Council Approves East Side High Rise
After over a year of debate, the 27-story building is moving forward.
A controversial proposal for a new apartment high rise at 1550 N. Prospect Ave. was approved by the Common Council. The approval comes just over a year after the Common Council narrowly rejected a nearly identical proposal for the same site.
Madison-based developer Chris Houden and his firm DCH Properties are proposing a 27-story, 192-unit apartment tower on the site of the Goll Mansion. Architect Tom Miller, a principal at Kahler Slater, is leading the design of the $55 million project. It requires a zoning change because it roughly doubles the allowable building size for the site.
The proposed zoning change was subject to a protest petition by nearby property owners. The petition, as allowed as part of city statue, allows nearby property owners to mandate a three-fourths (12 vote) super majority of the Common Council to vote in favor of the project. Area alderman Robert Bauman has routinely opposed the project on the basis that it does not comply with the area’s comprehensive plan, while the Department of City Development has objected to his interpretation.
The project passed today with only council members Bauman and Jose G. Perez voting against it. Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs abstained from voting on the matter without explanation. Switching their votes from 2016 were council members Mark Borkowski and Tony Zielinski.
The proposal put two political allies and friends at odds. Ald. Nik Kovac represents the west side of the street with Bauman representing the east. Kovac noted that he routinely is on N. Prospect Ave., including biking it yesterday when Interstate 43 was closed and noted that it continued to function. He stated that Bauman’s assertion that it would be detrimental to public safety was inaccurate. Bauman, a former Prospect Ave resident, responded by stating “I am telling you that this will negatively impact quality of life on Prospect Ave.” Kovac has routinely voted in favor of the project, both at committee and at council, while Bauman has long been the project’s biggest opponent.
Houden has previously noted that he intends to use general contractor CD Smith to construct the building.
Opposition to the project was led by residents of the adjacent 1522 on the Lake condominium tower. The group had recently broadened their support to additional area residents and institutions.
The project would involve moving the historic Goll Mansion forward. That move, or actually moves, has already been approved by the Historic Preservation Commission. The house would first be moved backward, to allow the construction of a new foundation and then moved forward onto a new foundation. It has an estimated cost of $1.6 million.
Developer Chris Houden was in attendance at the Tuesday morning council meeting, as well as controversial project lobbyist and fire fighters union president Dave Seager (who has lobbied both for and against the project). As a sign of how invested Houden was in moving the project forward, even after being denied the zoning variance last year Houden went ahead and acquired the site and mansion from an affiliate of Dominion Properties for $1.6 million in October 2016.
For more background on the project, see my coverage from its approval at the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee last week.
In a release after the approval Houden stated “we are thrilled to be bringing a major new investment to the city of Milwaukee — adding a great new residential option to the East Side neighborhood and saving and restoring the historic Goll House. We are grateful for the support of the Council, as we all as the broad support we’ve received from the community.”
1550 Prior Renderings
Goll House – Interior
Goll House – Exterior
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