Bay View Gateway Approved
But not before Zielinski introduced an amendment that some claim would have derailed project.
A large apartment building proposed for the north end of Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood has been approved. The project was unanimously approved by the full Common Council, but not before area alderman Tony Zielinski introduced an amendment that according to multiple council members could have derailed the whole project.
New Land Enterprises is planning to build a $25 million, mixed-use apartment building with just under 140 apartments at the southeast corner of E. Bay St. and N. Kinnickinnic Ave. The proposal, which requires council approval because it exceeds the zoning for the site at 2130 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., also would involve New Land purchasing a portion of the city-owned land at 353 E. Bay St.
Zielinsnki’s amendment would have dedicated proceeds from the $161,500 land sale associated with the project to creating a park in his aldermanic district. Ald. Robert Bauman was the first to weigh in on the amendment, noting “this is a very interesting and novel approach, which I’m not sure is legal.” The downtown alderman noted that while he was interested in dedicating the funds, he was concerned the funds legally had to go to the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee.
Bauman noted that Zielinski’s introduction of the amendment on the council floor, instead of at committee, prevented the city attorney from rendering an opinion on it.
Zielinski defended the measure, noting he believed the Legislative Reference Bureau had consulted with the City Attorney’s office on the matter and that in a worst case scenario the money could be given to the redevelopment authority. Yet a temporary hold on the amendment didn’t yield an answer from the attorney’s office.
At this point other council members began to come forward with concerns about the proposal. Ald. Nik Kovac questioned the dedication of funds solely to a more wealthy district like his or Zielinski’s versus spreading them equally across the city through initiatives like MKE Plays. Others raised concerns about not having a hearing on the measure.
The Bay View alderman ultimately pulled the amendment to allow the project to move forward following testimony from a number of council members. He noted that he would work through the normal legislative approval process to secure funding for the park.
Ashanti Hamilton, in a bit of editorial feedback from the council president’s seat, noted Zielinski’s move was “the prudent and responsible thing to do.”
As is standard operating procedure the land sale as approved today will dedicate 30 percent of the proceeds plus sale and marketing fees to the redevelopment authority. The remaining portion of the $161,500 sale price will be put into the general fund for next year’s budget.
What Future Park?
Zielinski is seeking to convert all five acres of the former Army Reserve site bordered by S. Logan Ave., S. Bay St., E. Lincoln Ave. and E. Conway St. into a city park.
The city, with Zielinski’s support to issue a RFP at the time, had sought to develop the parcel in 2008, with a listing price of of $2.03 million. Zielinski ended up opposing the proposal selected the city.
Zielinski again advanced a proposal in 2015 to redevelop the site with environmentally-friendly homes. That proposal ultimately didn’t advance.
The proposal comes as Zielinski has doubled-down on a stance that all high-density development in the district should be on S. Kinnickinnic Ave. and other commercial areas while what he causes “residential areas” should be free of high-density residential buildings.
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