New Apartment Complex for Brady Street
Proposed three-floor structure would offer apartments aimed at millennials plus 2,400 square feel of retail space.
A 23-unit apartment building would replace a shuttered canine social club at the prominent, northwest corner of E. Brady St. and N. Humboldt Ave., if plans by Ogden Development Group are approved. The plans for the $4 million building were unveiled Tuesday evening at a meeting of the Brady Street Area Association. The target market is millennials, members of the neighborhood group were told. Units would range from 455-square-foot studios to a pair of two-bedroom, 1,030-square-foot, corner apartments overlooking the busy intersection. These would be built on the second and third floors of the structure. A lone, 890-square-foot apartment would occupy the first floor, directly across the street from St. Hedwig’s Church of Three Holy Women, an 1886 masterpiece that towers above the neighborhood from its highest point.
The new Brady Street development would include a 2,400 square foot retail space — about the size of a typical Colectivo coffee shop, attendees were told. The rest of the development’s street-level space would be devoted to eight indoor parking spots, and a ramp leading to an additional 15 parking spots in the basement.
That is a ratio of one parking spot per unit, down from old guidelines that call for 1.5 spots per apartment. The millennials don’t need as much parking as in the past, and developers have recently been stuck with the cost of building unsold or un-rented parking spots. However, the building calls for devoting the equivalent of three parking spots for a “bike room,” to accommodate the two-wheeled set. The roof of the building would include a “Club Room,” “Fitness Room,” outdoor deck and two baths for the residents. Including this level, the building would be 40 feet high, or generally in scale with the neighboring buildings including the old Glorioso’s Grocery Store at 1224 E. Brady St., located 25 feet to the west.
The structure will abut the Dry Hootch coffee house, a frame building between it and Glorioso’s, and will be set back 10 feet from that structure for fire code reasons.
Various Approvals Needed
In order to begin construction, the building will have to receive several approvals, including from the City Plan Commission and the Historic Preservation Commission. The developer hopes to secure those approvals at a joint meeting in September. Furthermore, the site is composed of two separate parcels, which are zoned differently. And Ald. Nik Kovac has traditionally held a neighborhood meeting when zoning changes are proposed for a new development.
The parcel to the north has been vacant since 2008 when an old house was torn down there. It is 2,500 square feet and is valued at $76,100 [$30.44/s.f.]. It is zoned RT-4. Both properties are controlled by John Levendusky, who was in the laundromat business.
The LB-2 zoning is found in urban settings like Brady Street and is designed to foster local business and mixed-use development. The RT-4 zoning is a residential classification used in older neighborhoods like Brady Street with a preponderance of duplexes. That zoning allows for higher density (3-4 units). As this plan calls for 6 units on that site, this will have to be resolved.
In Historic District
The larger lot of the development lies in the Brady Street Historic District, established in 1990. The existing building is not considered a historic structure, but the proposed structure will be reviewed for its compliance with district guidelines. It will be only the fourth new or considerably expanded building built on the street since the district was approved. The others are the Passeggio, two blocks to the east, Green Fields, at the southwest corner of Brady and N. Arlington Pl., and the greatly expanded Casablanca Restaurant, 728 E. Brady St. The first two mentioned buildings adhered generally to the historic massing and proportions of the neighborhood, with Green Fields being a virtual replica of the Milwaukee vernacular style. Casablanca, however, allies itself with no known historical precedent or any single architectural school.
The Brady Street frontage is the more restrained of the building’s two distinct facades. It includes a stone base and a brick structure topped by a little band of metal above that serves as a cornice. The facade has indented and projecting balconies, and wraps around the corner with a protruding glassy bay.
The Humboldt frontage combines many elements and materials, with multiple projecting balconies, and apartment and vehicular access. Its asymmetrical massing and profusion of design elements and materials is in considerable contrast with the Brady Street side and the restrained dignity of the church across the street with its simple, yet elegant fenestration, and its palette of materials limited to Cream City Brick and sandstone. The upper, party floor, is not well articulated in the plans for the building. It is set back and should not be visible to street traffic on Brady. The roof is proposed to be a ballast one, but this would seem to be a good opportunity to incorporate a green roof on the structure.
The developers hope to begin construction before the end of the year, approvals and weather permitting.
City of Milwaukee undated photo of the existing building.
Renderings and Plans
Interesting News Elsewhere
The Historic Third Ward Architectural Review Board gave conceptual approval to a proposed parking sign for the Milwaukee Public Market, 400 N. Water St., which will incorporate the market’s distinctive rooster logo, according to market manager David Ware‘s presentation. The board also approved plans for additional telecommunication equipment to be placed on the roof of the Jefferson Block, 144 E. Jefferson St. Matt Grant appeared before the board representing T-Mobile. … Construction at the Sage on Prospect slowed last week when the body of a suicide victim was found in the building under renovation in the 1800 block of N. Prospect Ave.
Plans to Vacate Street for Arena Opposed
Ald. Bob Bauman is concerned that the plans for development of a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks call for the city to vacate a portion of N. 4th St. and to receive in exchange a “Transportation Easement” there for vehicular and possible streetcar traffic.
Bauman says he plans to introduce an amendment to arena plans calling for the city to maintain ownership of the street, and to offer the arena an easement of its own to occupy a portion of the city property for a pedestrian plaza. Bauman envisions a scenario in which the street could have removable kiosks, bollards, etc. that could be deployed during events and removed at other times. He also does not think it would be a good idea to have the streetcar operate on land not owned by the city. Worse yet would be the dead zone of an unoccupied urban plaza, and the city has created plenty of those over the years.
A street vacation requires a separate up-or-down vote to be held at the Public Works Committee. The vacation must be heard as a separate item, and Bauman suggests that opponents of a plan to sell the street to the Bucks’ owners should make their presence known at the to-be-scheduled meeting. Bauman also decried the lack of input city officials have had on the arena plans, and the apparent complete control of negotiations at the state level by only a few players.