Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Lurie Still Planning Bay View Project

Buildings' size has shrunk. Architecture firm continues to meet with Ald. Tony Zielinski.

By - May 13th, 2019 04:39 pm
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Updated proposal for 2700 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. block. Rendering by RINKA.

Updated proposal for 2700 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. block. Rendering by RINKA.

Though a zoning change request was withdrawn, developer Scott Lurie is still working on a proposal to develop two apartment buildings on the 2700 block of S. Kinnickinnic Ave. in Bay View.

Alderman Tony Zielinski has met with representatives from project architect RINKA in recent weeks, but the alderman still does not support the project.

“We are still working. We are still talking,” said Zielinski in an interview. “Hopefully we can come up with a plan to address everyone’s concerns.”

The density and height of Lurie’s project, originally proposed as two six-story buildings containing a total of 227 units in October, is still not satisfactory for Zielinski to support a zoning change.

“I don’t know what the exact height is [to get my support], but I know the proposed height is too high,” the alderman told Urban Milwaukee. Lurie had shortened the proposed buildings and reduced the height by 10 percent in December, but Zielinski, citing feedback at a community meeting, pledged to vote against a zoning change.

A recent meeting between RINKA and Zielinski again reduced the size of the buildings by another 25 percent. RINKA partner Steve Morales, in an email to Zielinski, said the reduction would now require a city subsidy to make the project economically feasible. The Department of City Development in recent years has only endorsed tax-incremental financing districts for projects that include affordable housing or other public infrastructure.

“We discussed a number of possibilities, but each possibility has yet to be determined to its feasibility,” said Zielinki in early May. The alderman, who is running for mayor and not seeking re-election to the council, said he has concerns about how the buildings would intrude into the residential side streets.

The proposal most recently presented by Lurie and RINKA calls for 126 to 146 units, including up to 48 that would be leased as short-term rentals on Airbnb, and 25,000 square feet of retail space.

Lurie would form the site by purchasing 10 properties from an investment group led by Tim OlsonAlyssa Moore and Shirley Konopski. Lurie’s F Street Group would also acquire the BMO Harris Bank branch site. The bank would relocate to the first floor of the building proposed for the Bella’s Fat Cat site. Much of the development site is formed from a surface parking lot, a vacant lot and vacant one-story building.

According to a presentation at the December 2018 community meeting, the buildings would be built in phases, with the smaller building being built first at 2737-2745 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Houses at 2724 and 2732 S. Herman St. would be demolished to form the south side of the first building’s site. Two houses along S. Kinnickinnic Ave. would also be demolished.

The second building, which Rinka previously said is years away at the earliest, would be built on a site at 2701-2729 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Houses at 2713, 2717 and 2721 S. Herman St. would be demolished to form the site.

Lurie did not respond to a request for comment.

The project is one of many in the area, including a large apartment building at the north end of Bay View by New Land Enterprisesthe Stitchweld project and the recently completed Vue apartments. Zielinski supported zoning changes for those projects.

December 2018 Renderings

October 2018 Renderings

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