Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

A New Design Vision for Villard Avenue

UW-Milwaukee will lead design charette to envision future of commercial corridor.

By - Jan 15th, 2020 12:37 pm
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Former Villa Theater on W. Villard Ave. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Former Villa Theater on W. Villard Ave. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The Department of City Development (DCD) and Villard Avenue Business Improvement District #19 will partner on developing a vision for the future of up-to six catalytic sites along the commercial corridor.

The process, known as a design charette, is centered around community stakeholders developing a shared vision for each site. Participating design firms create renderings of conceptual projects. It will be the 13th time the city has hosted a charette in a Milwaukee neighborhood.

“We are hoping we can keep the momentum up on Villard behind the new Villard Commons,” said Villard Avenue business improvement district (BID) manager Angelique Sharpe of an apartment building that recently had a groundbreaking.

The Common Council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee unanimously endorsed appropriating $10,000 for the effort on Tuesday morning. The BID is required to provide $10,000 in matching funds.

“We think this will provide additional guidance for our current owners and potential entrepreneurs,” said Stephanie Harling. The Havenwoods Economic Development Corporation, led by Harling, provides staffing for the Villard Avenue BID.

The partners will work with UW-Milwaukee’s Community Design Solutions, led by professor Carolyn Esswein, to complete the charette.

The process drew high praise from Alderman Khalif Rainey and Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs. “Much of the development you now see along [Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.] and Bronzeville, although it may not be exactly what was envisioned by the charette, it was definitely inspired by and motivated by it,” said Coggs of the 2013 charette. “Sometimes people need a little push to see things differently than they traditionally had seen them.”

The study area would run along W. Villard Ave. from N. Teutonia Ave. to N. 60th St. according to DCD planning manager Vanessa Koster. That is larger than the business improvement district’s boundaries that run from N. 29th St., a block east of N. Teutonia Ave. and west to N. 42nd St.

Koster said the specific catalytic sites have yet to be selected.

The charette would cover an area represented by Council President, Ald. Ashanti Hamilton.

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Related Legislation: File 191415

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