Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Third Ward Board Approves New Tower

Design approval for 31-story, 333-unit building with retail space facing river and outdoor patio.

By - Mar 16th, 2022 03:22 pm
Some of the revisions to the 333 N. Water St. project. Rendering by Solomon Cordwell Buenz.

Some of the revisions to the 333 N. Water St. project. Rendering by Solomon Cordwell Buenz.

The Historic Third Ward Architectural Review Board gave final approval Wednesday to a plan to construct a 31-story apartment tower at the intersection of N. Water St. and E. St. Paul Ave.

The building, proposed by international development firm Hines Acquisitions, would replace a surface parking lot with a high-end apartment building. The number of units in the building matches the 0.79-acre site’s current address, 333 N. Water St.

After first securing approval in 2021 for the building, Hines had come back to the board in February with a building that was wider and a floor shorter. The changes, which included increasing the number of units, were a response to the challenges of growing construction costs and market demand.

The design review board granted conceptual approval to the revised project, but required the development team to reappear to address 10 issues, including the positioning of certain balconies, the design of an attached parking structure and the materials that would be used on the facade.

Architect Devon Patterson, of Chicago-based Solomon Cordwell Buenz, walked the board through the revisions, which included a number of subtle changes. Metal panels on the facade of the garage were extended another foot south to reduce the perception of a “blank wall,” the amount of glass on the tower portion of the first floor was expanded and more depth was given to metal caps on the building’s columns.

The eighth-floor resident amenity floor, to include a swimming pool atop the parking structure, will now include the uplighting of the fading ghost sign on the adjacent Renaissance Building.

“I think the improvements look really great,” said board member Patti Keating Kahn.

One solution prompted by a board suggestion, to restore the originally planned balconies on the first couple of floors, was presented, but quickly rejected.

“It was a nice gesture, but it just didn’t seem like there was enough of them to be impactful,” said Patterson.

“I agree, it looks odd,” said board chair Alderman Robert Bauman.

The building, once lined with corner balconies, was expanded by removing the balconies. A large, shared balcony remains on the north side of the amenity floor.

Multiple commercial stalls remain on the first floor. A 5,120-square-foot commercial space would be located along the riverwalk, with an outdoor patio. It would be connected to a 1,760-square-foot space at the tower’s northeast corner, facing the Milwaukee Public Market. A 4,870-square-foot, street-facing space would be located at the southeastern corner of the building.

The board approved the design, with a handful of small conditions.

The development team will still need to coordinate with the Department of Public Works to coordinate the curb cuts along N. Water St. to access the parking structure and loading dock and other sidewalk configuration issues. It will also need to work with board staffer Matt Jarosz and the Department of City Development on lighting and a riverwalk fence.

Hines is targeting an August construction start, which is expected to remove a south-bound travel lane from N. Water St. for at least 18 months.

“This is a tough site to build on,” said DCD strategic development manager Greg Patin. “Even your construction office is going to be kind of tough.”

The contracting teams building The Couture and Ascent are able to rely on vacant sites across the street from the development sites. Hines and SCB also served as the development team for Northwestern Mutual on the 7Seventy7 luxury apartment tower, which also leveraged a vacant site. They won’t have that luxury this time.

“It will be a good way to see if we really need that wide of a street,” said an off-camera meeting attendee of the four-lane road.

A utility project is underway a few blocks to the north that has closed at least one lane of the street for multiple blocks over a span of many months. The traffic impacts have been mixed, with backups that last for a stop-light cycle when a bus has to pick up passengers without being able to pull over.

Hines’ website says that the company has 171 developments currently underway and has redeveloped or acquired 492 million square feet of real estate. It currently owns 634 properties totaling 243 million square feet as part of a $83.6 billion portfolio of assets under management.

Hines will need to close on the purchase of the site from an affiliate of Interstate Parking Services, which acquired the lot in 2018 for $5.6 million.

No public subsidy for the building has been proposed.

Revised Renderings

March 2022 Designs

August 2021 Renderings and Site Plan


One thought on “Eyes on Milwaukee: Third Ward Board Approves New Tower”

  1. Polaris says:

    Some good updates. Lighting for the ghost sign next door is a nice touch.

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