Dave Reid

MSOE Proposes Parking Garage with Athletic Field in the Park East (Renderings)

By - Nov 10th, 2010 12:05 pm
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MSOE Soccer Parking Facility

MSOE Soccer Parking Facility

Milwaukee School of Engineering is proposing the construction of a $30 million, 780-car parking garage, that would have an athletic field on the roof of the building.  About 500 of the 780 parking spots would be leased to business and the general public, generating taxable revenue for MSOE.  The proposal also includes a small public park that would be maintained by MSOE, and a retail slot designed for a small restaurant, or coffee shop that would be adjacent to the park.  The parking garaged would be located north of the Kern Center on the northwest corner of Broadway and Knapp Street, within the Park East corridor.  Not visible in the renderings, but do to the elevation drop of the 2½ acres site the athletic field be visible at ground level on the corner of Broadway and Knapp Street.

The project would be funded in a large part by a donation from Drs. Robert and Patricia Kern.  The property is currently owned by Marshall & Ilsley Corporation and Milwaukee County.

To move forward the project will require approval by the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, and a zoning change to be approved by the City of Milwaukee Common Council.

Categories: Real Estate

16 thoughts on “MSOE Proposes Parking Garage with Athletic Field in the Park East (Renderings)”

  1. Chris says:

    I’d be a lot more excited for this project if it gave back more on the street level. To me this looks like another block-long vacant parking structure (just what MKE needs). Why not ring the entire, accessible, base with commercial space?

  2. Dave Reid says:

    @Chris agreed. At least try to activate some of the street level with, retail, or any sort of active use really. And if they plan on leasing out 500 spots they could reduce that number and use some spots for those retail slots.

  3. Howard Leu says:

    I would also like to see more retail and street level activities there. It’s nice that they plan on opening up Market Street. I think it would be a good spot for something a long the lines of a open air market in the summer time along Market up to Water Street. Any word on plans for the parking lot west of Kern? M&I Bank owns that lot and also the paved lot that would be a part of this development. I think there calls for major retail and restaurant space on the lot west of Kern, especially with this parking structure going up.

  4. dan says:

    those that are always harping about more parking will like this plan. i think it’s a good idea myself. i’m not sure it does need more development street-level, a simple single-use structure will be easier upkeep for MSOE (who i would guess do not want to necessarily become landlords). The soccer field is a great use of vertical space, but where do the spectators go? all told i give it a 7 out of 10.

  5. Jesse Hagen says:

    I think what people are missing is that yes, people do complain about parking in the area, but there’s only a shortage of FREE parking. Does anyone really think that having a garage there will push people to pay for their parking now?

    Either way, this could jump start other development, but the street frontage needs some work.

  6. cletus says:


    Where do the spectators go?

    Don’t kid yourself. Nobody watches MSOE soccer anyways. They should definitely open up some commercial spaces to produce more foot traffic in the area.

  7. Dave Reid says:

    @cletus Yeah I don’t see them have any big crowds but some seating might allow them to rent the facility out for leagues and stuff..

  8. Jerad says:

    I like the fact that it appears that the parcel that fronts Water St. along Knapp would still be open to development. Would be nice to see a mid/high rise directly on Water. If the Marcus garage gets developed, and in the next 10 years we could see the other recent high rise proposals along Water come to fruition. Water St. could become a really nice urban “canyon”.

  9. Nick Aster says:

    Not horrendous, I love the idea of the field on top. That’s a major plus. Looks like they’re actually not using that whole parcell, they’re extending Market Street across, so there’s still a large triangular parcel available for something to be built on.

  10. Chris says:

    Jesse, you make a great point. It drives me crazy when people complain about parking downtown. Milwaukee couldn’t be easier to park in. There’s structures everywhere, ample street parking, and a dearth of surface parking lots. For whatever reason, Milwaukeens seem to believe they should be able to drive their cars directly into whatever thing it is that they’re attending. Spend some time in a real city and see how things work…

    Anyhow, I agree that it’s strange that MSOE doesn’t apparently plan on future soccer success. Why not at least leave room to develop some sort of fan seating area? Realistically, they probably would never draw more than 500 people or so, but could they be accommodated with the current plans?

  11. Adam says:

    It looks like the only way to watch the game is to go to the top of the parking structure. You can’t even watch it from the park. This is a very odd design.

    Will they need to install huge nets around the whole thing to prevent game balls from flying over the edge?

  12. Michael James says:

    Would collegiate soccer players really want to play their games on a field where there’s no room for fans to sit? Not even a single row of bleachers? Seems like a very weird idea. Because the field is such a tight fit between Market and Broadway it seems there wouldn’t be room to build seating even if they wanted to.

    Also, I assume there’d have to be very large nets strung up around the field (not shown on the rendering) or the ball would be flying off the top of the building and rolling off down the street every five or ten minutes… maybe even hitting someone and causing a lawsuit. So not only would Milwaukee be getting ANOTHER parking structure, but one with giant nets extending from the top of it.

    The people donating this money are obviously very generous, but I think they should come up with something better.

  13. Dave Reid says:

    @Adam I wondered about nets as well, I’m not sure if they would be needed or not… And yes from most sides to watch you’re up on the roof. There is one side/corner that will be at ground level but the renderings do a poor job showing that.

  14. Dave Reid says:

    @Michael I agree there can do something better… As far as fans it is Division III so I’m not sure they need that much space for fans, maybe some but not a ton.

  15. PJF says:

    I love you naysayers. When will anything go into the park east? Ripping down the freeway was a foolish move and it’s been ugly, empty land for nearly a decade. If you don’t do this, I doubt the park east will be anything but ugly, empty land for another 10 years+.

  16. Dave Reid says:

    @PJF Development takes time, and tearing down an underutilized, blighting freeway, which was very ugly as well, was a good move for Milwaukee. Biggest problem in the Park East has been the County’s handling of the land sales process.

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