Board Questions Shake Shack’s Signage
Historic Third Ward ARB acts on a host of small changes, from signs to a new dock.
The Historic Third Ward Architectural Review Board met Wednesday in the district’s office in the Phoenix Building, 219 N. Milwaukee St. The board is charged with implementing and interpreting the design guidelines for the old warehouse neighborhood.
The first order of business was the approval of a screening for a WE Energies utility box at the southeast corner of the Mercantile Building’s lot at 240 E. Buffalo St. The historic building has a new addition to its south, and the utility box improvements will consist of a perforated screen with the message “Choose a Positive Thought.” The slogan previously was painted on the building prior to the new construction. The box has been surrounded by columns in anticipation of mounting the screen.
Not so fortunate was a proposal for signage for the Shake Shack, which will occupy the corner retail space in the building, with additional frontage on N. Water St. The members asked for further clarification on the materials of the adhesive window sign. Shake Shack, based in New York, was founded in 2004 and currently has 126 locations.
Signs were also on the agenda for a building at 240 N. Milwaukee St. Generally, the guidelines discourage multiple signage on buildings in the area. However, the Milwaukee Street facade of the building, with its discrete entrances for the businesses there, and pleasant rhythm, merited an exception, the members ruled.
The utility box to be screened:
A ninety foot private dock on the Milwaukee River was proposed by the owners of the Renaissance Building, 309 N. Water St. The dock would be accessed via the Riverwalk. David Domres, the local head of Physicians Realty Trust, LLC., the publicly traded owner of the building, which is headquartered there, asked the board to give its conceptual approval of the plans. The dock would be adjacent to the Black Swan, a recently opened event space in the basement of the massive structure.
Member Ron San Felippo said the kayak rental space just upstream might be moved about 50 feet to the north, and expanded not just for rental kayaks, but for privately owned ones as well. The members gave their conditional approval, encouraging the developer to return with more fully expressed plans, which presumably will include creating a breech in the existing RiverWalk wall, which is of a cable-fence composition at this location. There are comparable docks, public and private, further downstream on this stretch of the amenity, designed by Mary Miss.
Fun Fact: The Chairman of the Board of Directors of Physicians Realty Trust is the Honorable Tommy G. Thompson, former governor of Wisconsin. The firm announced Wednesday the acquisition of $189 million in medical facilities located in Minneapolis and a “major metropolitan market in the Southeast.”
Location of proposed private dock:
Street Pole Replacement N. Van Buren St.
Verizon received approval to install two 36 foot poles south of I-794 on N. Van Buren St. The poles, located across from the Salvation Army building, will hold transmission equipment for the cellular carrier.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned by Chairman Bob Bauman.