Graham Kilmer
Plats and Parcels

Downtown’s Hot But Cooling Off?

And bad news for city on mortgage foreclosures.

By - Apr 15th, 2018 03:22 pm
Sign-up for the Urban Milwaukee daily email
Rendering of The Couture

Rendering of The Couture

Housing developments, specifically apartments, have been a defining trend for Milwaukee developers in recent years. With the exception of some massive projects like the Bucks Arena, and the Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons, many of the cranes in the city have been lifting the building blocks of apartments through the air.

The downtown area continues to see projects underway and those planned for the near future that will add to its housing stock. And with the announcement that The Couture is set to break ground in Fall 2018, the cranes will be in Milwaukee’s future for some time.

In fact, as Jeramey Jannene wrote this week, The Couture is just one of a few towers that Milwaukee may see rising up. Like the 1550 Prospect project, which will break ground in August. Jannene also wrote about a potential Johnson Controls tower, which would be adjacent to the future Couture. Although Department of City Development Commissioner Rocky Marcoux said the land could be a site for other companies, notably Foxconn. Yes, Foxconn, the many tentacled news-monster that continues to slowly unfurl its expensive tentacles over Southeastern Wisconsin.

Okay, back to housing. There’s been a lot, and with projects like The Couture and 1550, there is going to be quite a bit more. I’ve written here about the murmurs starting to issue from the real estate world as to whether the downtown market needs or will support more housing in the form of apartments, as have other reporters in town.

Jannene reported that Marcoux is not worried about this though he admitted seeing, “some signs the market is softening.” But Marcoux nonetheless had no worries about The Couture and its marriage to the lakefront line of the streetcar, and whether it will repay the city’s TIF grant as projected, because its such a unique project, the story noted.

Perhaps I’m starting to beat a dead horse in this column, on the issue of whether the downtown housing market is slowing down. But it has been red hot for quite some time. And if it cools, how will that affect the dreams of local leaders in this city who hope to spread that heat to other parts of the city? For today, we’re just asking, not answering the question.

The Couture renderings:

Walker’s Point Still Going Strong

An old Milwaukee warehouse, over a century old to be a bit more exact, will likely become new apartments in Walker’s Point.

So, more apartments for that booming neighborhood. Speaking of spreading the heat.

The building was originally envisioned as more office space for the Global Water Center, Tom Daykin reported. But after the developers failed to secure enough tenants they are instead opting for apartments.

Milwaukee Foreclosures

Some of the latest data on foreclosures in Milwaukee, as Corri Hess of the BizTimes reported, is not very promising.

Foreclosures in the city are up 21 percent in the first quarter of 2018, according to a study by ATTOM Data Solution, which is based in California and analyzes real estate date from around the country.

Except that it’s sort of old news. Because most of these foreclosures are from mortgages date back to the years between 2005 and 2008, during the great Recession and and lead up to it. So look at that, a decade on and the mortgage crisis is still kicking this city in the keister.

State offices and Crime Lab Update

It’s looking like Greenfield might be the home of the new crime lab and state office building.

Daykin of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Jane Ford-Stewart with Now News Group (an affiliate of the Journal-Sentinel) reported Monday that a piece of land owned by Cobalt Partners is being eyed for the development.

This would put the building in the Loomis crossing area of Greenfield. So still in Milwaukee County, at least.

In other news:

Sendik’s is closing its store in West Milwaukee. But it’s going to keep its employees, if they wish to work at other stores in the local chain, and for that they deserve a thumbs up.

-The former Valhalla restaurant on Old World Third Street will likely become a new lounge, and a few AirBnB units could be coming to that neck of the woods as well.

And in case you missed it, we featured the Drury Plaza Hotel Milwaukee Downtown in Friday Photos.

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.

5 thoughts on “Plats and Parcels: Downtown’s Hot But Cooling Off?”

  1. Frank Galvin says:

    You said “hot but!”’

  2. michael says:

    Besides the marquee lots by the lake interchange, there’s not a ton of totally ripe for development lots left around downtown. 3rd ward has a giant sheet of asphalt but ICC and summerfest don’t see eager to give it up. Similar story with parking lots along side 794 – being used as parking and in the shadow of an interstate. Most of the area around the harbor needs environmental remediation, overlooks a sewage plant, and is pretty disconnected from the street grid. Once this current round of projects happens, I think this will be the downtown for the foreseeable future.

    Probably S 1st street, King Drive, National, & Wisconsin Ave west of Marquette are the areas where we’ll see new investment in the next 10 years.

  3. DemCo says:

    State office building from downtown to Greenfield, please say it ain’t so!

  4. pg1946 says:

    Moving the State Office Building to Greenfield in a place that is inaccessible to public transportation would make it impossible for those without a car–primarily low-income city residents, a majority of whom are non-Caucasian and vote Democratic if they vote–to get a state voting ID. Rhetorical question: Given the political party that controls the government of this state, wouldn’t you think that this would suggest partisan vote suppression as one motive for selecting the Greenfield site?

  5. DAG999 says:

    Six years later, and still ground has not been broken?

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us