Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

31-Story Third Ward Tower Developer Applies For Construction Permits

Hines planning fall groundbreaking at 333 N. Water St.

By - Jul 6th, 2022 12:42 pm
333 N. Water St. proposal. Rendering by Solomon Cordwell Buenz.

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

A 31-story, 333-unit apartment building proposed for a “landmark” site in the Historic Third Ward appears headed for a groundbreaking.

Multiple permit requests are pending before the Department of Neighborhood Services to enable 333 North Water’s construction atop what is currently a surface parking lot. The final building, according to a new commercial construction permit, would stand 342 feet tall. Including the parking structure, planned at approximately 400 spaces, it would be a 542,285-square-foot building.

The riverside site is located kitty-corner from the Milwaukee Public Market. The new building would include a tower along E. St. Paul Ave. that emerges from a seven-story base. The first floor of the base would include 11,750 square feet of commercial space, including restaurant-targeted commercial space. The upper floors would be primarily the parking structure, with the top of the structure holding the tower and an outdoor amenity area for residents. The amenity area would include an outdoor swimming pool, while an indoor area in the tower would include a coworking space, two lounges and fitness center.

A new connection to the Milwaukee RiverWalk would stretch from the corner of N. Water St. and E. St. Paul Ave., under the edge of the tower, to the Milwaukee River. The existing riverwalk, currently disconnected from the property, would remain.

The Chicago office of Hines, a global real estate firm, is the developer behind the project. Chicago-based Solomon Cordwell Buenz is serving as the design firm. The developer and design firm were behind the 7Seventy7 apartment tower constructed for Northwestern Mutual and have used the market demand and design of that project as an inspiration for the Third Ward project.

The Third Ward Architectural Review Board approved the building’s design in March. At the time, project representatives said an August construction start was being targeted. A Hines representative told Urban Milwaukee Wednesday that a fall groundbreaking is currently planned. Based on that timeline, the building could be completed as early as 2024.

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.

There is no public subsidy proposed for the project, and the development team has credited The Hop streetcar system as part of the reason for selecting the site. Area Alderman Robert Bauman has championed that fact. “To those who say the streetcar doesn’t pay for itself, this is a $140 million investment that is a result of our investment in the streetcar itself,” the streetcar proponent said in September 2021. If the project were ultimately assessed at $100 million, it would net local governments more than $3 million in new property revenue annually. That includes more than $1 million to the City of Milwaukee or almost 25% of The Hop’s annual budget.

A 2005 neighborhood plan for the Third Ward identified the site as suited for a “landmark” building. The planning document includes images of taller, glassy buildings.

The formula-based permit fees associated with the project are expected to be substantial. On June 28, $23,042.88 was paid for a footing and foundation permit. According to the city’s online records system, that permit request is being reviewed. David Eckmann of Magnusson Klemencic Associates is the structural engineer that stamped the permit request. Project drawings show several dozen piles needing to be driven across the 0.79-acre site.

The Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development committee recommended approval Wednesday of a financing plan to pay for the 210-foot riverwalk connection and 195 feet of dockwall improvements. Adhering to the Department of City Development‘s standard formula for paying 70% of the costs for riverwalk extensions and 50% of the cost of dockwall repairs, the city would allocate $903,000 to the construction. In exchange for the funding, the developer needs to provide a permanent public easement to the riverwalk and connector segments. The funding would be paid back not through incremental property taxes on the new building, but from the tax incremental financing district created for the CityCenter at 735 N Water Street complex. That district has paid off all of its original expenses and, as allowed by state statute, is now being utilized to pay for other riverwalk improvements within a half-mile of its boundaries. The full council will review the proposal next week.

State real estate transfer records do not show that the underlying property has been sold. An affiliate of Interstate Parking Services acquired the lot in 2018 for $5.6 million.

Permits are also pending for the proposed Michigan Street Commons apartment building, part of the Iron District development. A representative of the development team told the zoning committee Wednesday that a groundbreaking is tentatively scheduled for August. Because that project is an affordable housing development, the city is providing $1.8 million, plus interest, from a tax incremental financing district to subsidize its development.

February 2022 Renderings

March 2022 Design Adjustments

August 2021 Renderings and Site Plan


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One thought on “Eyes on Milwaukee: 31-Story Third Ward Tower Developer Applies For Construction Permits”

  1. Duane says:

    All permits should be contingent on locating a Piggly Wiggly somewhere in the floor plan. et. Hope this issue is addressed.

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