Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Three New “Historic” Homes For East Side

City committee designates vacant land as historic, allows three new homes near Water Tower.

By - Sep 18th, 2018 03:28 pm
The proposed development site. Left image from Google Maps. Right image by Jeramey Jannene.

The proposed development site. Left image from Google Maps. Right image by Jeramey Jannene.

A complex proposal to construct three new homes in Milwaukee’s Northpoint neighborhood has secured the approval of the neighborhood, the developers and a city committee.

Developers Tim Gokhman and Ann Shuk are looking to acquire an empty lot on the 2300 block of N. Terrace Ave. and subdivide it for the creation of three single-family homes.  The two, who both work for New Land Enterprises, would each develop a single-family house for themselves and sell the third site for a future home.

The site, located just north of E. North Ave., is owned by hospital operator Ascension. The parcel, today a fenced-in grass lot, is east of the hospital’s parking garage along N. Lake Dr. and north of the Cancer Center & Water Tower Medical Commons Building at 2350 N. Lake Dr. It has been vacant for decades, but historically had at least one large single-family home on the site. The hospital demolished the Freschel House in the 1960’s for parking.

The two had originally sought approval of the proposal in July, but the City Plan Commission held the matter to allow a proposal from a neighbor to expand the adjacent historic district to include the property to be heard at a future meeting. The city-designated North Point Historic District runs from E. Lafayette Pl. north to E. Kenwood Blvd. The development site is excluded from the district currently, although the homes to the north and east of it are included.

That expanded historic designation was approved Tuesday by the Common Council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee alongside three other related files. The committee unanimously approved subdividing the parcels, rezoning the site for single-family homes and a final agreement that would maintain open space at the southern end of the site.

The deal isn’t new. “All of these files were more or less negotiated 12 years ago,” said area alderman Nik Kovac.

But despite that agreement, which was negotiated in part by Gokhman and Shuk’s current attorney Bruce Block, the historic district was never expanded to include the site.

“I think it has a been a misunderstanding,” said long-time area resident Barbara Elsner at the July hearing on the matter. Elsner has lived in a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home on N. Terrace Ave. for decades. She, alongside other area residents, was in attendance at the committee meeting in support of the expanded historic designation and approval of the new zoning for the homes.

Each proposed home will have to go before the Historic Preservation Commission to secure a Certificate of Appropriateness before it’s constructed. For guidance on what type of modern home fits within the historic guidelines, Gokhman and Shuk can examine the work of another real estate developer. Robert Schmidt built a new home just a few blocks north of the hospital site in 2015.

The proposal will next go before the full council.

New Land Neighbors

Tim Gokhman and Ann Shuk are no strangers to the many layers and meetings that can be required for a zoning change. The two work at New Land Enterprises, a firm started by their fathers Boris Gokhman and Vladimir Shuk.

Both of their families lived in the City Green condominiums (1111 N. Marshall St.), a New Land project, before Gokhman moved to a house he built on N. Commerce St. Now with children approaching school age, they’re looking to become neighbors again.

Gokhman says they approached Ascension about selling the site after driving around in an attempt to find a place to build near Milwaukee Public Schools‘ Maryland Avenue Montessori School. The two, who are each married, have similarly-aged children.

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