Jeramey Jannene
Plats and Parcels

Mandel Plans To Redevelop Former La Fuente Site

Apartment building is second project proposed for S. 5th St. in recent months.

By - Sep 7th, 2020 07:47 am
Conceptual rendering of building proposed for 603-645 S. 5th St. Rendering by JLA Architects.

Conceptual rendering of building proposed for 603-645 S. 5th St. Rendering by JLA Architects.

The Mandel Group is planning a large apartment complex for Walker’s Point.

The firm submitted a preliminary plan review request for a 144-unit apartment building at 603-645 S. 5th St. The site, much of which was long occupied by La Fuente restaurant, runs from W. Pierce St. to W. Bruce St.

Mandel, with designs from JLA Architects, would build a six-story building with one level of underground parking.

Mandel Group president Ian Martin said the firm is seeking confirmation that its plans for the width, height and density of the building align with zoning for the underlying parcels. “What the building itself actually looks like, we have a long way to go,” said Martin in an interview.

Plans submitted to the city call for 146 parking stalls spread over rear of the first floor and the entire lower level. A fitness center, yoga room, conference room and property management office would be included on the first floor in addition to apartments.

Above the first floor the building would have an S-shaped layout, which would create two courtyards to maximize the amount of natural light that gets to the center of the site. Rooftop decks would be included in each courtyard space.

A club room and rooftop plaza would be included on the sixth floor in addition to apartments.

The building would contain 32 studio, 52 one-bedroom, 50 two-bedroom and 10 three-bedroom units.

Martin said it was a deliberate decision to exclude first-floor commercial space from the building in favor of tenant amenities and residential units.

“There are a lot of storefronts, which is part of the appeal of the neighborhood,” said Martin. “We are very bullish on the area.”

Noting that newly-built space leases at a higher price than older buildings, Martin said the vision is to provide activation by increasing the number of people in the neighborhood.

Conceptual renderings from JLA show three different pitched roofs emerging from the top of the block-long building. A series of recesses are included on both sides of the facade to create space for balconies while other balconies protrude from the building.

The submission indicates that Mandel believes the project would not require a zoning change.

Mandel has had the site under contract for purchase since at least 2019. Catalyst Partners is serving as a partner on the project and Catalyst Construction would serve as the general contractor.

If all goes as planned, construction could start next spring and the development could open in summer 2022.

The site, formed by properties at 603 S. 5th St. 607 S. 5th St. and 625-645 S. 5th St., is owned by Jose G. Zarate, who owned and operated the former restaurant at the site and owns a number of other nearby properties.

One of the properties, 607 S. 5th St., contains a large mural of the singer Selena painted by Mauricio Ramirez on the side of a one-story warehouse building that dates back to 1977. Mandel’s submission includes multiple spots with planned murals.

A three-story building with eight residential units is located at the north end of the site and would be demolished.

City records indicate the former La Fuente complex dates back to 1890. The restaurant closed in 2017. It temporarily housed the Nomad Nacional in 2018, a bar centered around the World Cup.

The buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Walker’s Point Historic District, but are not locally historically protected.

Martin said the La Fuente building has a “nice facade” but the structure behind the building is made of cinder blocks and “there is nothing of note about it.” The cornice line displays “Zarate 2000,” a reference to one of the remodeling projects the building has endured.

The development site has an assessed value of $1,575,400 according to city records.

It’s the second project proposed for the street in recent months. Further south, New Land Enterprises is working to build Element, a second installment of its fast-leasing Quartet apartment building.

Site Photos


Floor Plans

A recap of the week’s real estate news…

The Couture Developer Applies For Federal Loan Guarantee

Barrett Lo Visionary Development has taken the next step in its efforts to develop a 44-story, $122 million apartment tower on Milwaukee’s lakefront.

The firm has reapplied for a federal loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to support The Couture. The guarantee would serve as insurance on the project’s largest loan.

The application is for a “direct-to-firm” commitment, which would allow Barrett Lo to skip the pre-approval process.

The firm previously received an invitation to apply for a firm commitment in November 2018, but was unable to raise the necessary equity to access the guarantee by a July 2019 deadline. A source familiar with the project said HUD increased the amount of equity that was required as part of the review.

Read the full article

Construction Underway on Largest New, Urban Manufacturing Plant in US

Construction is underway on Komatsu Mining’s new $285 million headquarters and manufacturing campus in Milwaukee’s Harbor District.

The plans call for a three-story, 176,000-square-foot office building, training center, museum and automation lab as well as a 430,000-square-foot, three-story manufacturing facility.

Located at the eastern end of E. Greenfield Ave. overlooking Milwaukee’s Inner Harbor, the complex will be known as South Harbor Campus. From it will emerge mining shovels, shipped in pieces, that weigh over three million tons and can lift 120 tons at a time.

Read the full article

Construction Begins On World’s Tallest Timber Tower

Construction equipment had begun appearing on the site and piles were being driven.

Now New Land Enterprises has made it official: construction is underway on what will be the tallest mass timber building in the world.

The 25-story apartment tower, to be known as Ascent, is being constructed at 700 E. Kilbourn Ave. in Milwaukee’s East Town neighborhood. First proposed in 2018, the tower will contain 259 high-end apartments when complete.

Read the full article

Mount Mary, Partners Hold Groundbreaking for Trinity Woods

A trinity of partners gathered Thursday to break ground on Trinity Woods, an intergenerational housing complex.

“It’s unlike anything anywhere else in the country in that it will bring seniors, students, religious sisters and children together in a vibrant facility,” said Mount Mary University president Christine Pharr.

The $45 million complex will provide housing for the sisters of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, including assisted living units, as well as housing for single mothers attending the university and their children. An early childhood education center is also planned for the complex, available to residents, staff and the community.

The development, expected to be completed in fall 2021, will be known as Trinity Woods, a reference to the adjacent, 10-acre woods, the Catholic faith’s holy trinity, and the project’s three partners – Mount Mary, the School Sisters of Notre Dame and Milwaukee Catholic Home.

Read the full article

Inside the KinetiK Apartments in Bay View

Much of my tour of KinetiK, the new 140-unit apartment building at the north end of Bay View, took place in the lobby.

A couple years ago that would have been a warning sign of someone trying to hide something. Now it represents the continued evolution of urban living as developers seek to differentiate their new buildings.

“The idea is to make lobbies not just lobbies,” says New Land Enterprises director Tim Gokhman. “You come in here, you want to stay.” All the evidence suggests Gokhman has successfully met that vision, beginning with the fact he was explaining this while sitting on a swing.

Read the full article

Public Museum, Betty Brinn to Share New Facility

Two of Milwaukee’s highest-profile cultural institutions are moving in together.

The Milwaukee Public Museum and Betty Brinn Children’s Museum are not merging, but both are looking for new homes and their respective boards have now okayed a proposal for leadership to explore putting those homes under the same roof.

“While the details of the alliance between MPM and BBCM remain to be ironed out, this marks the first critical step in what will be a years-long process to create a space where our community can enjoy two world-class museums under one roof,” said Ellen Censky, MPM President & CEO.

MPM has been pursuing a new home for almost five years and has narrowed it to a single downtown location, but during an interview Censky declined to say exactly where.

Read the full article

Tenants Union Protests Berrada Properties

Members of the Milwaukee Autonomous Tenants Union (MATU) picketed the headquarters for Berrada Properties Tuesday, one of the biggest landlords in the City of Milwaukee.

The company is owned by Youssef “Joe” Berrada, who has amassed thousands of rental properties in the city and around the country. His buildings are known for their trademark line of boulders placed along the front of the property, and for their high eviction rates. Berrada is likely the biggest evictor in the city. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported in 2018, that Berrada was behind one out of every 10 evictions in the city.

The COVID-19 pandemic knocked many people out of their jobs, imperiling their ability to pay their rent. The tenants union said their picket was an attempt to put public pressure on Berrada. The union wants him to stop all evictions during the pandemic. State Circuit Court records show that Berrada Properties has filed well over 100 evictions since July 27. It also wants Berrada to work with them and tenants to negotiate a payment, or payment plan, before evictions are filed.

They also slammed Berrada for the state of his rental properties and a track record of poor maintenance at the hundreds of buildings he owns. For this reason, the union also demands that Berrada keep rental units clean and make timely repairs.

Read the full article

Despite Pandemic, City Rents Increasing

A global pandemic coupled with a surge in unemployment should lead to declining rents, right?

That’s been true in some of the hottest and priciest rental markets in the United States, including San Francisco, New York, San Jose, Miami, Boston, Austin and Seattle. Rents there have fallen from 4.7 to 1.6 percent since March.

But rents in Milwaukee, excluding the suburbs, have increased over the same period. Rents are up 0.7 percent since March and 0.8 percent year-over-year.

That’s according to a new report by Apartment List, a property listing website.

Read the full article

Eviction Moratorium Is Short-Term Relief

A temporary nationwide moratorium on evictions offers some hope for renters desperate to avoid losing their homes, but more comprehensive, longer-term solutions are still needed, according to tenant advocates.

On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin disclosed during a congressional hearing that the agency order blocking evictions would be issued. The order, which comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), part of the Department of Health and Human Services, runs through Dec. 31. The order states an eviction ban will help ensure that people with COVID-19, or those who might be exposed to it, will be more easily able to isolate themselves to help curb the spread of the virus.

Renters with incomes of up to $99,000 for single people and $198,000 for couples filing jointly are eligible under the order, which is to be published on Friday, Sept. 4, and take effect immediately.

Read the full article

Buffalo Wild Wings Closing?

It’s looking like yet another business located in the heart of the Water Street entertainment district could close its doors for good by the end of this year. Buffalo Wild Wings at 1123 N. Water St. has not renewed its lease with Colliers International, the real estate company that owns the property, and will likely close or move operations to another location by the end of the year. A lease listing shows that the space will be available for rent by January 1, 2021.

An employee of Buffalo Wild Wings who chose to remain anonymous told Urban Milwaukee that they were made aware of the lease situation months ago, but haven’t been notified of a decision yet. They mentioned that there were talks of moving the business to a different location. Cory Sovine, who serves as the property’s leasing agent, declined to comment.

The four-story building that houses the 5,522 square-foot restaurant was built in 1909 and has a desirable proximity to Deer District, the MSOE campus and much of East Town. The restaurant space occupies the first floor of the building and includes basement storage and a 498-square-foot outdoor patio. The lease is a triple-net agreement — which covers insurance, taxes and maintenance — with a rate of $22 per square foot.

Read the full article

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One thought on “Plats and Parcels: Mandel Plans To Redevelop Former La Fuente Site”

  1. David Coles says:

    There is no good reason to demolish the eight-unit apartment building. That would be utterly wasteful. And when is Milwaukee going to stop requiring, nevermind allowing, such obscene amounts of car parking in new developments. This is just locking Milwaukee into car culture for another generation.

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