Jeramey Jannene
Plats and Parcels

Michels Has Hotel Partner for $100 Million Development

Plus: Work underway on effort to save Soldiers' Home.

By - Sep 22nd, 2019 01:54 pm
River One Site Plan. Rendering by RINKA.

River One Site Plan. Rendering by RINKA.

Michels Corp., the infrastructure and utility contractor building a $100 million mixed-use complex known as River One at S. 1st St. and W. Becher St., has found a partner for its planned hotel.

Firm vice president Tim Michels told Sean Ryan Friday that the company has found a partner for the 110-room hotel it proposes to build at the southwest corner of the development near W. Becher St. and the Kinnickinnic River.

But who is it? “they want to do a big announcement, so I am forbidden,” said Michels of his ability to disclose the partner.

Construction is underway on the 1,052-stall parking garage that will cover much of the six-acre site. The garage will be mostly below grade, with five buildings planned to rise above it.

The $49 million first phase of the project includes the parking structure, an eight-story office building and an expansion of the Milwaukee RiverWalk.

Michels, which is headquartered in rural Brownsville just outside of Fond du Lac, will anchor the office building with its new civil infrastructure division. Many of the positions in the 250-employee division will be in engineering or other highly-technical fields. “People that, quite frankly, are easier to recruit in Milwaukee than other places,” said Michels’ Chief Legal Officer David Stegeman in September 2018. Michels said in August 2018 that he hopes the firm will eventually employ 800 people at the site.

Later phases include a second office building, the hotel and two apartment buildings along S. 1st St. First-floor commercial space is planned along the river and edges of the development.

Michels told Ryan Friday that construction on the second phase would begin in November, about the time the first phase is scheduled to be complete.

For more on River One see the links to prior coverage at the end of this article.

Condemned Walker’s Point Building Becoming Apartments

Developer Michael Morrison is nearing the home stretch on his transformation of a 134-year-old Walker’s Point building. The three-story building at 425 W. National Ave. will become 14 apartments according to permits filed with the city.

While the first floor is completely exposed at the moment, substantial progress has been made since we last covered the project in September 2018. New windows line the upper floors, through which framed-out apartments are visible, and an opaque first-floor facade has been removed. Read on and see the photos.

$44 Million Soldiers Home Project Launched

Leaders from virtually every level of government, historic preservation advocacy and affordable housing development gathered Friday morning to celebrate the start of work on the long sought after redevelopment of Old Main and five other buildings on the historic Soldiers Home complex.

Built to house returning soldiers after the Civil War, much of the complex, located behind the Milwaukee Veteran’s Administration Medical Center, has been vacant for decades. But come spring 2021, veterans will again reside in 101 apartments in the century-and-a-half-old complex.

The Madison-based Alexander Company, after years of fundraising, ceremonially kicked off the $43.8 million redevelopment project in front of Old Main, the largest building in the complex. Old Main will be home to 70 apartments available for veterans at below-market rates, with three duplexes, the former chaplain’s residence and former Soldiers’ Home headquarters also being converted to housing to bring the total to 101 units. Support services will be offered to the residents. Learn more.

250 Jobs for Century City, Maybe More

A proposal to bring meat supplier Strauss Brands to Century City from Franklin was unanimously approved by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee (RACM) board Thursday afternoon.

The city would provide up to $4.5 million to the company based on the number of jobs created by the company. It currently employs approximately 250 people at its Franklin campus and should it add another 150 would be able to receive the full funding allotment from the city.

The funds would be provided via a developer-financed tax-incremental financing (TIF) district that effectively serves as a property tax rebate with interest. The city would create a new district to support the development. Read on.

A New Plan For Old Entertainment and Recreation Complex

Developer Brandon Rule plans to redevelop the former Johnson’s Park entertainment center near N. 76th St. and W. Good Hope Rd.

The developer, who just celebrated the completion of his first project, is seeking to develop affordable apartments on the city-owned site as well as a possible boutique hotel and “entertainment entity.”

To finance the $18 million project, Rule Enterprises will first seek low-income housing tax credits from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA). The competitive program requires Rule to have “site control,” which he appeared before the Common Council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee Tuesday morning to secure. Learn more.

Tiny Homes for Veterans Land Sale Approved

A proposed land sale needed to develop a tiny home supportive housing community for military veterans was approved Tuesday morning by the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee.

First introduced in late July, the proposal from Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin (VoW) calls for 36 to 48 tiny homes on a seven-acre city-owned site at 6767 N. 60th St. near W. Green Tree Rd. The 240-square-foot homes, with bathrooms and a living space, would be centered around a central community building that would provide showers, a full kitchen, computers and classroom space. Programs for the residents would include financial literacy, wellness and job training. The facility would be 100 percent alcohol and drug free.

VoW, which is modeling the project after a smaller one it developed in Racine, would pay the city $35,000 for the seven-acre site and invest approximately $2 million in building out the complex. The land would be carved out of the eastern edge of a larger 40-acre site the city has long hoped to develop as the Green Tree Business Park. The city, through the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee, acquired the property in 2006 to develop the federal Job Corps Center along N. 60th St. Read on.

Goldmann’s Campaign Canceled, Sign Headed to Cincinnati

A $20,000 fundraising campaign to repair and display the former Goldmann’s Department Store sign has been canceled. The 800-pound sign will be shipped to the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati where it will eventually be repaired and installed in the indoor museum.

On Monday we reported that the group sign had the 24-foot-tall sign, an approved plan and a location, all they needed was the money to make it happen. Now they’ve changed directions.

“Preservation is a tough hobby which can be bittersweet, but with efforts by many people over the last two years, I’m happy to have saved this treasure and ensured its future,” said Old Milwaukee Facebook group leader Adam Levin. The Milwaukee history enthusiast co-founded the non-profit Old Milwaukee Neon Co. with three partners earlier this month. Levin reported that he refunded all of the donations received through the GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign. Learn why Levin’s group changed directions.

UniteMKE Plans Restaurant, HQ on North Ave.

A classroom project could result in new life for a vacant building in the city’s Midtownneighborhood.

Bria Grant, executive director of health and wellness non-profit UniteMKE, is seeking to purchase and redevelop the city-owned, two-story building at 2501-03 W. North Ave.

The 5,144-square-foot building’s first floor would be redeveloped into a restaurant, Wood Fire Pizza and Wine, and office space for UniteMKE. The upper floor would house two apartments according to a Department of City Development report. Learn more about Grant’s vision.

Master Lock Zoning Change Approved

Padlock and security products manufacturer Master Lock was back before a city committee this week to secure additional approvals for its plan to consolidate and secure its corporate campus along W. Center St. in the city’s Metcalfe Park neighborhood.

The company, which operates a multi-building campus near N. 32nd St. and W. Center St. with approximately 500 employees, was before the Public Works Committee last week seeking city permission to close portions of N. 32nd St. and W. Wright St. at the south end of its campus. This week company representatives appeared before the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee to secure a zoning change on a handful of parcels it owns just beyond the current border of its campus.

Master Lock needs the zoning change, switching vacant lots from residential to industrial, so it can consolidate the former residential lots and vacated street into one parcel with its existing campus. Once approved, the company will construct a new security fence and parking lot to reconfigure the location of employee parking lots and freight truck access. Read why one alderman continues to oppose the proposal.

Zillman Park Financing Plan Approved

A small, city-owned park along S. Kinnickinnic Ave. in Bay View is set to be rehabbed under a plan approved Tuesday by the Common Council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee.

The city will create a tax-incremental financing (TIF) district to provide $500,000 to redesign Zillman Park at 2168 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. and shutter a nearby playground that needs substantial repair.

The district will use incremental property tax revenue from the 144-unit KinetiK apartment building currently under construction immediately north of the park to fund the effort. The new building will include the Flour and Feed food hall on its first floor with a plaza bordering the park.

“This park has been top on our list in terms of its condition and time since last reconstruction,” said MKE Plays coordinator Joe Kaltenberg. But it doesn’t stand alone in that category, he added: “Quite frankly we have a dozen parks that are in a similar condition throughout the city. Learn more about the role of TIF in the proposal.

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