Work Resuming On Explosion-Damaged River One
The damage will cost millions. The cause of explosion is still under investigation.
Following an unexplained explosion, work is moving forward on River One. The first phase of the $100 million mixed-use complex is nearing completion in Milwaukee’s Harbor District, but an explosion and resulting fire on the morning of December 12th caused millions of dollars in damage to the lower level of the parking garage. No one was injured.
The cause of the explosion remains under investigation according to general contractor Gilbane. The company is leading the general contracting on much of the complex, including the garage and eight-story office building, but Greenfire Management Services leads the construction of the apartment complex. The development’s owner, Michels Corp., is an infrastructure contractor, adding another experienced firm to the mix.
“Construction work is proceeding on the project and remedial work is being coordinated and expected to proceed shortly. The cause of the incident is under investigation,” said a Gilbane spokesperson in a statement to BizTimes reporter Alex Zank.
A city report shows the Department of Neighborhood Services estimated damages at $2,114,595 for the structure and $888,129.88 for associated property and fixtures. Looking at the site from the S. 1st St. bridge over the Kinnickinnic River, damaged support columns are visible in the parking structure. Multiple masonry walls have been blown away. The masonry wall on the second story of the structure is now angled, no longer in perfect alignment with its neighbors. A notable amount of brickwork encasing the columns and walls is also missing.
DNS inspector Michael Demski‘s report says the parking structure has suffered “structural failure,” particularly the northern edge with the visible damage. The slab underneath the apartment building, just east of the damaged columns, is also described as damaged.
The actual costs of repair are expected to differ from the estimate, according to Milwaukee Fire Department deputy chief Daniel Lipski. He told Zank that the department uses a different methodology to calculate the costs and relies on national averages.
The $49 million first phase of the development is planned to include the office building, 1,052-stall parking garage and riverwalk segment along the Kinnickinnic River, which wraps the west and north side of the project site. Architecture firm RINKA is leading the complex’s design.
Michels, which is headquartered in rural Brownsville just outside of Fond du Lac, will anchor the office building with its new civil infrastructure division. Two large staircases are visible through a bump-out in the glass facade. They connect the three floors at the top of the new building that Michels will occupy.
A second phase of development will build two attached apartment buildings, and is progressing on the east end of the site. Four floors of apartments rise above a floor filled with commercial space and the parking structure. A space for a restaurant is included on the river, while a cafe space is planned for the other corner.
A hotel and an additional office building are also planned. Tim Michels said in September 2019 that the company found an operating partner, but didn’t announce the company’s name. A limited liability company, known as Becher Hotel, is listed in city assessment records as the owner of one of the condominium units that forms the development site. The state Department of Financial Institutions does not have any available records for the hotel LLC, nor two of the six others. Each of the entities contains Becher, a reference to the property’s address at 218 W. Becher St., in its name.
December 24th Photos
December 16th Apartments & Parking Structure
December 16th Office Building
Rite-Hite Finds Its Footing
Foundation work is underway for Rite-Hite‘s new headquarters.
The company announced earlier this year it would relocate to the business park in Walker’s Point from Brown Deer. Rite-Hite designs and manufactures loading dock equipment, industrial doors, safety barriers, industrial fans and other products for warehouse operators. It wouldn’t do any manufacturing at the new campus, but plans to house approximately 300 employees involved in research, design, administration, sales and management.
Study Underway To Save More of Soldiers Home
The signature building at Soldiers Home, Old Main, will see new life in early 2021 as a home for homeless veterans. But some of the other notable buildings in the 90-acre complex, built following the Civil War, face an uncertain future.
Located at 5000 W. National Ave. near Miller Park, Soldiers Home has been the subject of a large-scale preservation effort led by the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance and National Trust for Historic Preservation. But a late 2018 request for proposals to redevelop three long-vacant buildings, Ward Memorial Hall, the Governor’s Mansion and the Chapel, didn’t find any qualified bidders.
MPA secured a $5,000 matching grant this fall from the National Trust to study the buildings. A team led by architecture firm Miller Dunwiddie with support from Allume Architects, Alexander Company, JP Cullen and Nissley Environmental Consultants, will study the viability of redeveloping the buildings and potential funding sources.
Gokhman Shares Vision for Bucca’s Site
“Most people just gloss over it,” said New Land director Tim Gokhman of a focus on improving the resident experience both inside and outside of the apartment. “We are really focused on how people interact with the buildings they spent so much time with.”
The company has had success with an issue others consider just “just industry jargon,” Gokham said. New Land first implemented its new model with Rhythm, a 140-unit apartment building at 1632 N. Water St.
City Offers Financial Deal to Taxpayers
Thousands of Milwaukeeans have long maintained a tradition of paying their property taxes in person. Lines at City Hall are often so long that special parking spaces and lines are created to accommodate the surge in check-wielding visitors.
But the COVID-19 pandemic has halted in-person payments. As a result, City Treasurer Spencer Coggs‘ office has created an incentive that could result in your payment paying for a meal, seeding a vacation fund or boosting that next home renovation project.
Through December 31st all credit card fees associated with property tax payments have been waived. The city normally charges a 2.75% fee, but property owners will be able to earn an estimated 1% or more in rewards if they pay via credit card and use the cash to pay off their bill.
State Home Sales Approach Record Territory
While the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has made 2020 a difficult year for many sectors of the economy, home sales in Wisconsin might hit an annual record.
While the market saw a sharp drop in the spring as economic activity slowed at the start of the pandemic, record-low mortgage rates propelled a rebound that began during the peak home-buying months of May through August and has continued through the end of the year.
Who Wants to Buy Klinger’s East?
The building and bar owners, Glen F. Klinger and Susan T. Klinger, have listed the property for sale with David Schneider of Doperalski Realty & Associates. “Start your own business plus have income from rentals. This could be your dream come true,” wrote Schneider in the property’s listing.
Milwaukee Ranks High for Construction Workers
Want to work in construction? There are few places better than Milwaukee to do so.
That’s according to an analysis by Next Insurance. The company ranked the city’s 52 largest cities based on seven factors including average salaries, cost of living, weather and open federal government contracts.
Compared to its peers, Milwaukee is second best, trailing only Kansas City. Its peer group is defined as “mid-sized cities” with a population of between 350,000 and 600,000.
Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs Introduces File to Spur Discussion of Assessments Process
Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs has introduced a communication file to allow Common Council discussion and review of the city’s property assessments process.
The communication file directs the Office of the Assessor to appear before a standing committee of the council to answer questions and provide information on the assessments process it uses to determine the assessed value of real estate in the City of Milwaukee.
“Quite frankly, most aldermanic offices have been receiving numerous calls and emails this week as property owners are preparing to arrange payment of their tax bills,” Alderwoman Coggs said. “While many of the contacts are complaints about the assessment increase and the amount of their bills, there are also a large number of people with questions about how their new assessment was calculated.”
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