National Block Apartments Will Have Event Venue, Basement Bar
Walker's Point building was once condemned, now another sign of rebirth of S. 5th St.
A 138-year-old Walker’s Point building is getting a new lease on life as a market-rate apartment building under a plan by developer Michael Morrison.
Having started construction in 2018, Morrison’s is finally approaching the finish line. When it does, there will be 12 apartments on the upper floors and an event venue on the first floor. The basement would contain a tavern connected with the event venue.
The cornice of the building gives its name as National Block, but it’s probably easier found by its address – 425 W. National Ave.
The three-story building was long used as a rooming house, but the prior owners faced a raze order from the city in 2016. Morrison, who relocated to the neighborhood in recent years, was able to save the building from the wrecking ball by purchasing it and introducing a plan to aggressively rebuild the structure.
Because it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Morrison was able to leverage federal and state historic preservation tax credits to finance the building’s redevelopment. City records indicate the structure was first constructed in 1885, but the bricks in the building’s facade spell out 1882.
Morrison leads home builder True Inc., which now lists 423 W. National Ave. as its official address. It was once based out of suburban Hartland, but now, home is a wood-frame building attached to the National Block building. This is his first large development in Milwaukee. But his firm is likely avoiding a number of headaches associated with scaling up an operation by serving as its own general contractor.
A Board of Zoning Appeals filing calls for a venue on the first floor to be operated by Saz’s Hospitality Group. The group operates two facilities, a catering facility and event venue, just to the east at the intersection at S. 2nd Street and W. Walker Street. The tavern going in the basement could be rented out on its own or with the event venue above, according to a permit request.
Future residents of the one and two-bedroom units will find transportation convenient. A Bublr Bikes dock is outside along S. 5th Street, a number of bus routes criss-cross the area and Morrison purchased a nearby surface parking lot along S. 4th Street for drivers.
Construction on the project began in 2018.
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