Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Chicago Firm Unveils Designs for 35-Story Tower

New skyscraper would contain up to 275 apartments in downtown Milwaukee.

By - Sep 21st, 2014 08:01 am
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Carroll Properties is moving forward with their proposal for a 35-story luxury apartment building on the northeast corner of N. Van Buren St. and E. Kilbourn Ave. Located in the heart of East Town, the new tower would include between 224 and 275 apartments and up to 10,000 square-feet of first-floor commercial space. Designed by FitzGerald Associates of Chiciago, the building is the first entry into the Milwaukee market for Carroll Properties.

The 28,504 square-foot site at 700 E. Kilbourn Ave. is occupied with two surface parking lots and a building that most recently housed Edwardo’s restaurant. That building would be demolished for the project. The land today is owned by Jim Wiechmann. Wiechmann is also involved in the proposed The Rhythm apartment building, which would replace The Curve tavern.

The proposed tower replaces a dead proposal on the site for the Bookends North apartment high-rise. That building was proposed by New Land Enterprises, but didn’t get off the ground when the developer couldn’t secure a loan guarantee from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (The Moderne was able to secured a loan guarantee and got built during the same period). The proposed Bookends North development did receive a zoning variance, which would be amended for this new project.

700 E. Kilbourn Rendering

700 E. Kilbourn Rendering

The project was first announced in late July of this year, with a planned groundbreaking in early 2015. The developer is not seeking city financial assistance.

The proposed tower, referred to as 700 E. Kilbourn, would have 1.3 parking spaces per unit, with a range of 280 to 369 stalls in a multi-story garage. The building would include a fitness center, game room, and media center on the seventh floor, and a 36th floor penthouse party room.

The proposed high rise will go before the City Plan Commission on September 29th. The commission will issue a recommendation, and the proposal will then be taken up by the Common Council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee. Following action by the committee, it will go for a vote before the full Common Council.

Renderings and Floor Plans

Odds Making

Look for the city to approve this project, as they hope for another high-rise to be under construction Downtown (Northwestern Mutual Tower, 833 East). This project doesn’t exist in a vacuum though. It might be tough for the market to support so many new luxury buildings at the same time. So the construction of this project might impact the timelines for developments like The Couture, phase 4 of The North End and a number of other proposed developments.

The city has recently indicated public support for Rick Barrett‘s proposed The Couture (with a proposed streetcar extension), which makes it even tougher to forecast which big projects will happen. I wouldn’t bet on both The Couture and 700 E. Kilbourn happening within two years of each other.

7 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: Chicago Firm Unveils Designs for 35-Story Tower”

  1. SFScott says:

    I like this building over “The Couture” by about 400%. It’s design is much more urbane that the out-of-context, Miami Vice design of Couture. It’s already on the planned streetcar line and doesn’t require a spur. It spreads the love around beyond the lake front. And, it doesn’t have a ridiculous name!

    Build it first.

  2. Danny says:

    I agree. I would much rather live here than in The Couture. Don’t get me wrong, I think The Couture is important and should be built just as quickly. Even though they are luxury, I see two different markets. Milwaukeens will LIVE in 700, it’s a neighborhood, close to everything and approachable. The Couture will most likely attract, corporate apartments, empty nesters, and multiple home buyers, who only want to be there for the festivals, and can afford to have everything brought to them.

    I think it is important to “build up that skyline!”, but Milwaukee also needs livable infill projects such as this. And NO public money!!! Start it yesterday!

  3. Jarrett says:

    I think they could have done better with the design. It looks like nothing more than a combo of the original Kilbourn Tower and it’s neighbor, University club tower- down to the offset curtain glass curtain wall (like kilbourn) and the asymmetric windows (like University.)
    If we’re gonna keep building non-market supported luxury high rises, at least be original about it.

  4. David says:

    I like the building but Im not sure this project building can be built cheap enough to work. Labor costs have increased significantly in the last year and its not cheap to build a high rise. I would love to see it though.

  5. Kyle says:

    I think the design will be very well suited to that location and serve as an excellent visual bridge between the stylings of the towers along Prospect Ave and the central cluster of East Town buildings. A transitional building to tie the areas together and a nice addition to our soon to be much more defined skyline. Another great example of how a visually appealing skyline can be achieved without building excessively tall structures. In 5-7 years, Milwaukee’s skyline is shaping up to no longer be included with people’s gripes about what the city lacks, which is something I very much welcome.

  6. Chris says:

    This project has a leg up on the Couture in that it won’t be facing lawsuits and doesn’t require a land sale approval from local government. One has to feel the market for high end apartments will be saturated in the next 5 years but I would bet this one makes makes it off the ground because everything is lined up. The Couture or some project will still be built on that spot because it is prime real estate, it might be another phase of the North End, Avenir, or the proposed complex on Prospect by Dominion Properties that suffers instead.

  7. David says:

    They seem to be courting two separtate markets. It seems to me that the Kilbourn building is targeting millenials while the Couture is targeting empty nesters, much like Mandel’s Block Nine project on Prospect.

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