26-Story Tower for Prospect Avenue
Here are all the details on proposed $55 million project: renderings, floor plans, diagrams.
A 26-story, $55 million tower could be coming to 1550 N. Prospect Ave. under a plan put forth by a Madison firm. The new tower would include 202 apartments spread over the top 21 floors, with a host of amenities. The Goll Mansion, located on the site today, would be preserved as part of the plan and would become the front door of the complex. In order to accommodate the new building, the developers would relocate the mansion less than 40-feet west, bringing it closer to N. Propsect Ave. and in line with adjacent buildings on the street.
The planned tower is being developed by DCH Properties, an affiliate of Madison-based Palisade Property Management. The firm faces a substantial approval process for the proposed project that will require meetings with the Historic Preservation Commission, City Plan Commission, Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee and Common Council to secure the necessary approvals. The project needs to go before the Historic Preservation Commission because of the historically-designated mansion on the site.
The 202 rental units would be designed as 105 one-bedroom, 94 two-bedroom and three three-bedroom apartments. One-bedroom units would start at 800 square feet, with two bedrooms starting at 1,215 square feet.
The building would feature 233 parking stalls spread over seven levels. Three levels would be underground, with the remaining levels coming at-grade or above. Apartments would start on the fifth floor. Bicycle parking would be included in the parking garage.
Preliminary plans call for the building to be clad in a mix of brick, cast concrete and a glass curtain wall. The tower would rise to a height of 280 feet, substantially shorter than the 26-story, 327-foot-high Transera project that was previously approved for the site.
Site History & Past Opposition
The proposed tower is certain to ruffle some feathers at the condominium tower to the south. Residents of 1522 on the Lake protested the planned Transera condominium tower. That tower was ultimately approved in late 2008 despite their objections. The project, which would have attached a much narrower 26-story tower to the rear of the mansion, was proposed by New Land Enterprises, but never moved forward because of lack of financing. It would have included 35 high-end condominiums.
The proposal drew support from the district alderman Robert Bauman and many historic preservation advocates for its creative proposal to preserve the Goll Mansion. History buffs will note that 1522 on the Lake, as with many of the high-rises on N. Prospect Ave., sits on the site of a demolished mansion. Alderman Nik Kovac was the only council member to vote against the Transera proposal.
The site was ultimately deeded to Associated Bank in lieu of foreclosure in late 2010. It was sold to a partnership between Dominion Properties and Heartland Funds chairman William Nasgovitz. In 2014, Dominion had contemplated a 10-story tower on the site (Sage on the Lake) with up to 60 apartments. Dominion didn’t move forward with the project, but is developing Sage on Prospect just a few blocks north.
The approval process for this project will be interesting to watch, given a dramatic shift on high rises by area residents at a recent public meeting. A proposed 13-story, 153-unit tower at 1840 N. Farwell Ave. was met with great support from area residents and business owners just two weeks ago, with some even asking for the building to be taller. Will the reaction be the same for this site?
Also worth monitoring is the timing of the approval process. The developer filed for the zoning variance at the end of January, before the primary and general election for the Common Council. Both the fourth district, in which the project sits (represented by Bauman), and third district (across the street, represented by Kovac) have multiple challengers vying for the seats. If the approval process for the project moves forward in advance of the April general election, it could be a great opportunity for their opponents to fundraise by staking a position opposite of whichever position they each take.
Kovac was unavailable for comment to Urban Milwaukee. Bauman says he’s awaiting final designs before making a decision. He did note that it’s “an awfully big building for that site and it is much bulkier than what was previously approved.”
Meaning this one may not be a slam dunk.