Michael Horne
Plenty of Horne

Harbor Area Will Be Redesigned

Calling all architects & planners: Brownfield with coal piles bordering harbor will be redeveloped.

By - Jul 27th, 2015 03:46 pm
Charrette Focus Area

Charrette Focus Area

Attention, architects, landscape architects and urban planners: you have until August 10th to submit your proposal to “participate in an ideas charrette on the… design of the waterfront of Milwaukee’s Inner Harbor.” And that design should be an “integrative, ecologically restorative” one, so don’t try a proposal less high-minded than that.

The Waterfront Innovations Design Charrette will be a two-day event beginning with a boat tour and reception on Wednesday, October 21st and ending Friday, October 23rd. The activities will take place at the new UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences, 600 E. Greenfield Ave.

Three teams will be selected to participate in the charrette in late August. Each team will receive a $10,000 honorarium. After the charrette, to be facilitated by UWM Professor James Wasley, teams will be required to submit plans incorporating feedback received during the event. That deadline will be November 13th. The city-formed nonprofit Harbor District, Inc. and UWM Institute for Ecological Design at the School of Architecture and Urban Planning will compile the results of the charrette that will be used to guide development efforts in the Harbor District, according to a Request for Qualifications issued by the City of Milwaukee Department of City Development on July 14th. [Official Notice 57617 – Waterfront Innovations Design Charrette].

The Harbor District is an approximately 1,000-acre site generally located east of S. 2nd St., west of Lake Michigan, and between Summerfest to the north and E. Bay Street to the south. It includes Milwaukee’s earliest industrial areas which were built close to the harbor, which itself is located at the confluence of the Milwaukee, Menomonee and Kinnickinnic rivers. The charrette will focus on a specific site, the 13.6 acre “Wagon Works” brownfield, with 1,075 linear feet of water frontage located directly across E. Greenfield Ave. from the $54 million school facility.

Today that location is the site of a transfer facility, where the Leona B tugboat ships barges heaped with coal to the Valley Power Plant to power the facility that generates steam for downtown buildings. We Energies is converting that facility to natural gas, opening this highly visible site for development.

According to the proposal:

“While the Wagon Works site and its waterfront are the focus, the designs developed during the charrette may be applied to other sites with similar challenges around the Harbor District. The goals of the charrette are to develop ideas and designs that could be applied to multiple sites, to bring design and engineering professionals together with regulatory personnel and other experts, and to examine precedents and future possibilities for the Wagon Works site and its waterfront.

“The charrette will test the proposition that the Waterfront can remain publicly accessible regardless of the future use of the site, and can in fact provide both a range of public amenities and the ability to contribute to necessary brownfield remediation and habitat restoration.”

Community Meeting Wednesday for Zoom Room Development Site

On July 9th, we were introduced to plans calling for a new mixed-use building planned for the site of the former Zoom Room Canine Social Club at the northwest corner of E. Brady St. and N. Humboldt Ave. As mentioned, the site is in the Brady Street Historic District, and will require Common Council approval to allow an increase in density for the location. As is customary when a zoning change is requested, Ald. Nik Kovac will hold a neighborhood meeting to discuss the project.

The meeting will be held Wednesday, July 29th at 7 p.m. at St. Hedwig’s Church of Three Holy Women Catholic Parish, located at 1702. N. Humboldt Ave., directly across from the site of the proposed building.

According to Kovac, “the meeting will give neighbors the chance to view the development plans, ask questions, make suggestions and offer opinions.”

Renderings and Plans

My Best Friend is Straight?

For the 11th year, the Cream City Foundation will hold its annual fundraiser, still called “My Best Friend is Straight.” The event will take place Tuesday, July 28th from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. at the Riverwalk along the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, 929 N. Water St. Guests of honor include columnist Michael Johnston (“It’s the Glamour, not the Grammar,”) and Elaine Maly, a local nonprofit leader now involved with Anne Basting‘s “Time Slips” project. The foundation, located in the Colby Abbot building,  “serves as a catalyst for social change on behalf of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Communities in Southeastern Wisconsin,” according to its IRS Form 990-PF.

The setting for the party includes an active construction zone. Last year the newly named Wilson Theater at Vogel Hall was remodeled for the first time in the history of the 1960s-era building. Today a modest expansion will give the theater a new atrium lobby including a permanent bar and new rest rooms among other amenities.

Memorial Held for Famed Artist’s Sister

A memorial gathering was held in early July at St. John’s on the Lake to remember Renee Tolcott, a St. John’s resident for four years who died July 29th at 87. New York native Tolcott, the only sister of the late artist Roy Lichtenstein and a former board member of his foundation moved from Washington to Milwaukee to be near a daughter, Lynn Tolcott, a clinical social worker with a practice here. Despite not moving here until late in life, Tolcott rapidly embraced the city and made many new friends among the old folks at St. John’s. Her son Michael and daughter both mentioned the quality of care and comfort their mother enjoyed at the lakefront residence. Her apartment, with original artworks by modern masters, was a popular spot on the annual St. John’s residents’ art tour, and her Lichtenstein posters decorated hallways and public spaces in the building. A childhood friend, in written reminiscences, noted that Tolcott was “Brilliant, civic-minded and a true friend. She was not judgmental, or a gossip, but in later years developed quite a capacity.” This latter observation occasioned a chuckle when read to the crowd of 75 gathered in a parlor at the residence.

9 thoughts on “Plenty of Horne: Harbor Area Will Be Redesigned”

  1. WB says:

    I say either build the Harbor Area into one of Americas coolest parks or just go all out and build like three casinos and a hotel

  2. The REV says:

    I hope the city will finally spend the money necessary to do it right. World Class!

  3. Casey says:

    Is anyone concerne that developmen or future residents either commercial or residentia will end up at odds with The Port. Milwaukee is still a port city and having an industrial harbor is important. I hope these two very different uses can work well with each other.

  4. Chris says:

    If developed right, this could become Milwaukee’s equivalent to Vancouver’s Granville Island. It’s an incredibly dynamic place that combines a significant water’s edge with a live/work/play environment

    Milwaukee has the opportunity to create something truly special here, with the right planning and investment.

  5. Tim says:

    Casey, are any of the areas being primed for development being used in conjuction with the Port of Milwaukee? To me, it looks like former industrial sites or active scrapyards are getting the boot.

    How many jobs & how much tax revenue did that coal pile produce?

  6. Casey says:

    To my knowledge (limited) no, the area is not being primed for development outside of this. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be or that the city and state can’t work together to bring more industry to the harbor. I’m not against the development but it would be nice to think long term. The former Coke plant just west of the tracks would be a great place to develop into a mixed neighborhood and leave the port industrial so those living in the neighborhood can have family supporting jobs close by.

    I’m sure other cities have been able to find a happy balance.

  7. mbradleyc says:

    I think the Solvey coke site is a perfect place for an inter-modal yard, although the connection to the interstate at either Lapham or Becher would need an upgrade.

    On the other hand, I think either the Wagon Works yard or the brown field north of the UWM SFS and the tank farm would be great places for athletic stadia, either a baseball stadium for UWM or a soccer stadium that could eventually host MLS…or both on both.

    All in all I think the Harbor District is going to be one of the most exciting development areas of the city in the next 20 years and that’s saying a lot.

  8. mbradleyc says:

    I have to add that I am realy glad they were able to salvage a wetland in the district, the Bay View Wetland off the southern point of the harbor. I do hope they are able to expand it into that gnarly area just north of it between the tracks and the KK River. That will need some clean up though.

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