More Apartments for Downer Avenue
New owner converting office space into 13 units.
The new owners of most of the Downer Avenue commercial corridor submitted plans to the city to convert a portion of one of the buildings to apartments.
An affiliate of Seattle-based Bridge33 Capital acquired the properties at 2551-2597 N. Downer Ave. and 2608-2650 N. Downer Ave. last spring for $11.25 million. Those addresses include buildings occupied by the Downer Theatre, Boswell Book Company, Cafe Hollander, Starbucks, Stone Creek Coffee and Pizza Man.
Addressed as 2577 N. Downer Ave., the space was most recently home to DeWan Dental Wellness. The Chancery restaurant was located on the first floor.
The apartments are being designed by Patera. Merchants Plat Builders will serve as the general contractor according to a building permit filed with the city.
The building, constructed in 1936, is locally historically protected as part of the North Downer Avenue Commercial District. But only exterior modifications require Historic Preservation Commission approval. Bridge33 could change the interior, and as long as the windows are untouched a special certificate of appropriateness wouldn’t be needed.
“Designed in a vaguely International Style of architecture, this was the last historic structure built within the district. The stark simplicity of the two-story brick block was a contrast to the period revival and Art Deco style commercial buildings that were built in the city during the 1930s. The street level storefronts have been remodeled, but the second story retains its original fenestration, a glazed brick string course and a limestone coping that tops off the parapet wall,” wrote the late Paul Jakubovich of the building in his 2001 report that established the district.
A decade ago a more controversial change for the building was planned by Joel Lee and New Land Enterprises. The structure was to gain up to nine floors as part of a residential condominium development. A revised plan had it becoming a hotel. Neither advanced.
Bridge33 also doesn’t own the parking garage on the east side of the street, a legacy of New Land and Lee’s earlier ambitions.
The smaller properties occupied by CVS, Nehring’s Sendik’s on Downer grocery store and Downer True Value Hardware are also owned by other investors.
If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real, independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits, all detailed here.