s development ambitions, but I agree their designs leave much to be desired and it will be unfortunate for the city to end up be a New Land design experiment

  11. Rob says:

    The design isn’t outstanding, but it’s better than what’s currently there. I hope this project is able to move forward, even if it doesn’t receive a loan guarantee from the city.

  12. Wanda H says:

    Did anyone notice who is lobbying for this? Now Mike Seraphim D’Amato is going to persuade the common council that the City should provide more subsidies to NLD?! How would he do that?

    “D’Amato donated $4,284 to other political campaigns, led by a $1,000 contribution to the state Democratic Party. In addition to Taylor, he also donated to Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser; Common Council President Willie Hines Jr.; Aldermen Bob Bauman, Jim Bohl, Joe Dudzik, Ashanti Hamilton, Willie Wade, Jim Witkowiak and Terry Witkowski; and Assembly candidate Ruth Page Jones.”

    “Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser has named former Milwaukee Alderman Michael S. D’Amato as his second representative to the Milwaukee 7 business development group.”

    Mike D’Amato
    President at M. Serafino, LLC

    Registered Agent
    MILWAUKEE , WI 53211




  13. Dave Reid says:

    @Rob I’m torn. My take is if we are going to do the loan then we should get a good building i.e. Moderne. That said I like the idea of adding lots of new density to downtown, and there is definitely a need for construction work out there.

  14. Rachael says:

    Does the CPC have detailed plans available online for The Moderne too? It would be nice to compare the two. Judging the outside of a building is all well and good, as it seems people are doing from these terrible pictures, but the quality of the inside of the building matters more (at least to me). I would love to see the floorplans and details the moderne has put together.

    I think this buliding has a far better location than the moderne. If I was going to pay that much to live in either building (I couldn’t afford it if I ate ramen noodles every day!), I’d much rather be on the east side by metro market, cathedral square, and the lake. I sure hope the building is prettier than those pictures make it out to be tho.

    At the end of the day, Milwaukee should have both projects. Downtown needs to grow (upward!) and bring in more people & more money.

  15. Rob says:


    Yeah, it’s definitely a balancing act. I really wish the design looked better, but I also think it’s a little difficult to get a decent sense of the final product from these sketches. Although I’d consider it a mild success if the final outcome is anything like City Green.

    One detail I might be confused about — the city would only be guaranteeing the NLE loan, whereas they’d be providing a $10 mil loan to The Moderne, right? If it comes down to money, which it probably will, I could see the board approving The Bookends merely because there’s no immediate expense as compared to The Moderne. That would be unfortunate — a 9% return is nothing to sneeze at these days.

  16. Dave Reid says:

    @Rachael I’m looking for more detailed plans of the Moderne if I get them I’ll definitely post them. And I agree the Bookends has a better location, right in my neighborhood, though to me that is another reason why maybe it should wait as that is very prime land that will eventually development, whereas The Moderne might just be the catalyst the area it is in needs…. That said I guess we’ll find out… thanks!

  17. Pat says:

    Bookends a great Milwaukee location for a mixed use project. The city of Milwaukee needs to get involved with this project to show case this part of the city and move the city of Milwaukee forward. If we wait for something else we will just do that and keep waiting! Go forward with the Bookends project and the Moderne and keep on going forward.

  18. Dave Reid says:

    @Pat my biggest issue with the Bookends is the design. It just doesn’t address the street well, and the parking plinth is pretty obtuse. I believe if NLE would re-work it a bit more it would be better for everyone. The loan guarantee is of course a question mark as well, but well it is worthy of a public debate at the bare minimum.

  19. Rachael says:

    I think it’s going to be more attractive than people are imagining. That’s probably due to the low-resolution, poorly executed renderings. I would love to see the official “artistic” rendering of the building (if there are any). All the windows at different heights and widths gives the building some interesting lines.

    @ Dave – I also think NLE has an uphill challenge by having their four or five stories of parking above ground. I can’t think of one attractive parking structure, but that is what they are putting the apartments on top of, so they have to deal with trying to make it look as good as possible. Imagination and inspiration DO have to work hand in hand with feasability and funding, I guess.

    If the parking were underground, i’m not sure the building woud be any more attractive either. You’d lose height (i like seeing tall buildings downtown). You’d also lose those great big windows, and that would be a shame too. Furthermore, who wants a street level apartment? Not on that busy of a corner!

    I just can’t see why there’s such a fuss, when what’s currently there is such an eyesore and doesn’t serve the neighborhood at all. Not every building can be Calatrava original.

  20. Van Manwich says:

    Who is the architect responsible for the Bookends? The ground floor and parking treatment leave something to be desired. While it doesn’t strike me as a particularly bad building compared to other recent residential projects, it’s not a building I’d be in a rush to give a loan guarantee. At first glance, the Moderne seems better urbanistically in its lower floors — unless its hiding parking behind reflective windows? — but it falls short of the graceful era it’s trying to evoke.

  21. Darrin says:

    Another mediocre building by Boris and partners with a discount architectural design team. If it meets the requirements of zoning at that location so be it; however, there should be some architectural review board and city staff person (Urban Designer) involved to encourage great design and approve/deny appropriate projects. It is not a significant enough project to place city funding in and it is on desirable enough land that can be developed without public funding.

  22. Dave Reid says:

    @Darrin I agree I do wish NLE would put together a better building here. That said after the Moderne vote I have to believe this one gets approved as well.

  23. SteveR says:

    Lotta complaints about this project, yet I think it will look much better than what the illustrations are showing. Having taken a bit closer look at the drawings, this is going to look much better than what we see here. So I will have to say build it, build it, build it high and keep the amazing residential renaissance going. Downtown Milwaukee is an amazing place to live, work and play. Once the perceptions are done away with, hopefully the facts that downtown is a safe and fun place to be will finally take hold and downtown Milwaukee can really move forward.

  24. Dave Reid says:

    @SteveR The Bookends project fell through a long time ago.

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