Jeramey Jannene
Friday Photos

Nova Rises Along Van Buren

New apartment building will eventually rise eight stories over busy downtown street.

By - May 20th, 2022 05:04 pm
Construction of Nova. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Construction of Nova. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

A new apartment building is taking shape at a busy downtown intersection.

New Land Enterprises is developing Nova, a nine-story, 251-unit building at 1237 N. Van Buren St.

Catalyst Construction is leading the general contracting, which currently involves delivery and installation of concrete pieces the size of semi-trailers. The columns and beams will form the building’s parking podium with a steel structure rising above.

The L-shaped building will run from N. Jackson St. to N. Van Buren St. with a two-story commercial space designed for a cafe at the corner of N. Van Buren St. and E. Juneau Ave. Parking will be included in the building’s lower levels. An outdoor pool will be included atop the 300-stall parking pedestal.

Given that the western end of the property slopes downward toward N. Jackson St. and the adjacent streetcar station, from that western point the building will appear as nine stories. From the corner of N. Van Buren St. and E. Juneau Ave. it will appear as an eight-story building.

The building’s design, led by Korb + Associates Architects, will include a number of New Land trademarks. The club room will be merged with the lobby, creating a space that isn’t just a place to pass through. An emphasis will be placed on biophilia, the integration of nature, as well as the concept of play. The firm’s KinetiK building in Bay View has swings in the lobby, as well as different little nooks for people to use laptops or hang out with friends.

Nova is not designed to compete with the tower New Land is building two blocks south called Ascent. That 25-story development will be the tallest mass-timber building in the world and is aimed at the high end of the rental marketplace. Nova is intended to use economies of scale to deliver a desirable number of amenities, including the pool, while keeping a relatively low price point.

The Nova site was long known for its former tenant: a Buca di Beppo restaurant. But the restaurant closed in 2017, and the attached gym was already vacant.

An affiliate of New Land acquired the 1.3-acre property in April from a limited liability company controlled by Johnny Vassallo for $2.3 million. Vassallo had acquired the property in October 2020 for $2.1 million from an affiliate of Elite Sports Club while New Land already had a contract in place to purchase the property in 2021.

The adjacent United States Postal Service building, 606 E. Juneau Ave, was sold in August for $3.74 million. Mbogo Properties and an affiliate of Location Finders International jointly acquired the 38,193-square-foot, one-story building from an entity owned by the Marcus family. The USPS lease goes through 2025.

The Marcus family owned the post office structure for decades and attempted to delay Nova’s approval. But New Land managing director Tim Gokhman said his firm had previously shared its plans with Marcus representatives and reached out other times. “We have been in contact with [Marcus] since August of last year (2020),” he said. The City Plan Commission, nor the Common Council, delayed the project.

In addition to Ascent, New Land is also putting the finishing touches on Element, a six-story apartment building in Walker’s Point. Gokhman reported earlier this month that the building is already almost entirely leased.



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