Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

McCarthy Appeals on Bucks Player’s Project

Wants Common Council to overrule HPC ruling that 1860s house can be razed.

By - Nov 14th, 2019 04:09 pm
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1245-1247 N. Milwaukee St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

1245-1247 N. Milwaukee St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Milwaukee Bucks guard Pat Connaughton is still not in the clear to demolish a duplex at 1245-1247 N. Milwaukee St.

Connaughton, through his development firm Beach House, plans to demolish the duplex, which dates back to at least 1865, and construct a three-story, three-unit apartment building on the site.

Preservation advocate Dawn McCarthy filed an appeal Thursday afternoon to the Common Council regarding the Historic Preservation Commission‘s decision that the property is not historic.

In her appeal, she said it is unusual for commissioners to reject designation after a staff report recommended temporary designation based on four criteria.

The commission ruled on Monday to reject McCarthy’s application for temporary historic designation for the property. The designation would block any construction activity on the property for 180 days and require the commission to hold a hearing regarding permanent historic designation.

“My gut is that this building does not rise to the level of significance to merit designation,” said Ann Pieper Eisenbrown on Monday before moving to reject the application. Sally Peltz and Marion Clendenen-Acosta voted with Pieper Eisenbrown, Patti Keating Kahn voted against the measure.

UWM architecture professor Matt Jarosz and Alderman Robert Bauman weren’t present at the meeting. Bauman, who sits on the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee that will hear the appeal, will now to get make his voice heard on the matter. The property is located in Bauman’s council district.

The council has traditionally held a higher standard for designation than the commission. Most recently, the commission designated the Marcus Performing Arts Center as historic, but the Common Council, which is empowered to consider a broader set of factors than the historic commission, overruled the designation.

Craig Wiroll, executive director of the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance, backs the temporary designation. “This designation will give the public the opportunity to know about the potential loss of a building that could prove important for Milwaukee’s history,” said Wiroll on Monday. “This temporary designation also provides more time to make sure we’re making the right decision.” He said his board, on which McCarthy serves, had voted to back the temporary designation.

Connaughton was backed by attorney Bruce Block and historic research consultant John Vogel in opposition to the designation. “It becomes historically interesting, but not significant,” said Vogel of the commission staff’s 22-page report.

Len Connaughton, the athlete’s father and a veteran general contractor, said the foundation of the building is “rubble” and prohibits preservation efforts.

The 26-year-old Bucks guard, who has been with the team since the start of the 2018-19 season, acquired the property in March for $325,000 according to city records. His firm had applied for a raze permit for the property on October 8th.

New Building Plans

Pat Connaughton told the commission Monday he hopes to move into one of the units in the new building. He said he won’t be constructing a large new building to be afraid of. “The goal was to have it done by the end of the season,” added the guard, who hopes to play in the NBA Finals in June.

The new building would have a variety of unit sizes, owing in part to the sloped site, placing a fourth floor below grade from N. Milwaukee St. Two apartments will span two floors, a 1,476-square-foot unit and 3,132-square-foot unit. A third apartment will have one bedroom and 840 square feet of space.

The athletic shooting guard spent the first three seasons of his career in Portland, where his firm recently completed a four-unit project.

He’s also working on projects in South Bend, Indiana where he attended college at Notre Dame. His family is from the Boston area.

The Milwaukee project is being designed by Nathan Remitz of Patera according to city records.

How will the house be torn down? “We’re going to deconstruct the building,” said Len. “We will repurpose anything that can be.”

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