The Climbing Contour
Lower East Side apartment building is redefining N. Prospect Ave.
The Contour apartments are climbing on N. Prospect Ave. The building, which will eventually reach a height of six stories, currently stands four stories tall. The inspiration for the building’s name is now evident, although you will have to look closely to see the corners of the building contouring out of the sidewalk.
The project is under development by Joseph Property Development just south of E. North Ave. at 2214 N. Prospect Ave.
The 88-unit apartment building, originally announced in September 2015, is being designed by Rinka Chung Architecture. The Contour name reflects the building’s shape, which bows out towards N. Prospect Ave. at the northwest and southwest corners.
The site was previously a parking lot for the long-gone Prospect Mall (since redeveloped by Joseph) and a 2,520 square-foot Qdoba Mexican Grill restaurant.
Apartments will be a mix of market-rate, one- and two-bedroom units. The building will have an L shape, with the bulk of the massing along N. Prospect Ave. to match Joseph’s Overlook on Prospect apartments directly across the street.
A blank wall that overlooks the gas station on the building’s south side is clearly visible now. With any luck, a building will someday block that otherwise uninspiring view.
Project plans, approved in late 2015 by the East Side Architectural Review Board, include 73 parking stalls on a lower-level accessed from N. Prospect Ave. and 63 stalls on the first floor of the building accessed off E. Ivanhoe Pl. More than enough parking for the building’s residents and commercial tenants, leaving stalls available for tenants of Joseph’s other area buildings.
The northwest corner of the site at N. Prospect Ave. and E. Ivanhoe Pl. will include almost 10,000 square-feet of retail space.
Robert Joseph is no stranger to the heart of the East Side. In the past three years, his firm has opened the Edge on North apartments (39 units, James Piwoni Architects) and the Overlook on Prospect apartments (52 units, Miller Architectural Group). The latter was built in the former Prospect Mall, a project Joseph’s grandfather George Bockl originally developed. Joseph noted that those two buildings are effectively fully leased in an interview in September 2016.
Architectural review board member and Colectivo Coffee co-owner Lincoln Fowler is excited about the project. At a September 2015 ARB hearing, Fowler stated “something should be there. [The site is] one of the missing teeth, if you will, on Prospect.” Fowler would know: he operates a coffee shop across the street at 2211 N. Prospect Ave. and owns the building occupied by the newly-opened Village Ace Hardware at 2170 N. Prospect Ave.
Will the development help calm traffic on a stretch of N. Prospect Ave. that drivers often mistake for a straightaway at the Milwaukee Mile? Architect Matt Rinka believes so; during the building’s review board hearing he noted “the fact that there is open parking makes people feel they can speed on Prospect. The hard edge of the building will slow people down. We discuss this in Urban Design Strategies class.”
The building also offers a twist on modern apartment design, with terracotta being planned to form the black bands seen in the building design. The material, which Rinka billed as “expensive, historic and modern,” is found on many historic buildings in the area, but likely none built in the past 90 years.
For more on the terracotta and a discussion of two-way traffic for Prospect and Farwell avenues with area alderman Nik Kovac, see Michael Horne‘s September 19th, 2015 article “Prospect Avenue Apartments Win Board OK.”
Renderings and Pre-Development Site Photos
2017 Site Plans
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