The Transformation of Walker’s Point
Jeramey Jannene talks to 620 WTMJ about the South Side's new boom town.
“If you haven’t driven through Walker’s Point lately, you might want to do that and see what’s going,” says WTMJ Radio’s Gene Mueller. Mueller and co-host Jane Matenaer interviewed Jeramey Jannene Tuesday morning in response to his recent story for Urban Milwaukee, “Walker’s Point Boom Town.”
The neighborhood was one of the original three settlements that came together to form the city of Milwaukee. Founded by George Walker, the neighborhood stretches from S. Cesar Chavez Dr. (16th St.) on the west to the inner harbor on the east, Greenfield Ave. on the south to the Milwaukee River on the north. As Jannene told TMJ, “If you look back at Milwaukee’s history, a lot of Milwaukee institutions, Allen-Bradley, Allis & Chalmers, P&H Kearney & Trecker, they all trace their origins back to Walker’s Point. It’s as much part of Milwaukee’s history as anything else.”
The neighborhood, which has long been home to the city’s gay bars and continues to honor that history with the well-attended Milwaukee Pride Parade (see photos), is now the epicenter of Milwaukee’s dining scene. Following a condo boom on the neighborhood’s north end, in what realtors call the “Fifth Ward,” a number of adaptive reuse projects have converted warehouses to apartments.
What’s coming for the rest of the neighborhood? According to Jannene, a number of projects are undergoing design work or under construction including a second facility for the Global Water Center in a facility built more than a hundred-years ago by Pabst, a substantial rehab of former cold storage buildings by the Mandel Group and a number of other apartment projects.
Entrepreneurs and small businesses are finding new homes in the neighborhood as well. Developer Dan Katt led the redevelopment of the former Federal Manufacturing Co. complex, with Saz’s relocating their catering options to one building, a wedding venue opening in another and Bray Architects relocating from the Historic Third Ward into a third building (see inside). Other companies such as 800-CEO-Read and Jalem Getz‘s Wantable have also found homes in the neighborhood.
The most important new development, Jannene noted, is the $46 million, Wangard mixed-use project at the northeast corner of S. 1st St. and E. Greenfield Ave., which will include a 46, 280-square-foot Cermak Fresh Market grocery store, as well as an apartment building with 76 units, an office building and a handful of smaller commercial buildings.
Who is all this development aimed at? “When you look at what’s being marketed, it’s all millennial-driven,” Jannene noted. And it’s likely to eventually redevelop the entire area between Bay View and the Third Ward.
Listen to the interview.