251 Apartments Planned for Buca’s Site
New Land will build nine-story apartment complex on sloped site at 1237 N. Van Buren St.
The 1.25-acre property, best known for one-time tenant Buca di Beppo restaurant, slopes down to the west. As a result, the western facade of the building, along N. Jackson St. and The Hop streetcar line, would present as nine stories, while the larger side along N. Van Buren St. would only be eight stories tall.
A total of 302 interior parking spaces would form a three-story base for the building. Townhomes would line the N. Van Buren St. facade alongside the lobby and commercial space.
But the base of the building facing north would be windowless, a result of it being built to the lot line and overlooking a privately-owned parking lot. If the city hadn’t vacated E. Knapp St. and turned it over to private ownership, it too could have townhomes.
The southwest corner of the property would wrap the privately-owned USPS post office.
Korb + Associates Architects is designing the building. Elements of recent New Land buildings are visible in the design, including a recessed first floor similar to KinetiK which creates a covered patio for the commercial tenant. Also the massing of the apartments and balcony structure is similar to that of Rhythm.
The developer doesn’t think the new building will compete with the tower the firm is building a block south. Ascent, slated to be the tallest mass timber building in the world, is now starting to rise. The 25-story tower will rent for a much higher price per square foot and compete with other luxury offerings, like 7Seventy7.
The one-story building at the site, home of Buca di Beppo until 2017 and a series of athletic clubs, would be demolished.
New Land has a contract to purchase the property. It signed the deal with the site’s prior owner, Elite Sports Club, but then Johnny Vassallo stepped in to buy the site in 2020. If New Land doesn’t advance its deal, Vassallo said he would pursue his own development. Vassallo recently dropped plans to build a 25-story tower in Wauwatosa after encountering resistance.
The Common Council would also need to approve a zoning change for the site.
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.