Jeramey Jannene
Friday Photos

Arena Apartments Rising

Royal Capital's 550 Ultra Lofts will bring 112 apartment units to the Deer District.

By - Nov 23rd, 2018 12:40 pm
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Five Fifty Ultra Lofts construction. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Five Fifty Ultra Lofts construction. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

In the shadow of the Fiserv Forum, a new apartment building is rising.

The building, known as the Five Fifty Ultra Lofts, is being constructed along the eastern side of N. 6th St. between W. McKinley Ave. and W. Juneau Ave. It occupies a small site left over from the construction of the arena parking garage.

When complete it will contain 112 market-rate apartments and 13,000 square feet of commercial space. The units will be a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments. Amenities in the project include a rooftop deck, club room and fitness center.

Royal Capital Group is developing the project on the site of the former Park East Freeway spur. The firm won the right to develop to the parcel from the Milwaukee Bucks as a result of a bidding process. A real estate affiliate of the team is an investor in the project.

The project is being designed by Engberg Anderson Architects and constructed by CD Smith. Founders 3 will manage the property.

Throughout the project’s zoning approval process, renderings with green accents were shown. The green is now gone, and renderings depict purple accents on the building’s facade. Milwaukee’s zoning code does not dictate color, so as long as Royal Capital Group does not change the materials or structural plans, the firm can paint the building any color they choose.

The color change is one of many that occurred as the project evolved. Royal Capital president Kevin Newell had originally told the City Plan Commission that his firm was intending to make some of the units affordable, but told Urban Milwaukee at the May groundbreaking that those plans didn’t materialize. The groundbreaking also revealed a name change, the project went from the Park 7 Lofts to the Five Fifty Ultra Lofts, a reference to the project’s address, 550 W. Juneau Ave.

Though most of the building fronts N. 6th St., residents will enter it along W. Juneau Ave. Commercial storefronts are planned for the first floor of the N. 6th St. facade.

The building features a unique design, at least for Milwaukee. It is effectively three-sided, with the eastern side featuring a blank wall that abuts the parking garage. It will also be the only apartment building in town with skywalk access to an arena.

Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs raised a sobering point during her remarks at the project’s groundbreaking. The Five Fifty project will only be the second downtown building owned by an African-American developer. The other is the recently completed redevelopment of the Germania Building by Kalan Haywood‘s firm Haywood Group and Cardinal Capital Management.

Because the privately-financed project is within the boundaries of the tax-incremental financing district used to fund the development of the arena parking garage, it will have to meet the hiring and contracting standards for the arena project. Forty percent of the work hours on the project need to be performed by unemployed or underemployed city residents. Additionally, 25 percent of the project’s contracts by value must be let to city-certified disadvantaged small businesses.

The project website touts the project as opening June 2019.

Photos

Original and Updated Renderings

Pre-Construction Site Photos and Plans

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