Mandel Starts Third Ward Apartments
DoMUS, a six-story, 132-unit apartment complex, is on one of area's last riverfront lots.
Good news for the Historic Third Ward — and the city. The Mandel Group has begun construction preparation work on DoMUS, a six-story, 132-unit apartment building to be located at 401 E. Erie St. The site today is a 164-stall surface parking lot along the Milwaukee River.
Construction will be led by CD Smith. The building was designed by HGA Architects & Engineers, under the guidance of Jim Shields. Careful observers will note that HGA had home field advantage in winning the job, with their offices being located immediately west of the proposed site.
In a press release earlier today, the firm’s chief operating officer Robert Monnat said the project “has been a long time coming,” but “we feel that it has been worth the wait.” Many on the east end of Erie St. will certainly agree, as the parking lot serves as a large gap between Mandel’s Marine Terminal Lofts and Peter Renner‘s condominium complex, Hansen’s Landing, just to the east.
The project received its final approval from the Historic Third Ward Architectural Review Board in April 2014. At that meeting, architect Jim Shields gave an overview of floor plans that included studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments on the second, third and fourth floors. The top floors will include units that Mandel today is calling penthouses, targeted at “empty nesters who have been substantially underserved by the current wave of apartment building.”
DoMUS, which draws its name from luxury homes in ancient Rome, won’t be targeted primarily at Millenials, like so many new apartment projects are. Instead Andy Wiegman, vice president of development & construction for Mandel, notes the project aims to “to supplement our current inventory in the Third Ward and in particular dedicate a portion of our offering specifically to an older demographic. The level of finishes, design of apartment homes and the overall presentation of the property will really outshine the type of finishes people expect today. We’re looking forward to setting a new standard for luxury apartments that meets the expectations of people coming out of higher‐end single family homes.” Tenant amenities will include a large fitness facility along the riverwalk, club room with outdoor terrace, pet grooming studio and bicycle repair shop.
The project will include a significant addition to the Milwaukee RiverWalk: a 450 foot-long added segment, as well as the potential redevelopment of the adjacent railroad bridge landing. The project will occupy one of the last undeveloped sites with river frontage in the Historic Third Ward, but that doesn’t mean nothing else is being planned in the area. Just across the river in Walker’s Point, David Winograd is seeking approval for the development of 164-unit apartment building at 236 S. Water St.
Mandel received $295,000 in tax incremental financing through the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee in October to fund half the costs of repairing the dockwall at the site. Property taxes generated by the project, which has an estimated cost of at least $30 million, will go to pay back the TIF grant. Financing for the project is being provided by Anchor Bank.
Prior to the Great Recession, the site was formerly proposed for a condominium development of the same name which would have included 61 units.
Mandel’s Other Work
The project is far from the only iron the firm has in the fire. Last week, the firm broke ground on the fourth phase of their development dubbed The North End in the former Park East corridor. That phase will include 155 apartments and join the nearly complete 164-unit third phase. The firm is also developing the Belay Apartments complete with an Adventure Rock climbing gym in Riverwest at the intersection of N. Commerce St. and E. North Ave.
Other development from the project team: HGA is designing the 450-unit River House apartments for Atlantic Reality Partners and CD Smith is building the Kimpton Hotel on N. Broadway that is excepted to open in June.
In addition to the Marine Terminal Lofts, which houses their corporate offices, Mandel also owns the Corcoran Lofts and Gaslight Lofts apartment buildings just north of the site.
The site for DoMUS and a number of the lots around it were formerly home to a Wisconsin Gas plant that manufactured gas from coal and oil until the 1950s. With the soil contamination from that, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and We Energies (which is the successor to the plant owner) have created a remediation plan and installed air quality monitoring devices. The monitoring devices have been in place for some time to establish baseline data for area air quality and will be used to monitor conditions during the removal of soil and subsurface debris. According to a release from We Energies, odors may be noticeable close to the site from this removal, but do not pose any threat to public health.