Dave Reid
Eyes on Milwaukee

The New Third Ward Alterra’s Design

Here are the renderings of a design that embraces the street and bicycle culture.

By - Apr 30th, 2013 02:47 pm
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Aerial View of Third Ward Alterra. Rendering courtesy of The Kubala Washatko Architects, Inc.

Aerial View of Third Ward Alterra. Rendering courtesy of The Kubala Washatko Architects, Inc.

The demise of the Third Ward Caffe after 30 years in business opened a new opportunity for Alterra Coffee Roasters and its ever-expanding empire of coffee houses. Alterra has proposed a plan to redesign the longtime Italian restaurant’s old space, opening up the cafe to the street to invite activity.  The design will be by Chris Socha, architect with The Kubala Washatko Architects, Inc., who has handled the design of many Alterra cafes — on Prospect Ave., in Bay View, Riverwest, Wauwatosa and other locations.

The location is a high-traffic area just down the street from the Public Market, Cafe Benelux restaurant and the Wicked Hop bar. (Restaurants America group is opening “primebar,” as it will be called, down the block on St. Paul and Water St., in the building owned by Ann Pieper, which should add to the street life.)

The proposed design for the new Alterra will have a significant indoor/outdoor connection through the use of custom steel and glass operable panels. The images show the windows and doors in their open position. It will also have a steel-and-glass canopy to create high-quality outdoor cafe space. The space will be slightly less than 2,000 square feet,  and the cafe will also sell beer.

Bike parking will be provided: covered vertical racks attached to the brick wall along with custom docks on the sidewalk that double as standing drink rails. The latter feature — covered vertical bike parking–  is a pretty unique touch, though its also featured at the Alterra in Bay View.  Alterra has been installing generous and unique bike parking at all of its cafes.  Milwaukee’s first on-street bike corral was created at the Prospect location (designed by Socha with metal work by Ryan Foat, Oxbow Studio LLC), and from there Alterra has gotten increasingly adventurous with its bike amenities.

The design plan was approved at the recent Historic Third Ward Architectural Review Board.  An opening date hasn’t been set, but the new cafe could open as soon as late Summer or early Fall.


23 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: The New Third Ward Alterra’s Design”

  1. CJ says:

    It looks very nice. Although I question Alterra’s logic in 1) opening a store so close to an existing store, and 2) in a spot with three other coffee options within a block distance (Cedarburg, Starbucks and I am including Cafe Benelux).

  2. Amanda says:

    Will they be closing the other Third Ward location then?

  3. Dave Reid says:

    @Amanda If you mean the Fifth Ward Foundry location… I don’t believe so.

  4. GaRGOYLA says:

    Thank Zeus! Because there aren’t nearly enough coffeeteers in the Third Ward, especially near the site of this Alterra.

  5. blurradial says:

    So this coffeeshop/bakery goods will be literally across the street from the Milwaukee Public Market, which has its own anchor coffeeshop and bakers. And as previously mentioned, it is less than 100 yards from Cafe Benelux to the east and a Starbucks to the west. Four blocks away west on St. Paul, there is a new Stone Creek Coffee outlet (not counting the skywalk SCCC outlet). Third Ward also has Cafe Bella. *And you may call the Foundry Alterra Fifth Ward — but don’t tell that to the condo dwellers on the wrong side of that river. They still believe it’s part of the Third Ward until the train trestle.

  6. Jennifer says:

    I have said the same thing regarding Alterra’s choice for this new location. First place I thought of was Cedarburg in the Public Market. I feel like Alterra is the Walgreens of drug stores and will close the Mom and Pop stores. Cedarburg buys some of the bakery they sell from the bakery store in the Market. Then we have Starbucks, Cafe Benelux and Stone Creek (just past the River on Water). I would have liked to see anything but a coffee shop grab that spot. I think Third Ward really needs is a grocery store! With that said, I’m sure I will go to Alterra….For a beer on the patio…

  7. Sam Jones says:

    Don’t forget Anodyne’s Walker’s Point Roastery/Cafe, which is opening soon.

    Regardless, I love the fact that Alterra is investing in the Third Ward. The ward seems to be coming back after the financial crisis, and this will be another good shot in the arm. C. Adam Bakery shouldn’t suffer because it’s a real bakery, which Alterra is not. Starbucks and Cedarburg are both second-wave coffee places that don’t draw the same kind of customer (Alterra being third-wave). I know Stone Creek is close, but Stone Creek and Alterra seem to thrive right across the street from each other in Bay View. Looking forward to seeing the new place open.

  8. John G. says:

    From the perspective of drawing tourists, having our most prominent coffee roaster nearby the Market, the upcoming Kimpton and near a number of other establishments, it seems like a great idea. Third Ward needs more foot traffic. I am surprised they are not closing the Foundry location though..

  9. GaRGOYLA says:

    Alterra is the Walmart of Milwaukee coffeeteers. At the very least, maybe they’ll do the city a favor and cause the Third Ward Starbucks to close. And future thanks to the zombies that will flood this new Alterra.

  10. getch says:

    Foundry location gets many commuters. The new location will not provide the ease of quick park, grab, and go.

  11. GaRGOYLA says:

    getch May 1st, 2013 10:10 am :
    Foundry location gets many commuters. The new location will not provide the ease of quick park, grab, and go.

    So somewhere else then, dummy.

  12. Kyle says:

    I don’t consider Alterra on the Lake to be particularly convenient for commuters, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great location for them. Perhaps there are other considerations.

  13. GaRGOYLA says:

    Why does it have to be convnient for communters, that one location? There are dozens of other places blocks from all the other places to get coffee or tea and whatever. You convenience people are the worst. Odin forbid you have to walk an extra block or wait in line a little longer to not support Walmart.

  14. Jeff Winke says:

    Happy to see the Third Ward Alterra – especially if it stays open ’till 10pm or later which would define it as a very welcome late night spot. I like the nearby Starbucks and Cedarburg Coffee and don’t want to see either of them close. They all can do well and live in harmony.

  15. Dana says:

    I’m so excited for this new location! Alterra has great product and the best latte in town. I work in the Third Ward and honestly, sometimes it’s just too cold to walk across the bridge into the fifth ward. Welcome!

  16. DK says:

    I still see bicyclists fumbling in the rain and dealing with inconvenience. A truly generous awning like the ones around the corner on Broadway would not only provide better coverage in bad weather, but would also be an homage to the spirit of the Third Ward. Also, there is no window for sidewalk service. I’ve seen the phrases ‘high-traffic area,’ ‘foot traffic,’ and ‘commuter convenience’ bandied about—wouldn’t a walk-up window just make sense? Not everyone who wants a beverage wants to spend time in the area. It might even be convenient to the point where bicyclists wouldn’t have to get off their bikes. And will Alterra offer a beverage container that fits in a bike’s water bottle cage? I see room for improvement.

  17. Bruce Thompson says:

    Oddly, the area with few coffee shops is along Wisconsin Avenue and its side streets. Other than the very small Starbucks at Red Arrow Park, I cannot think of any.

  18. Bruce Thompson says:

    Interesting that Milwaukee was recently ranked 7th on a list of the 10 most exciting US cities (http://www.movoto.com/blog/top-ten/10-most-exciting-cities?ac=1&sig=47e486c04b096747e5eeb1df3970a30c0a2c0788)–but, of course, we already knew that. (We were the only city from the Midwest; other than Atlanta, the others were on the east or west coasts.)

    I suspect the strength of locally based coffee shops helped our ratings, since cities with a high density of fast food outlets, defined as Subway, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, and Burger King, were dinged.

  19. @Bruce – City.Net Cafe (which we profiled) just opened by Wisconsin and Broadway, Starbucks is coming to the new Marriott Hotel on Milwaukee, Sven’s opened in the past year on Water just south of Wisconsin, and Alterra is sold out of the US Bank “cafeteria” space. The Pfister also has Starbucks among other offerings.

    Ironically I was having this discussion with someone on a walk yesterday. E. Wisconsin Ave seems to be en route to being better served. We concluded that the area really lacking coffee shops was between MSOE and Wells Street. Cathedral Square lacks a coffee shop now that Espresso Christoph has closed (and MJ’s in Cathedral Place). Perhaps a few more apartment buildings are needed to create the critical mass to attract and sustain one.

  20. Bill says:

    @ DK – I know what you mean about serving the cyclist. I live on the east side and I do enjoy pulling up to the coffee hut on North and Oakland to grab a coffee to go. In the Third Ward where I work, Cedarburg Coffee is a great place to pull in with the Market’s large awnings for some rain protection and easy in & out service (plus you can see your bike from inside if you choose). The coffee shops should start offering water cage friendly coffee mugs… Personally I use the OXO no-spill one… easy to grab a sip of coffee at the stop lights without any spilling!

  21. GarGOYLA says:

    wow, do you people actually reread any of what you write? You all sound like whiney hipster dolts. And Milwaukee doesn’t have a high density of crap fast food places? Which Miwlaukee are you clowns living in? Wouldn’t it be great if we had coffee courriers linked with GPS so would could just call in your order and have a coffee courrier meet you where it is most convenient for you? Most convenient yet, never leave your hosue and have everything brought to you. Not only do you not have to do nothing but you’ll feel like a bigwig king having all of your crap delivered right to you.

  22. getch says:

    I hope Alterra opens up next door to Gar’s cave.

  23. GARgoyla says:

    Alterra should open up mini cafes in all of their existing locations.

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