Last Phase of North End Starting
Fifth phase adds 89 units to massive Mandel project filling the "doughnut hole."
A decade ago the long-empty Pfister & Vogel tannery complex loomed over N. Water St. on the north end of downtown Milwaukee. Now the last piece of an entirely new neighborhood stands on what Barry Mandel once called “the doughnut hole in Downtown,” with the final building about to start construction. The Mandel Group and contractor Peridot have fenced off the empty lot at 1500 N. Milwaukee St. and commenced site preparation work for construction of the last building in the developer’s The North End complex.
The privately-financed, six-story building will include 89 apartments according to a city building permit. Unlike the other buildings in the complex, the last two buildings don’t include any commercial space. Chroma, the Greek word for color, will join the ONE, Portrait, Silhouette, Aperture and Vignette buildings in the photography-named complex of buildings clustered around the intersection of N. Water St. and E. Pleasant St.
The Mandel Group originally planned to build both the Vignette and Chroma buildings together, but split the two buildings into two projects to more easily obtain financing according to Mandel Group Chief Operating Office Robert Monnat. The two buildings will maintain shared amenities and according to Monnat those are still being finalized but should include duck pin bowling, a green roof and pet amenities. One thing is certain: an outdoor swimming pool will be included in Vignette that will be accessible to all complex residents.
Construction started on the six-story, 155-unit Vignette building in January 2016 and it is scheduled to start accepting residents in May. A model unit in the building has recently opened. When Vignette is complete, The North End will include 561 apartments, numerous commercial spaces and the Fresh Thyme Farmers Market grocery store that opened last year. Add in the planned 89 units at Chroma and The North End will have more residents than many Wisconsin towns.
Mandel Group Busy
The oddly-shaped lots and bending streets that make up the area leave Mandel with a mapping challenge. The developer has a pending petition before the city to rename a short section of E. Lyon St. to N. Milwaukee St. from the intersection of E. Lyon St. and N. Milwaukee St. to N. Water St. and E. Lyon St. E. Lyon St., which runs east-west, bends to the north after intersecting with N. Milwaukee St. as it heads towards N. Water St. This creates an awkward situation where the newly constructed street on the west side of N. Water St. is known as N. Milwaukee St., but on the east side of N. Water St. a short block is called E. Lyon St., not N. Milwaukee St.
The Mandel Group will find itself temporarily nomadic while construction is ongoing at The North End, DoMUS in the Historic Third Ward and a number of suburban projects. That’s because the firm is in the process of relocating their offices from their Marine Terminal Lofts condominium project (in order to make way for an expanding HGA Architects) to the 330 Kilbourn office towers in East Town.
Other Nearby Projects
Immediately south of The North End, Wangard Partners is redeveloping the former Laacke & Joys buildings into 1433 Water, a 114,830 square-foot office building. That project includes a mix of demolition, new construction and adaptive reuse. Work is well underway on that project, which scheduled for an April 2017 opening. Bader Rutter has been announced as an anchor tenant for the development, leasing 60,000 square-feet for 220 employees.
To the north along N. Water St. a development partnership of Tim Gokhman and Jim Wiechmann is finishing up construction on the Rhythm apartments. That building will include a number of smaller studio units. Preparation work for a second building located behind Rhythm on N. Jackson St. is underway.