City Panel Okays Oak and Loc Complex
Unanimous vote allows controversial East Side apartment project to move forward.
A prominent East Side intersection is slated to get a major investment under a proposed development by Michael Klein and Jeno Cataldo. The duo intend to buy and demolish a two-story building at 2900 N. Oakland Ave. and construct a five-story mixed-use building in its place. Striegel-Agacki Studio is leading the design of the project.
The Common Council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee unanimously approved a zoning change for the project today, but not before a lengthy public hearing centered around two area residents who have long opposed the project.
The building, referred to in documents as the 2900 Apartments, would include 55 apartments and 10,000 square-feet of commercial space under plans submitted to the city. The apartments would be a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom units that would rent for $900 to $1,800 per month. Parking would be available for $125 to $150 per month according to Cataldo.
The City Plan Commission had earlier recommended approval of the project, but only after a contentious meeting that included negative comments on the project by commissioners and area residents. The zoning committee meeting got equally contentious, with committee chair Ald. Jim Bohl asserting his control of the committee at multiple points.
Mehail again raised the issue of sewer capacity. Department of Public Works representative Karen Dettmer said the limited capacity on paper is “not an atypical situation.” She said that since the City Plan Commission hearing where the issue was first broached, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District has issued a waiver for the project. In addition, Dettmer said a revised 2020 plan is expected to add an additional 12,000 gallons a day of capacity to the area.
Former area alderman Michael D’Amato, who now leads the area’s business improvement district, testified in favor of the project. D’Amato told the commission “this is a catalytic project that has been identified by the business improvement district for years.”
Area alderman and committee member Kovac noted he had received 10 letters in support and five in opposition. Speaking in support of the project, Kovac said he doesn’t anticipate the project will trigger a wave of development in the area. While he supports development of the surface parking lot at the northwest corner of N. Oakland Ave. and E. Locust St. (and across the street from the proposed 2900 Apartments), other large projects for the area would likely to run into opposition because they would require tearing down historic buildings.
Additional details on the project are available in our coverage from the project’s City Plan Commission hearing and a neighborhood meeting on the project’s initial design.
If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits, all detailed here.