Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

11-Story Hotel Proposed for Brady and Farwell

New building would be only hotel on the city's East Side.

By - Jan 9th, 2023 04:38 pm
1709-1723 N. Farwell Ave. Photo taken Oct. 7, 2022 by Dave Reid.

1709-1723 N. Farwell Ave. Photo taken Oct. 7, 2022 by Dave Reid.

The city’s East Side could gain a transformative, 11-story hotel under a proposal from developers Michael Klein and Jeno Cataldo.

The hotel would rise on a triangular lot located at the intersection of E. Brady St., N. Farwell Ave. and N. Cambridge Ave. It would include a first-floor restaurant and bar, and a rooftop event space.

A zoning change is required to enable its development. A request is pending before the Department of City Development to change the zoning, with Common Council approval required.

Architecture firm Kahler Slater is designing the project.

Renderings of the proposal and additional details were not immediately available.

The Lower East Side hotel would be the only one on the entire East Side, with the nearest competing operation located approximately a mile south. Beyond the walkable neighborhood, a number of nearby amenities could generate business for the hotel including numerous event venues, Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital and lakefront and street festivals.

An investment group, known as 1709 Farwell PropCo LLC, acquired the parcel in July for $1.53 million. It was previously owned by Rossf LLC, an entity affiliated with Colorado resident Douglas Halvorsen.

A two-story building on the 18,179-square-foot site would be demolished. The building, addressed as 1709-1723 N. Farwell Ave., is known as “Farwell Point.” It was constructed in 1987.

Mega Media Xchange, located on the second floor, is the lone tenant in the 12,000-square-foot building. The property long housed a FedEx Office store, but the business relocated to N. Prospect Ave. last year.

It is located within the council district of newly-elected alderman Jonathan Brostoff.

“A hotel at the entrance of Brady would bring people from all over to this wonderful neighborhood, very exciting stuff,” said Brostoff via text message. “The timing is also great because we’ve been working hard to bring more daytime businesses to Brady. I can’t think of anything more symbiotic, this project would be a shot in the arm for those efforts.”

A community meeting to discuss the proposal is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Jan. 23 at Dorsia.

The hotel proposal, according to sources familiar with the project, involves developing a parking structure on a vacant lot owned by Saint John’s on the Lake.

The senior living community operator demolished a three-story, midcentury office building at 1744 N. Farwell Ave. in 2021 in hopes of using the 22,600-square-foot lot for employee parking. But it was unable to secure a zoning variance to use the property solely as a surface parking lot.

The new proposal would allow Saint John’s employees, who work a block east on N. Prospect Ave., to park in the structure alongside hotel guests.

Klein and Cataldo are no strangers to the neighborhood. Klein Development previously developed The Easton, a 96-unit apartment building just south of E. Brady St. on the 1600 block of N. Franklin Pl. It was sold in 2021. Klein also developed a 55-unit complex, The East Sider, at 2900 N. Oakland Ave. Cataldo was an investor in both projects.

The Cataldo family is a Brady Street mainstay, owning Jo-Cat’s Pub and several other properties. Jeno also owns and operates Saint Bibiana and Dorsia, both bar-restaurant establishments, on Brady Street.

A three-story, triangular building previously occupied the hotel site. Frank Crivello demolished the structure in the 1980s as part of a shopping center development that also included developing the strip mall, 1414-1438 E. Brady St., now anchored by Walgreens.

The site is not located within the Brady Street Historic District, and, as such, will not require Historic Preservation Commission review.

Klein did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the project.

Site Photos


Released after initial publication

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15 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: 11-Story Hotel Proposed for Brady and Farwell”

  1. Keith Prochnow says:

    Fantastic! That ugly subrban-style building must go! May the damage done by Frank Crivello be further eradicated!

  2. DAGDAG says:

    Any chance that they would reconsider and put it where the WALGREENS is? What were they thinking when they built THAT disaster–also in the late 1980’s I think? Those buildings look like they could house farm animals…and a bulldozer would be a great improvement.

  3. tornado75 says:

    boo hiss. i disagree jonathan, we do not need to bring more people to brady street. that’s number one and if we do bring more people to brady, how about affordable housing; where people are invested in the neighborhood that’s number two. and for number three, who wants an 11 story hotel in on a street that doesn’t have very tall buildings. boo hiss on hotel that serve only a few people.

  4. Keith Prochnow says:

    Don’t be silly, Tornado. Within three blocks of that site, ro the north, are four buildings eleven stories or taller. I live in one, The Sterling. Then to the south and east are eight buildings taller than eleven stories. This is the City, where tall buildings belong. You’re right about that god-forsaken Walgreen’s srip, though. Take it down! Built by the same guy as the triangle building in question, Frank Crivello. His attitude was, “Everyone’s moving to the suburbs (everyone wasn’t), let’s build stuff that looks like what they’re moving to!”

  5. tornado75 says:

    that’s true. i don’t quite notice their height even though i walk be there all the time. for me, those buildings north and south are not staring one in the face. an 11 story hotel on the 5 points corner is doing more than that. plus i’ll ride the affordable housing hobby horse forever.

  6. Polaris says:

    Yes, build the hotel. And, yes, build affordable housing.

    Ack! Whenever I hear “Frank Crivello” I immediately think of the old local jingle, “Mike Crivello’s world is the wonderful world of ca-am-ras!” 🙂

  7. Polaris says:

    Looks like the Business Times is the first to break with a rendering. A nice “gateway to the Upper East Side” concept!

  8. Keith Prochnow says:

    That’s a different Crivello, but it continues to be a “sticky” jingle! 😉

  9. Chris Rute says:

    A building of this scale needs to be sensitively designed to fit the context of the smaller scale buildings through effective use of materials and articulation of the facade. The pedestrian experience at street level is a crucial component to be considered.

  10. Keith Prochnow says:

    By now you have all read about New Land’s proposed 25-story buiding about two blocks south of this hotel on Farwell Ave.? It’s in Urban Milwaukee, of course. Isn’t it about time to try again to turn Farwell and Prospect into two-way streets? Perhaps Ald. Brostoff will have more success with certain Prospect Ave. residents than Ald. D’Amato did. Or ignore them. More traffic requires calming, which is already way overdue. It is time for the East Side Freeway to be retired in favor of two-way streets.

  11. Marty Ellenbecker says:

    Oh good! Another bull in the china shop of treasures
    that make the East Side what it is.

    Remember that most hotel guests will be in town with pre-planned agendas
    that will seldom include significant interaction with the neighborhood.
    Population and traffic to be added is transient.
    They may want breakfast in the hotel or maybe the neighborhood, – lunch
    likely to be determined by business elsewhere in town, dinner – location likely to be determined by their host(s).
    Group reservations in restaurants nearby are a possibility, though.

    Off-site parking to the south, but restaurant in 1st floor South end?
    INSIDE North end is the best place for desk/taxi stand/ synergy,
    and to keep taxis out of neighbors’ hair.

    Hotel / restaurant / guest’s deliveries, (and courtesy vans?) will increase traffic and decrease parking in an already congested 5-way intersection.

    Hotel spending in the area likely to be lower than overall revenues elbowed out.

    Fate of bus stops?

    Is this project being built for tax revenue, or to enhance the area?

    Repeat – the population and traffic added is transient.

    Let’s have a look at Plan B.

  12. Mdamat says:

    The East Side is back!!!! Thanks to Alderman Brostoff!!
    Not only is the height of this building entirely appropriate for the area, (there is a 20 story building 1 block away on Prospect and Brady, an 18 story building on Cambridge and 2 buildings of similar height on the 1800 block of Farwell) it creates a unique building shape on a key East Side intersection. It will become a city icon. More people on the street is a good thing, not a bad thing. It acts as a passive deterrent to crime, increases use of transit, slows traffic and increases local commerce. Everything about this proposal is great. ( even glad they figure out the parking off-site. Hotels actually don’t require much parking as most guests arrive by taxi/ride share/public transportation). I do hope that the new parking structure being built at Farwell and Royal has first floor commercial. That is a must.
    The missing piece is being able to use the private value of this building for the public good. We were able to create our Riverwalk, streetcar, Commerce Street, Burns Commons and many other public amenities through the use of Tax Incremental Financing. That tool must be used here and at the newly proposed 25 story building on Farwell. Not for the benefit of private developers, but for the improvement of quality of life infrastructure for area residents, families and businesses. Presently, Van Buren Street will be reconstructed with this tool as will Zilman Park in Bay View. The lower East Side should demand nothing less. Without taking advantage of tools like TIF, the East Side will never secure city tax levy funds to make the improvements we need, like two-way traffic on Prospect and Farwell, traffic calming throughout the neighborhood and improved public space. TIF can even be used to spur affordable housing projects in the immediate area.
    While our Alderman is fighting for this, some at City Hall don’t agree. I would encourage all of you who believe that private development should include direct benefits to the surrounding neighborhood to call the Mayor’s office and the Department of City Development and ask them to maximize the tools available in our neighborhood to improve the quality of life for all Milwaukeeans.
    Thank you Alderman Brostoff !!

  13. Marty Ellenbecker says:

    Starting with the words “I do hope”, I agree with Mdamat, as long as the numbers produce a good scenario.

    I’d love to be wrong about my predictions and concerns, but I’ve lived in Milwaukee too many decades to be complacent. I fell in love with living on the Eastside (for a year in 1970). Always missed it until a few years ago when I moved back.

    Regarding the nearby towers,
    some are good, some are mixed blessings
    visually or logistically.

  14. tornado75 says:

    the tall buildings, towers or dare we say skyscrapers, are not on brady street proper. they do not detract from brady street. we need another hotel like we need a hole in our heads. have you been on brady street on friday and saturday nights or on festival nights????? you think we need more people than that????

  15. Marty Ellenbecker says:

    The effects on daytime quality of life and viability of businesses is what concerns me most.

    In the (annual?) Most Livable Cities ratings, one of the main considerations is “absence of friction”.

    How much time, planning, money, travel and effort are required to do or get things one needs or wants?

    More details are in my January 11 posting.

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