Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Plan Commission Okays Third Ward Tower

"Magnificent building,' says one commissioner. Apartments will be among city's most expensive.

By - Aug 23rd, 2021 05:21 pm
333 N. Water St. proposal. Rendering by Solomon Cordwell Buenz.

333 N. Water St. proposal. Rendering by Solomon Cordwell Buenz.

A national developer believes its proposed Historic Third Ward building could become a landmark on the city’s skyline.

Hines Acquisitions is proposing a 32-story, 300-unit luxury apartment tower at 333 N. Water St. The site, located kitty-corner from the Milwaukee Public Market, is currently a 0.79-acre, riverfront parking lot.

“We do think this is going to become a very memorable building as you come into Milwaukee,” said project architect Devon Patterson of Solomon Cordwell Buenz to members of the City Plan Commission Monday afternoon.

The commission unanimously recommended approval of a zoning change for the $140 million project, backing an earlier approval from the Historic Third Ward Architectural Review Board.

The plans calls for a 365-foot-tall apartment tower with an attached parking structure. A resident amenity deck, with outdoor pool, would be built atop the garage. The adjoining eighth floor of the tower would be a resident amenity level with fitness center, lounge, game room, party room and co-working space.

It would be the tallest building in the neighborhood and one of the tallest residential buildings in the state.

A 2005 neighborhood plan for the Third Ward identified the site as a suited for a “landmark” building. “It was a very intentional decision to include sites that specifically included this scale of building,” said area Alderman and Third Ward Architectural Review Board Chair Robert Bauman.

“I think the final product is a first-class product,” said Bauman. The architectural review board led the development team through a series of revisions to the proposal.

The commission also had glowing praise for the building.

“I want to commend the development team for taking a fairly difficult site and coming up with a fairly brilliant solution,” said Commissioner Allyson Nemec, an architect who is the commission’s most vocal design critic.

“You guys did a really great, great job pulling this together,” said Commissioner Catrina Crane.

“It is a magnificent building and I believe that it will serve to be an iconic gateway building,” said Commissioner Stephanie Bloomingdale.

The residences would be among the most expensive in the city. Hines senior managing director Tom D’Arcy said the apartments would lease for approximately $3 per square foot (a 1,000-square-foot unit would be $3,000 per month). “These will be luxury units,” he said.

“We are obviously acutely aware of The Couture and the project to the north that is under construction now,” said D’Arcy of the marketplace. The unnamed northern project is Ascent, which will be the tallest mass timber building in the world.

D’Arcy and Patterson, on behalf of Northwestern Mutual, led the project team that developed the 7Seventy7 luxury apartment tower. The insurance company also uses the building’s base for employee parking, an arrangement that would be emulated in the Third Ward.

The parking structure, with approximately 370 spaces under its current layout, would be leased during the day to the current users of the parking lot. That includes tenants of the adjoining Renaissance on Water building, 309 N. Water St.

“We are counting on, in our underwriting, providing as many daily or transient parking spaces as we can,” said D’Arcy.

Another group of parking users would be the building’s own commercial tenants.

A 5,120-square-foot commercial space would be located along the existing riverwalk, with a large outdoor patio suited for a restaurant. It would be connected to a 1,760-square-foot space at the tower’s northeast corner, facing the public market. A 4,870-square-foot street-facing space would be located at the southeastern corner of the building. Floor-to-ceiling, first-floor windows would measure 18 feet on the street-facing facade and 23 feet on the river facade.

“We wanted something that’s going to add vitality to the street front and the river,” said Patterson about the amount of first-floor commercial space.
A new, public riverwalk connection would run from the corner of N. Water St. and E. St. Paul Ave. down to the existing riverwalk. A bridge would connect the building to the riverwalk, which is not currently attached to land as it passes the property.

The Common Council will also need to approve the zoning change. A riverwalk zoning overlay zone change was approved by the commission and is not subject to council approval.

Construction on the project could begin in May. Hines is not seeking public financing.

Renderings and Site Plan

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2 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: Plan Commission Okays Third Ward Tower”

  1. Jeffjay60 says:

    All I wanted was a mural on the building next door. I guess this will be okay.

  2. NieWiederKrieg says:

    This tower is going to cast a large, dark, ugly looking shadow.

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