Graham Kilmer
Plats and Parcels

More Apartments for North Avenue

Plus: Big Bay View project and the Streetcar’s future.

By - May 28th, 2018 02:29 pm
2075 N. Cambridge Ave. Photo from Google.

2075 N. Cambridge Ave. Photo from Google.

As we wrote last week, E. North Avenue has been changing from college student-oriented bars and restaurants to places for older, more upscale clientele. Along with that trend goes the construction of apartments in the area. The latest such development was reported this past week: a developer from West Bend wants to build a four-story, 36-apartment building just off of E. North Avenue at 2075 N. Cambridge Ave.

Metro Realty Group LLC, is proposing the $4 million building. And it could have crews building it by June, Sean Ryan of the Milwaukee Business Journal reported.

Another notable apartment complex going up in the neighborhood is the Countour (not to be mistaken with The Couture), a six-floor building with 88 units that’s under construction at 2214 N. Prospect Ave.

Big Bay View Project

Jeramey Jannene of Urban Milwaukee reported this week that the Michels Company is planning a new office building in Bay View.

The story notes the firm purchased the site for $3.6 million through an affiliate. And they are planning to build an office complex, and potentially a small hotel and commercial space. There’s an item before the Common Council right now to vacate a street that runs through the parcel.

Jannene notes that Michels has a laundry list of projects, including some big ones locally with the city and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District.

The Future of the Streetcar

The city has big dreams for the future of the streetcar, if renderings they released are any indication.

Streetcar proponents have always talked up a multi-phase development of the track, whereby they stretch it out to other parts of the city. And in these latest renderings, the city seems to imagine the streetcar running through absolutely transformed neighborhoods.

Which makes some sense, as streetcars are really less about transit than development. In fact, a team of researchers from the Mineta Transportation Institute studied a number of cities that implemented streetcars and found, the primary purpose of the streetcar was to serve as a development tool. Yet these researchers found that the link between streetcar projects and investment is tenuous, or difficult to track at best.

Using the Portland Streetcar as an example, the researchers note that proponents often cite billions in development around the original Portland streetcar line downtown. Except they say there’s no evidence the streetcar was a causal factor in the development.

The authors say that measuring impact of a streetcar project requires understanding how land values are affected by transportation. And the effect on land value and development, the authors argue, is essentially preconditioned on ridership.

So if the streetcar in Milwaukee can figure out that perfect formula of price and product that has people riding The Hop, then perhaps the streets in the renderings will one day be reality. Certainly, there are quite a few business leaders in this city who believe the streetcar will be a positive for Milwaukee’s development.


In Other News:

-When the Bradley Center closes more than 650 employees will be laid off, Corri Hess reports in the BizTimes.

See photos of The Quin going up in Walker’s Point.

-There’s a new co-working space coming downtown, Tom Daykin reports.

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.

3 thoughts on “Plats and Parcels: More Apartments for North Avenue”

  1. michael says:

    Of course streetcar is about development. If we wanted to a build a transportation asset that maximized usership, we’d put residents in one place and jobs & amenities in another… Unfortunately, that just creates crowding & traffic, not community wealth. Usage statistics are a terrible KPI for assessing transportation investments; it would conclude that the 26-lane Katy Highway in Houston is the best highway in America. False. It’s an absurdity.

    End of the day, the fatal flaw of cars is that when everyone drives, a city starts to be parked over… but not just anywhere. The City gets parked over in its most important places economically, which simply annihilates the tax base. In Milwaukee, this is manifested in 55,000 downtown off-street parking spots that are sapping vitality and undermining the enormous potential of this area. We have blocks worth $100+ million next to blocks of surface parking worth less than $1M. That’s insane and it’s one of the biggest things holding back the city fiscally. We think we’re saving a couple bucks by cheaping out on transit, but the cost of coving downtown into parking is driving us into the poor house.

  2. George C says:

    lmao so per those renderings the streetcar is gonna just lift bronzeville out of poverty and into the middle class? ohhhhhkay.

  3. TransitRider says:

    George, the streetcar may well turn Bronzeville into a middle-class area. Cincinnati’s economically depressed, crime-ridden “Over the Rhine” neighborhood has seen a remarkable turnaround after a streetcar connecting it with downtown was approved in 2008.

    Look at these before (2009) and after (2013) photos showing a streetscape two blocks from the streetcar.

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