Michael Horne
Plenty of Horne

Condo Plan Okayed for Third Ward

A 13-unit complex, though the pediments were questioned. And more Ice Bars coming!

By - Oct 26th, 2017 10:00 am
The Third Ward Lofts. Rendering by Renner Architects.

The Third Ward Lofts. Rendering by Renner Architects.

Architect and Developer Peter Renner reached a “breakthrough agreement with WE Energies to remove all overhead electric power lines at E. Summerfest Pl. (E. Polk St.) and reposition them in an underground duct,” as he explained yesterday.

This will allow Renner to proceed with his 13-unit condominium project at 610 E Summerfest Pl. currently called “The Third Ward Lofts.”

Renner made his remarks Wednesday afternoon at the meeting of the Historic Third Ward Architectural Review Board. He had originally announced his proposal for a 10- unit project in December 2016, at which time I wrote that it was the first significant new condo project in the city since 2008.

Renner told the board Wednesday that when he showed his building plans to potential vendors, he was surprised how many said “I want one of them!” This may signal a resurgence in new condo development, which may lead to the conversion of many of the luxury apartments recently built into condo status as developers cash in. Or, the interest could be an anomaly due to the prime location.

The members of the board, which is chaired by Ald. Bob Bauman, reviewed the blueprints presented by Renner.

Member Ron San Felippo asked Renner, “why do you have those funny things on top?” Renner responded, “Funny things?” A voice called out “pediments,” referring to the bumps on top that break up the roofline, and which were the subject of criticism the last time the board reviewed the plans, though then the question was about the parapets. That was in February, at a meeting that Renner skipped, as Urban Milwaukee reported.

“That’s architecture,” Renner said of his decorative elements, some pointy and some curvy, alternating down the line.

Member Michael DeMichele pondered the matter and suggested that instead of the bumpy, pointy and curvy cornice feature, perhaps the brick could be corbelled out five or six courses.

Chairman Bauman suggested that the pediments might be made wider, pointing his finger to the northeast, toward the direction of the Salvation Army building at 324 N. Jackson St. It has nice wide pediments.

Bauman asked if the balconies on the building would extend into the public way, and Renner said yes, but sufficiently elevated so they would not require a special privilege permit.

After a bit more grumbling about the roofline of the building, the board granted its unanimous conditional approval for the project, provided Renner comes back again with a revised roofline plan.

The board also approved plans for signage at the Pyramax Bank, 318 N. Water St.

Off the Agenda

After the meeting was adjourned, Paul Schwartz, the executive director of the Milwaukee Public Market, 400 N. Water St. made an appearance with Historic Third Ward Association head Jim Plaisted to get the staff and board’s opinion on the policies for temporary vestibules erected in the public way during winter.

Last year was the initial run of the “Ice Bar,” a popular destination spot outside the market’s Saint Paul Fish Company. (See Plenty of Horne Ice Bar Opens at Public Market.)

The novel bar was a sensation, and Patrick Nedobeck, who conceived and ran the bar last winter, has plans to do so again. Furthermore, Schwartz told the members, Cafe Benelux and The Wicked Hop also plan to offer their own ice bars this season in collaboration with the original, and the temporary vestibules would be useful for practical reasons. We may then look forward to having an ice bar on three of the four corners of the intersection of N. Broadway and E. St. Paul St.

The board has visited the vestibule issue before and has developed guidelines. Member Greg Patin, who knows the code chapter and verse, defined an acceptable temporary vestibule by using an example of what was not. “One place had a screen door that looked like it was from a suburban house. That’s what we don’t want.” Patin suggested the vestibule builders keep things simple and transparent, using “straightforward bars” for the bones of the structures, nothing fancy, articulated or elaborate.

Building an Ice Bar

Edie Boutique Plans Store

Once upon a time the Third Ward was a place where you’d go to buy cheap cigars, whiskey of dubious origin, coal for your furnace and horsehair to stuff your sofa. Today the shopping choices are less of a commodity nature and more specialized. If your life absolutely depends on being surrounded by boutiques, this is the neighborhood for you.

244 N. Broadway. Photo by Michael Horne.

244 N. Broadway. Photo by Michael Horne.

The neighborhood is thus expected to be good for business for Edie, a women’s store that has leased the vacant space at 244 N. Broadway that most recently housed Boursajo Boutique, which was there as recently as a couple of weeks ago. Previously, the 2,257-square-foot retail space in the Broadway Condominiums housed Freckle Face, and before that was the home for a number of years of Stephanie Horne Boutique. (No relation.)

Tom Bachmann made an informal presentation to the board to tell them about the store that he proposes with his wife Amy DeGrazio.

Edie Boutique opened its first shop in Lake Geneva in May, 2015. Bachmann said the usual Lake Geneva shop does about $250 of business per square foot annually, while sales at Edie topped $450.

Shops have since opened in Naperville, IL, Park Ridge, IL. and Glen Ellyn, Il., with another underway in Valparaiso, IN. Bachmann described the place as “your one stop shop for jewelry, handbags and clothing. Edie is trendy, current and well-priced. There is something for everyone whether you are lucky enough to still be young, or seasoned enough to still be hip.”

Bachmann says he has work to do in the interior, including putting a new wood floor over the existing one, which he called “dirty and creaky.”

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2 thoughts on “Plenty of Horne: Condo Plan Okayed for Third Ward”

  1. Old Man Yells at Cloud says:

    “‘That’s architecture,’ Renner said”

    Renner continues to give Architecture a bad name.

  2. Tom says:

    It’s not amazing, but it’ll fit in well with the aesthetic of the Third Ward. In fact, if you told me this building was already there, and I just never noticed it, I would believe you.

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