City Commission Says Yes to Adventure Rock
Zoning change approved for planned 4-story, 46-unit apartment complex and indoor climbing wall in Riverwest.
Adventure Rock, which bills itself as Wisconsin’s premier climbing facility, has been located in Pewaukee for many years, but the gym was over its capacity and many of its patrons were coming from Milwaukee, driving 30 minutes or more to get there. According to Craig Burzynski, company manager, these customers were coming from such neighborhoods as Riverwest and the East Side.
“We want to bring this unique recreational activity to Riverwest and the East Side,” Burzynski explained at a meeting of the City Plan Commission last night. “This is a process that has been going on for four years.
The new complex, referred to as Rivercrest Phase II, proposed for Milwaukee would be located at 2240 North Commerce St. and 1300 East Garfield Ave. just south of North Ave., which is currently an unoccupied lot adjacent to a Pick n’ Save grocery store. The location is also very close to potential customers in the UW-Milwaukee dormitory just to the north.
To accommodate the development, the City Plan Commission unanimously approved a change in zoning requested by developers to move from a General Planned Development to a Detailed Planned Development (DPD), which entailed approval of some design changes for the building. The DPD would permit construction of a four-story building that would include 46 residential units, an indoor rock climbing facility and 65 indoor parking spaces for residential and commercial use.
Adventure Rock is working with the Mandel Group on the new development, and Bob Monnat, its chief operating officer, began the presentation for the proposal, noting the revised design would ultimately benefit the surrounding community and environment. Unlike the design approved 2003, the new one would combine multiple grassy areas on the property, increasing by 75 percent the amount of green-space. To accommodate this, the design would also move the entire facility closer to North Avenue with the added benefit of higher commercial visibility. The plan also calls for a pathway connecting the new facility to the Beerline Trail.
Speaking in opposition was a Riverwest resident of 40 years, David Press, representing the Milwaukee River Advocates Cooperation. Press argued the plans to construct a path accessing the Beerline Trail would disrupt wildlife. “With already 12 points of access along the trail, any convenience is outweighed by the environmental threat that it will cause,” said Press
Press also urged the council to consider allowing only native plants in the landscaped areas and require all signs connected to the development be placed far from the riverbank. Press wanted assurances the development would avoid the pitfalls of RiverView Residence Hall, the UW-Milwaukee dormitory located across North Avenue on the Milwaukee River. Its construction released harmful dust clouds into the air and heavy amounts of silt into the river.
Several Adventure Rock patrons who favor the plan also spoke, noting the gymnasium would be a welcome addition to the surrounding neighborhoods, providing a safe haven for families and high-school and college students. Alderman Nik Kovac, who represents this district, was also largely supportive of the plan but noted some neighbors were concerned about environmental and parking issues surrounding the project.
With the approval of the City Plan Commission the project will next go before the Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee.
Later in the meeting, Mandel Group also received approval from the City Plan Commission for the North End Phase III’s RiverWalk segment and Maures Development Group’s newest proposal for the redevelopment of Dover Street School in Bay View was approved.