Is Bucks Live Block Good Urbanism?
Council committee debates merits of new building for Old World Third St., gateway to arena.
The Milwaukee Bucks, Rinka Chung Architecture and members of the Common Council have found themselves at odds over the design of one of the smallest pieces of the smallest building at the new arena complex. Yet, despite its small scale, all parties agree it’s an important site in the creation of the Deer District.
The team, through its real-estate affiliate, came before the council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee Tuesday morning to secure approval for their plans to replace a portion of a proposed beer garden with a one-story building for their Live Block connector. The connector is intended to allow visitors to easily go from N. Old World Third St. to the arena and “Live Block” entertainment center complex on N. Vel R. Phillips Ave. (formerly N. 4th St.).
The site, located at 1129-1135 N. Old World Third St., would include a large pedestrian passageway and new building in between two taverns, Ugly’s Pub and The Loaded Slate. The 2,045-square-foot, two-tenant building would be geared towards food and beverage tenants.
“It’s a really important site because it’s the connector to the existing urban fabric around the site,” said Rinka Chung project director Audry Grill.
The committee had unanimously endorsed the team’s plan for the site in November, before the building was included. And while the concept of adding this building isn’t drawing opposition, its proposed design drew derision from members of the zoning committee.
Alderman Nik Kovac sees things differently. He compared the half-floor design feature to something found in a suburban, fast food restaurant: “In general I feel like buildings should be as high as they actually are… I would rather you did do a two-story building.”
“He’s right, it reads Mayfair Collection all over it with the paneling,” added committee chair Ald. Jim Bohl referencing the new auto-centric shopping center in Wauwatosa. Bohl said he liked the large glass windows and charred wood paneling on the building itself, but thought the steel paneling was too dark.
Department of City Development planning manager Vanessa Koster said DCD supports the steel paneling. “We thought it was a high-quality material that was being explored,” she said, before noting that the city’s zoning code does not regulate color.
“It has a really interesting texture when you walk up next to it,” added Grill.
Kovac asked about the potential for a rooftop deck to alleviate the issue. But the Bucks don’t see that as a good fit. “With the tenants we want to bring in, rooftop access doesn’t make sense,” said team vice president Alex Lasry.
“[Tenants] could be anywhere from a carryout food company to a bar or restsaurant,” said Lasry. He cited Insomnia Cookies an example of the type of tenant who could occupy the space, but wouldn’t want a rooftop deck. And while Insomnia likely isn’t one of them, Lasry says the team does already have interested tenants for the two stalls.
The building and passageway is a gateway into a covered beer garden that borders the entertainment center buildings and connects with the plaza at the arena’s front door. “Everything that we’re trying to do here is to make it easy for people to have a good time,” said Lasry. He told the committee that the team is exploring ways to allow patrons to bring drinks into the open air spaces and go between different bars, even the ones the Bucks won’t have a stake in.
Lasry’s response: “We think if you actually just put a one-story building here, it wouldn’t look as good with the heights of the building surrounding it.”
After a substantial debate on the measure, Rinka Chung project architect Jessica Timmer came forward and added that the firm actually did revise the design a few days ago. The firm didn’t remove the steel paneling, but instead of terminating it abruptly had it turn the corner and run to the rear of the building to better wrap the rooftop equipment.
After learning of changes to the paneling to turn the corner and better frame the roof, Kovac interjected “that’s better.”
He concluded his remarks by noting that cornices aren’t uncommon on buildings, but aren’t usually found on one-story buildings. He contended the more urban thing to do would be a two-story building.
Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs added, “I would just say in the future, lead with the latest, that might have saved us a few minutes.”
But the committee ultimately gave unanimous approval to the project. The team promised to have updated renderings submitted to the city in time for the full Common Council meeting.
The team wants to get to work on the project quickly, with Grill stating that the exterior is scheduled for completion on October 1st.
Earlier Connector Renderings and Site Plans
Live Block Plans
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.
More about the New Bucks Arena
- Walker Reconsiders Fiserv Subsidy? - Chuck Quirmbach - Aug 3rd, 2018
- Wisconsin Center District Announces Substantial Completion of Fiserv Forum - Wisconsin Center District - Jul 31st, 2018
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Bucks Plan German-Style Holiday Market - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 16th, 2018
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Bucks Show Off Nearly Finished Arena - Jeramey Jannene - Jun 28th, 2018
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Bucks Arena Getting Custom-Painted Fire Hydrants - Jeramey Jannene - Jun 6th, 2018
- Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center to Launch Sustainability Program - Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center - Jun 5th, 2018
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Bucks Still Won’t Play in Fiserv Arena - Jeramey Jannene - May 31st, 2018
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Good City Brewing Tapped for Bucks’ Live Block - Jeramey Jannene - May 31st, 2018
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Is Bucks Live Block Good Urbanism? - Jeramey Jannene - May 22nd, 2018
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Bucks Arena 95% Complete; See Inside - Jeramey Jannene - May 18th, 2018
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Bucks Unveil Old World Third St. Bar - Jeramey Jannene - May 8th, 2018
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Bucks Won’t Play in Fiserv Arena - Jeramey Jannene - Apr 27th, 2018
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Bucks Live Block Eliminates Performance Space - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 12th, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: City Panel Okays Live Block Shrinkage - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 4th, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Bucks’ Live Block Connector Approved - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 21st, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Bucks Arena 68% Complete - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 21st, 2017
- Bucks’ Health Clinic Will Soon Open - Graham Kilmer - Nov 9th, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Bucks Unveil Arena Parking Garage - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 31st, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Bucks Arena On Budget, On Schedule - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 5th, 2017
- Friday Photos: Live Block Work Starts in Deer District - Jeramey Jannene - Sep 22nd, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Bucks Top Off New Arena - Jeramey Jannene - Aug 24th, 2017
- Photo Gallery: Touring The New Bucks Arena - Graham Kilmer - Aug 1st, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Inside New Bucks Arena - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 6th, 2017
- Friday Photos: The Deer District Rises - Jeramey Jannene - May 12th, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Council Approves Arena, Hammes Design Changes - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 1st, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Committee Okays Two Downtown Designs - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 22nd, 2017
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Bucks Unveil New Signs for Arena - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 14th, 2017
- Friday Photos: Arena Rises from Frozen Tundra - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 16th, 2016
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Bucks Live Block is a Slam Dunk - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 5th, 2016
- Friday Photos: New Bucks Arena From Above - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 7th, 2016
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Council Okays Streetcar to Bucks Arena - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 6th, 2016
- Friday Photos: Bucks Arena Work Prep - Jeramey Jannene - May 27th, 2016
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Bucks Arena Design Approved - Jeramey Jannene - May 17th, 2016
- Eyes on Milwaukee: How Urban is Bucks New Arena? - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 18th, 2016
- Eyes on Milwaukee: New Bucks Arena Approved - Jeramey Jannene - Sep 22nd, 2015
- Murphy’s Law: Is Abele Dumping the Marcus Center? - Bruce Murphy - Jul 28th, 2015
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Bucks Arena Winners and Losers - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 17th, 2015
- Murphy’s Law: How Abele Bailed Out Walker - Bruce Murphy - Jun 11th, 2015
- Murphy’s Law: Abele Plan for Bucks Arena Won’t Work - Bruce Murphy - Jun 4th, 2015
- Back in the News: Bucks Bailout Gets Even Bigger - Bruce Murphy - Jun 1st, 2015
- Murphy’s Law: Arena Plan is Massive Tax Shift to Milwaukee - Bruce Murphy - May 29th, 2015
- Murphy’s Law: MMAC Plays Hardball on Bucks Arena - Bruce Murphy - May 5th, 2015
- Murphy’s Law: State Bucks Arena Plan Fleeces Milwaukee - Bruce Murphy - Apr 23rd, 2015
- Murphy’s Law: The Secret Tax Subsidy Society - Bruce Murphy - Apr 14th, 2015
- Murphy’s Law: Should City/County Donate More to NBA Arena? - Bruce Murphy - Mar 24th, 2015
- Murphy’s Law: Bucks Owners Must Build Without Subsidy - Bruce Murphy - Mar 10th, 2015
- Murphy’s Law: How Could Walker Refuse Incredible Deal? - Bruce Murphy - Feb 12th, 2015
- Murphy’s Law: Foundation Helps Herb Kohl Get $20 Million Windfall - Bruce Murphy - Dec 18th, 2014
- Murphy’s Law: How Will NBA Arena Benefit the City? - Bruce Murphy - Dec 2nd, 2014
- Murphy’s Law: Dispute Over Bucks Arena Goes National - Bruce Murphy - Oct 23rd, 2014
- Murphy’s Law: 10 Reasons To Build Bucks Arena on Wisconsin Ave. - Bruce Murphy - Oct 8th, 2014
- Murphy’s Law: How UWM Deal Will Affect the Bucks - Bruce Murphy - Jul 3rd, 2014
- Murphy’s Law: Four Plans to Save the Bucks - Bruce Murphy - May 15th, 2014
- Murphy’s Law: 10 Key Issues in NBA Arena Debate - Bruce Murphy - Apr 24th, 2014
- Murphy’s Law: $1 Billion Needed for Milwaukee Facilities - Bruce Murphy - Dec 12th, 2013
- Murphy’s Law: New Moves to Bail Out the Bucks - Bruce Murphy - Oct 15th, 2013