Historic Designation Could Block East Side Apartments
A seven-story 90 unit apartment complex versus two modest 1899 homes.
An apartment building proposed for the corner of E. North Ave. and N. Summit Ave. may need to be reconfigured if two houses on the site are designated as historic by the City of Milwaukee.
“Built in 1889, these buildings are similar in character to those included in the designation report for the North Point South [district],” wrote McCarthy in her nomination. That district, which includes a number of the city’s most valuable historic homes, is located to the east of N. Summit Ave. and overlooks Lake Michigan. Houses on the east side of the block are included, but the two proposed for demolition are not.
The subject houses are two-story, 1,662-square-foot structures. Both are wood-frame buildings.
“It seems likely that because some of these houses on the west are slightly more modest than the ones across the street that they may not have been included due to a bias toward designating larger houses and mansions,” wrote McCarthy. But she says the houses are all of the same period and part of the same subdivision, Glidden and Lockwood’s Addition.
Local historic designation would not prohibit the structure’s demolition, but it would require a certificate of appropriateness be issued for any exterior modifications (including demolition). In a handful of high-profile cases the Common Council has overruled the historic commission to grant a certificate or deny designation.
Wagner leads an investment group that purchased the properties after the proposal was first introduced in February 2020. A community meeting, hosted by area Alderman Nik Kovac, drew substantial opposition from area residents because of concerns about the then-undisclosed development group, building height, traffic and density.
A zoning change to enable the project as proposed is still required. JLA Architects is serving as the project architect.
McCarthy is a resident of the adjacent North Point North historic district. She did not file for historic designation of the northern-most properties in the development site, 2231 E. North Ave. and 2239 E. North Ave. Those two-story buildings were constructed in 1943.
For more on the proposed building, see our coverage from March.
Wagner did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.