Dave Reid
Plats and Parcels

Walker’s Point on the Rise

South 2nd St. is booming and redevelopment on National Ave. may follow a similar pattern.

By - Feb 9th, 2015 01:22 pm
Antiques on Second. Photo by Brendan Murphy.

Antiques on Second. Photo by Brendan Murphy.

Walker’s Point has seen increasing interest from developers and new businesses in recent years. Along S. 2nd St., Meraki, Coast In Bikes, Purple Door Ice Cream, Central Standard Craft Distillery, to name a few, have opened in the last few years, and on S. 5th St. Brenner Brewing added to the mix of new businesses.

The redevelopment of Walker’s Point was sparked, in part, by the complete street makeover S. 2nd St. received in 2011, and has been pushed forward by the development of the Global Water Center at 247 Freshwater Way. A former clothing warehouse at 710 S. 3rd St. is now Junior House Lofts, a 50-unit apartment building, and at 221 E. Oregon St. another warehouse is in being converted into apartments, continuing the redevelopment of multiple buildings in the area into residential uses.

The accelerated growth in Walker’s Point may force Antiques on Second to move in order to make room for new apartments. Sean Ryan, of the Business Journal, reports that Oshkosh-based Keystone Development LLC has a planned development, Shoe Factory Lofts, that would convert the building at 1039 S. 2nd St., the current home of Antiques on Second, into 55 apartments. The story notes that Keystone applied for $564,206 in affordable housing tax credits from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority and will seek historic restoration tax credits for the project as well. “We think it’s an up-and-coming area,” Cal Schultz, president of Keystone, said of the Walker’s Point location.

Tom Daykin and the Journal Sentinel report that this rebirth is also impacting National Ave, where the “International Building” at 611 W. National Ave. will be converted into 36 high-end apartments with a first-floor retail slot. He also covers a plan, suggested by local developer Juli Kaufmann, that city officials are considering to improve a mile-long strip of National Ave., from S. Water St to 10th St. “Kaufmann has suggested narrowing the four-lane street by eliminating one driving lane, and then replacing that with bike lanes and pedestrian amenities, such as trees, benches, crosswalks and better lighting,” he writes. If this kind of redesign sounds familiar to longtime Urban Milwaukee readers, that’s because it builds upon the redesign of S. 2nd St., which included new bike lanes, reduced travel lanes, wider sidewalks and street trees, creating a more attractive street for retail business.

Up-and-coming area or not, rehabbing of historic buildings could significantly slow in future years because historic tax credits for projects could become much more difficult to get. As Ryan reports, Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget includes a $10 million cap on historic tax credits, which he writes, “is less than a third of what developers claimed on the tax credit last year.”

Arena Update

Rich Kirchen, of the Business Journal, reports that actor Bruce Willis is buying Bucks Owner Wes Eden’s $17 million New York City condo. That’s great news, as it sounds like Edens might need to kick in a little more for the arena deal here in Milwaukee. Kirchen reported that Walker’s proposal for $220 million in state bonding through the “jock tax” could be cut down to $100 million by the state legislature.  State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos discussed the $100 million figure with Kirchen, saying: “I actually think that’s a reasonable number.”

Big Changes for Water St.

On February 10th, 2015 at  6:00 p.m. there will be a community meeting at The Hamilton, 823 E. Hamilton St., to discuss the redevelopment of the former Gallun Tannery, 1775 N. Water St., site. Four 4-story buildings with up to 450 units, and a new RiverWalk segment are being proposed for the site.

At the corner of N. Water and E. Brady streets Wangard Partners has demolished the old Habhegger Wheel and Axle building, to make way for a future development (in our database as 1701 N. Water St.).The initial plans for this project called for the development of 160 apartments, 6,600 square feet of retail space, and a new RiverWalk segment.

Habhegger, which claims a history going back to before the city was incorporated (it was originally a blacksmith shop and one of the city’s first businesses) moved in 2013 to 102 W. Capitol Dr. on the border of Glendale and Milwaukee, to make room for the development

Initial Renderings

Demolition Photos

Other News…

In East Town, the Plaza Hotel is in the process of renovating rooms, updating the lobby furniture, and updating the cafe.

And in case you missed it, we featured UW-Milwaukee’s Kenwood Interdisciplinary Research Center in last week’s Friday Photos.

9 thoughts on “Plats and Parcels: Walker’s Point on the Rise”

  1. svdodge says:

    If they’re going to develop Water+Brady we have to push for better bicycle infrastructure in that area. That poor road design is dangerous for all and I’m sure would keep people away from that retail space. Plus it should increase access to the Riverwalk.

    And heck yes to getting a sweet Complete Streets redesign for that section of National. I’d rather bike through the 6th Street Roundabout than head down National, I think that says a lot.

  2. Rich says:

    Amen for better road design @ Water & Brady intersection. Turn lane for northeast bound cars to follow Water St. Public Parking accommodations — Let’s face it, successful areas like this are not completely supported by those living in nearby condos, ban (or reduce to one side) street parking on narrow Water St. Perhaps the city should jump in with part of the Gallun Tannery site being a modest parking ramp, hidden, of course, behind some attractive street retail, etc…

  3. David says:

    Complete streets is a must! Also, I find it interesting, but not surprising, that there is next to no developmentwest of the river other than Commerce. It would seem that Holton Street just across the bridge has great potential. I think development will continue south due to socioeconomic issues and crime.

  4. Casey says:

    There might not be “development” northwest of tje riber but there sire is improvements especially south of North Ave. Between whats been going on in Brewers Hill and what seems to be taking place on King Drive the whole area is about to take off.
    Not everything has to follow the trendy folks and Holton doeant really offer much opportunity because it is a very good mixed use street but primarily residential and theres nothimg wrong with that. Some day the apartment dwellers might habe a family bit instead of moving to the burbs theyll have options in a neighborhood theyre already close to and familiar with. Its the same reason I think Walkers Point is really got potential.

  5. John G. says:

    Anyone have any good statistics on people who use bicycles for their daily trips? I am all for alternative modes of transportation, but in large cities, removing parking and lanes to accommodate less than a half percent of people is not a good usage of tax payer dollars, nor an efficient way to move people around. Take NYC for example. Hardly any bike lanes, because they have public transportation options far better than we have.

    Parking is an issue for many parts of the city, and while we would all love for their to be less cars, they are not going anywhere in the anti-public transit environment we have in Wisconsin. Most people do not have the time, ability, or desire to bike to exist.

    Here is NYCs bike lane map.as a point of reference.

  6. Tim says:

    John G., many roads are overbuilt for traffic that doesn’t exist, like the former South 2nd Street and National Ave. What streets are you even talking about that have had parking removed here in Milwaukee?

    Your argument sounds like a red herring to me.

  7. David says:

    Casey….. I agree that not all development “has to follow the trendy folks”. However, there is not much commercial development at all west of the river other than some in Brewers Hill and a little along King. The King development has been marginal. My point is that there are real and perceived social concerns that limit commercial development west of the river. Just an observation.

  8. Casey says:

    David- yes there are real problems west of the river but there are many more perceived which hampers thw whole community and has been indicative of Milwaukee for years. I would hardly call what is happening on King marginal. The businesses and development is there despite perception. If the same thing were to be happening on Howell or Holton (two overlooked streets in great neighborhoods) people would applaud the success.
    I think the one thing that would finally get King the possitive attention it needs is at least some bike infrastructure and upgraded bus stops or even reach higher for a road diet similar to S 2nd.

  9. Eric S says:

    That stretch of Water St. (and Brady St. immediately east of Water St.) could certainly stand to be reconfigured. There are striped or buffered bike lanes along most of that stretch. Converting the entire distance south to Knapp St. would allow parking-protected bike lanes to be installed on Water St. between Knapp St. and at least just north of Pleasant St. It looks as if there might be enough space to continue the protected bike lanes all the way to Van Buren St. I’m not sure there is a good way to significantly improve the actual intersection of Brady St. and Water St. for all users (people on foot, on bike, on buses, and in cars) without perhaps adding a traffic signal or 3-way stop. Admittedly though I’m less confident of the best approach to that intersection specifically.

    FWIW, New York, like Milwaukee, has a growing network of bike plans (both traditional striped lanes and “protected” lanes) and paths.

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