Eyes on Milwaukee: “The Yards” Design Gets a Thumbs Up » Urban Milwaukee
Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

“The Yards” Design Gets a Thumbs Up

A "gorgeous building" with "really nice design elements," one commissioner raves.

By - Mar 13th, 2018 03:34 pm
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The Yards. Rendering by Rinka Chung Architecture.

The Yards. Rendering by Rinka Chung Architecture.

“It’s a gorgeous building, beautiful building, really nice design elements. I can tell that people are going to want to live there and make it their home.”

Those were the words of City Plan Commission member Stephanie Bloomingdale at a public hearing regarding the design of Linden Street Partners‘ proposed 86-unit apartment building for a vacant lot at 223 W. Oregon St. in Walker’s Point. The project, known as The Yards, would be located a stone’s throw from the firm’s other project, The Quin. That project, a five-story, 70-unit apartment building, is slated for completion this summer. If all goes well, The Yards will be under construction by that time.

Because the project falls within the boundaries of the city’s Reed Street Yards Development Incentive Zone, it is required to secure design approval from the City Plan Commission, but does not need a zoning variance from the Common Council to be approved. The Plan Commission unanimously endorsed the proposal.

Chad Griswold, principal at Rinka Chung Architecture, presented the project to the commission at the end of a lengthy meeting Monday afternoon.

Commissioners did ask about the presence of the adjacent freight rail line on the south side of the site. “From a strategy standpoint, you can see the majority of the units are pulled away from the railroad tracks, about as far as they can be,” Griswold said. In an interview in late February with Urban Milwaukee, Linden Street partner Scott Richardson said “We don’t see freight trains as a negative at all. It lends to the urban feel of the project.” He said modern wall and window systems are substantially better than those of even a decade ago and very little additional work is required to block out the sound of a passing train.

Both Richardson and Griswold said that the name of the project draws both from the area’s name, Reed Street Yards, and the fact that they’re designing the urban units with as much outdoor space as possible. The units come with large balconies, facilitated by their being recessed into the building. The second story of the L-shaped building’s design also features a large outdoor patio for residents, complete with a fenced-in dog run. The first floor, which fills the site, includes a 70-unit parking garage, fitness center and 1,900-square-foot commercial space.

The average rent in the building is expected to be $1,500.

In an interview in late February, Linden Street partner Scott Richardson said the firm was pitched on the W. Oregon St. site through a broker shortly after the first project was announced by landowners General Capital Group and Peter Moede. General Capital and Moede, who will be equity investors in the project, have a partnership to develop the Reed Street Yards water technology business park immediately to the west of the site.

The Yards apartment building will be a shot in the arm for the Reed Street Yards development. While the $13.3 million tax-incremental financing district is on schedule to be paid back by 2024, much of the land along the newly-constructed Freshwater Way remains vacant. Zurn, a division of Rexnord, opened their headquarters on the west end of the street in 2017. Financial services technology firm Fiserv is considering moving its Brookfield-based headquarters to the business park.

Renderings

Plans

Elevations

Site Photos

Walker’s Point Boomtown

The Walker’s Point neighborhood remains a boomtown for development. Developer Brandon Rule broke ground on his SEVEN04 Place apartment building in February, Linden Street is building The QuinDavid Winograd is converting The Grainery building at The Tannery into apartments and Wangard Partners is planning a second apartment building for Freshwater Plaza.

New apartments aren’t the only thing coming to the area. Toast, a breakfast-focused restaurant, opened last week across the street from the proposed site for The Yards, the coffee shop Full of Beans Cafe opened in December 2017 at 184 S. 2nd St. and Sprecher Brewing Co. opened a taproom in the former Brenner Brewing facility in February.

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4 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: “The Yards” Design Gets a Thumbs Up”

  1. IzzyDidIt says:

    Question, what is going to become of the alley-way underpass adjacent to the site? Hopefully there will be lighting to make it more welcoming/safe. As it looks now, it seems as though the city will vacate that alley, or is this actually part of the private property?

  2. Sam says:

    I don’t get the praise. This looks substantially like every other apartment project going up in town, save for the corner flourish. “Urban feel” aside, I hope those units have some sound proofing as the architect implies.

    @IzzyDidIt
    It looks like the city would vacate the alley from the renderings, but it’s hard to tell because there is no measurement indicated.

  3. Sam says:

    @IzzyDidIt

    Ah, I found it in the the first “plans” image. The entire East/West Distance says 248 feet and indicates a new “proposed west property line”. That would have the building going into the parking lot to the west from a quick Google map distance measurement.

  4. IzzyDidIt says:

    @Sam

    Thanks for the clarification, it’s a shame to lose that passageway, it could be a cool “Art-way” similar to the Valley passage by Urban Ecology center. I use the passage regularly to get to the Brix building. It could’ve also been a nice outdoor patio space for a future cafe or other commercial user. Oh well!

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