Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

New House Hits Snag With Historic Commission

Home owners must come before commission a third time with revised plan in December.

By - Nov 8th, 2022 04:43 pm
Kaufmann-Maschek House proposal. Rendering by Ramsey Jones Architects.

Kaufmann-Maschek House proposal. Rendering by Ramsey Jones Architects.

When it comes to new houses and the Historic Preservation Commission, one should always expect things to take some time.

A proposed two-story, 2,997-square-foot house is headed for a third public meeting next month after the commission again delayed approval pending further design revisions.

Juli Kaufmann and Mike Maschek are attempting to build a new house on the East Side near Lake Michigan. It would be the third new house in a row along the 2400 block of N. Terrace Ave., part of the North Point North Historic District.

After an initial meeting in October was beset by a commission staffer going on an unexpected, extended leave, the couple and their architect Patrick Jones of Ramsey Jones Architects revised the plans. The reclaimed-Cream-City-brick facade was maintained, but a series of minor changes were made to railings, windows, a front porch and other design elements.

On Monday, they returned to praise from the commission staff and a recommendation for approval.

But the commissioners ultimately held the proposal citing a fundamental question of where the house itself sits. Neighbors raised concerns that it was set too far forward, blocking sunlight.

“I think it’s perfectly reasonable to adjust the setback,” said Ald. Robert Bauman, who made the motion to hold after not being present for the first meeting. “I think the neighbors make an excellent point.”

The house is proposed to be set back 24 feet from the curb, less than the 27.5 feet of developer Tim Gokhman‘s new house to the south and less than the 30.5 feet of the historic home to the north.

“Split the difference between the two,” said Bauman, offering to rescind his motion if a commitment was made to push the house back.

But no deal was struck. Nor was specific detail available on the setbacks of the other houses on the block. Commissioners, many of whom live nearby, staff members and the architect offered different assessments.

The architectural context in which the new houses sit is about as diverse as they come in Milwaukee, despite being in a historic district. At the rear of the site is a multi-level parking structure attached to the Water Tower Medical Commons building, which is part of Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital complex. Across N. Terrace Ave. is a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Immediately to the north is a German Renaissance-style brick house.

Also at issue was the fact that the commission was poised to overrule its staff and ask for further revisions.

Chair Patti Keating Kahn said the commission had already given design guidance. “And now we’re asking for more,” she said, expressing reluctance.

“Exactly. That’s the process,” said Bauman. He said it meant a three-week delay for something that was expected to last more than 70 years. “This is a very permanent structure. You do it once, you do it right.”

“I think we are going down a path of complication if we hold the thing over,” said UWM architecture professor Matt Jarosz.

“This is not a subjective question,” said Bauman, pushing for specific details on the setbacks of the various houses.

Jarosz ultimately amended Bauman’s motion, adding a specific list of items requested including the site plan, detailed window plans and a handful of other design considerations.

“Those are the specific things we are going to talk about, nothing more,” said Keating Kahn.

The commission next meets on Dec. 5.

The new house would join two nearly finished houses for New Land Enterprises business partners Gokhman and Ann Shuk and their families. Those newly built houses went through an extensive approval process dating back to 2018 as neighbors, with the support of then-alderman Nik Kovac, petitioned for the vacant site to be included in the North Point North Historic District. The neighbors claimed the site was always intended to be added to the district as part of the early 2000s expansion agreement with Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital. Gokhman and architect Jason Korb first needed to wait for the district to be expanded, then work with the commission on the design of the houses.

Kaufmann would relocate to the Terrace Avenue house from one she built in recent years in Riverwest. The developer has led a number of unconventional, but impactful projects in the city, including the Dubbel Dutch hotel, Sherman Phoenix Marketplace, Cream City Hostel building and Clock Shadow Building. Her development firm is known as Fix Development. She’s also helped launch a number of nonprofits, including Fund Milwaukee and Bublr Bikes.

Revised Renderings

Kaufmann-Maschek October Renderings

September Photos

Shuk House Renderings

Gokhman House Renderings

Pre-Construction Photos

2 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: New House Hits Snag With Historic Commission”

  1. mkeumkenews09 says:

    The Historic Preservation Commission continues to be a puppet for the rich and powerful in Milwaukee.

  2. dmkrueger2 says:

    All houses must look-alike? Really, that’s what the goal is?

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