Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

The 1500s on Jefferson Street Okayed

City committee approves, but not before opponent sings six-verse rap as public testimony.

By - Jul 20th, 2021 05:04 pm
The 1540 office building and four townhomes form The 1500s development. Rendering by Design Manage Advise.

The 1540 office building and four townhomes form The 1500s development. Rendering by Design Manage Advise.

Josh Delaney‘s proposal to develop an office building and four townhomes on the 1500 block of N. Jefferson St. was unanimously approved by the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee Tuesday morning. But not before one project opponent sang an original song as public testimony to encourage green energy investments.

Known as The 1500s, the proposal includes a three-story office building (The 1540) and four townhomes along N. Jefferson St. between E. Pleasant St. and E. Lyon St. Delaney would live in one of the townhomes with his family and rent out the remaining homes for between $7,000 and $9,000 each per month.

Delaney’s umbrella firm SnackTime Capital would occupy the office building as well as his cannabidiol company, FABCBD. Both are currently based in St. Francis.

A zoning change is necessary to accommodate the office building, which would replace a two-story structure last used by a daycare. Parking for the office space will occur in a surface lot along the alleyway.

The four 3,700-square-foot townhomes could be built within the existing site zoning. They would rent for up to $10,000 per month. Included is an attached, two-car garage and a full backyard.

It’s the garages and associated driveways that are causing an issue for area Alderman Nik Kovac.

“We worked them over pretty good on ‘why don’t you put your garage in the back?'” he said. “The fundamental reason is because of the grade change they can’t get it attached.” The site slopes uphill away from the curb. And Delaney favors more yard space.

The zoning code allows Delaney to insert the curb cuts, all four of them. Kovac said given this is what the code allows, he is supporting the project.

“We should probably think harder, we are going to get more townhome proposals, about this curb cut issue,” said the alderman.

“Other cities across the country are grappling with this same situation,” said Department of City Development planning manager Sam Leichtling.

Kovac said residents are asking for townhomes instead of larger apartment buildings, but he is now seeing the curb cuts and loss of street parking as an unintended side effect. He referenced a similar situation occuring in Riverwest along E. Wright St.

When the project was before the City Plan Commission in June, Delaney and project architect Jordan Nelson of Design Manage Advise thanked DCD planner Greg Patin for helping to reconfigure the driveways to break up the driveways and add planters.

Community member Larry Hoffman, a member of the City-County Task Force on Climate and Economic Equity, called for green energy improvements to the buildings. He has consistently advocated for solar panels and geothermal heating and cooling systems to be included on new buildings requiring zoning changes, including Fiserv Forum, in addition to other energy-efficiency improvements. After telling a story about his unsuccessful lobbying to get Bucks president Peter Feigin to have solar panels added to the arena, he said he had a six-verse rap to share with the committee.

“We may win a basketball championship, but why don’t we protect our planetship,” said Hoffman in the only portion Urban Milwaukee was able to quickly transcribe.

“I really appreciate the rap,” said Alderman Jose G. Perez. “I suggest you reach out to Alderman [Khalif] Rainey for next year’s Hip Hop Week.” He then, less-glibly, thanked Hoffman for his advocacy.

The full council will consider the proposal at its July 27 meeting.


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One thought on “Eyes on Milwaukee: The 1500s on Jefferson Street Okayed”

  1. Trmott says:

    …. “rent out the remaining homes for between $7,000 and $9,000 each per month”. Rush over there and sign right up!

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