Jeramey Jannene
Friday Photos

321 Jefferson Nears Completion

Electrically-charged building nears completion in Historic Third Ward.

By - Jun 4th, 2021 09:33 pm
321 Jefferson under construction. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

321 Jefferson under construction. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

While a proposed 32-story apartment tower for the Historic Third Ward has received plenty of attention in the past few weeks, you have to go a few blocks east on St. Paul Avenue to find actual new housing taking shape.

Joseph Property Development‘s 321 Jefferson apartment complex is on track to be completed later this summer. The seven-story, 60-unit building is billed as luxury housing with floor plans ranging from an 821-square-foot, one-bedroom layout to a 1,945-square-foot, two-bedroom, 2.5-bath layout spread over two floors. A variety of one, two and three bedroom floor plans are available.

We’ve previously referred to the building as the “Electric Apartments” a nod to a unique feature in its base – an electrical substation. Juneau Substation, as We Energies refers to it, is a 30-foot-tall, concrete-encased structure located in the base of the building. Contractor CG Schmidt spent over a year constructing the substructure.

The housing-substation combination isn’t unheard of on a national scale. Robert Joseph told the Historic Third Ward Architectural Review Board in April 2018 that he knew of 29 of them, largely in places where real estate is more expensive like Chicago and San Francisco.

It’s a first-of-its-kind development for Milwaukee. And now that the building is nearing the finish line and pre-leasing has started, it’s a feature that you have to know to look for.

A 76-space parking garage and a double-height commercial storefront wrap the substation, four floors of apartments rise above it. The full building rises 85 feet above ground level.

New tenants will find pretty standard amenity offerings for a new high-end building: a fitness center, club room, outdoor deck and overnight guest suite. But the location is a key a selling point. It’s two blocks from the Milwaukee Public Market and three blocks from the US Bank Center.

The new building replaces a surface parking lot.

Joseph is leading the general contracting in house. RINKA is leading the building’s design.

The partnership between RINKA and Joseph is the third for the two firms. The first was a six-story apartment building on N. Prospect Ave. known as The Contour. And just a few blocks west of the substation site, the developer converted a warehouse at 322 N. Broadway into offices with first-floor retail. Joseph has completed a number of Third Ward projects.

The partners are exploring a development at the southeast corner of S. 1st St. and W. Pittsburgh Ave.

Joseph is also redeveloping a warehouse in Walker’s Point. Built in 1873 and billed, likely with a fair amount of hyperbole, as the largest hardware store in the world, the building has the hull of a wrecked ship underneath it.

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