So is the Journal Building Historic?
Historic Preservation Commission goes from one preservation battle to another.
Just a day after the Historic Preservation Commission granted temporary historic status to the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, two aldermen have nominated the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel headquarters for historic protection. The move could trigger another hotly-contested historic preservation debate within City Hall.
Council members Robert Bauman and Michael Murphy submitted nomination papers following the Tuesday morning Common Council meeting to designate the building at 333 W. State St. as a historic structure.
The six-story building has seen a lot of changes in its nearly 100 years of life. Built in 1924 for The Milwaukee Journal, the printing presses have decamped for suburban West Milwaukee while an ever-shrinking reporting staff remains. A highly-decorative frieze (stone artwork wrapping the building) depicting the history of communication was removed from the building in 2011. A handful of decorative elements still remain on the facade, paying tribute to historic figures in communication and printing. City records indicate the building has 256,429 square feet of space –much of it now empty.
Jeffers has successfully navigated the restrictions of local historic designation in the past, for buildings both old and new. Most recently the developer secured approval to build an 11-story office building at the northwest corner of N. Broadway and E. Clybourn St. in a city-designated historic district. Adjacent to that he also successfully redeveloped the Mitchell and Mackie buildings. On the other end of Downtown, the developer is pursuing a plan to develop an event space in the former St. James Episcopal Church.
In response to Jeffers’ church plans, Bauman said in July 2018: “We should give you the man-of-the-year award for historic preservation.” If Jeffers’ acquisition and Bauman’s nomination both move forward, Jeffers will have to vie for back-to-back titles.
Bauman, who sits on the city’s Historic Preservation Commission as the council representative, could not be reached for comment by the time of publication.
A building’s owner retains the right to appeal the decision of the Historic Preservation Commission to the full Common Council. The designation would require any future exterior modifications to the building to obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness from the commission. The city’s historic preservation ordinance does not govern the interior of buildings.
On February 5, 2019 Alderman Bauman & Alderman Murphy jointly signed an application for historic designation of the Journal Building pic.twitter.com/mzPIvHgdZF
— Robert Bauman (@RobertBauman3) February 5, 2019
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