Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Vliet Street Hotel Approved Again

Trademark Collection hotel has a small window to open before DNC 2020.

By - Jun 11th, 2019 02:22 pm
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419 W. Vliet St. Photo by Dave Reid.

419 W. Vliet St. Photo by Dave Reid.

Less than 24 hours after it received its first public approval, the proposed Trademark Collection hotel planned near Fiserv Forum was again endorsed by a city committee.

The Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee unanimously endorsed a proposed zoning change from Industrial – Light to the broadly defined Industrial – Mixed for the property at 419 W. Vliet St. The change would allow developers Karl Rajani and Prabhu Kasthurirangaian to convert the vacant 11,250-square-foot building on the site into a 50-room hotel.

The partners hope to redevelop the 135-year-old building, including adding a fourth floor, into a hotel in time for the July 2020 Democratic National Convention.

The developers previously converted a nearby building at 1840 N. 6th St. into a Days Inn & Suites Hotel of the Arts. “We have faith in the city and were proven right with respect to that project,” said Rajani at Monday’s hearing before the City Plan Commission. “We are confident we will be proven right with this project.” He repeated those comments Tuesday.

Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs, who serves on the committee and represents the site of the proposed hotel, told her colleagues: “I’ve met with plenty of people with grand ideas for what to do with it. I think this is a great use for the building.”

Securing a site for parking has delayed the project already, but Rajani said he is confident a solution will be found.  So is the alderwoman. “I’m confident they will find a solution to their parking needs. As the days go by and times change, parking needs may as well,” said Coggs.

The new hotel is likely to be branded a Trademark Collection by Wyndham boutique hotel, said Kasthurirangaian Monday. The pricing would fall between the economy-priced Days Inn and the nearby Aloft and Hyatt Place hotels.

Known as the William P. Froehlich Paper Warehouse, the building was constructed in 1888 according to city records. Designed in the Second Empire style, it was first used as a wood-steam laundry facility. Rajani told the commission they hope to maintain as much of the historic character as possible.

The proposal would involve voluntary compliance with the city’s programs for hiring disadvantaged businesses and minority residents. But Rajani didn’t even need to present the details of the proposal to the normally jobs-sensitive zoning committee before they quickly approved it.

The rezoning request will next need approval from the full Milwaukee Common Council. The development team has yet to select a general contractor for the project.

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Related Legislation: File 190164

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