New Apartment Complex For Displaced LGBTQ+ Young Adults
Courage MKE will be located on South Side. Plus: Recap of week's real estate news.
Courage MKE will soon offer apartments to LGBTQ+ young adults who are homeless or have aged out of the social welfare system.
The nonprofit announced Thursday it purchased the property at 2030 W. National Ave. and will rebrand the building as C2 Apartments. The 501(c)(3) organization will rehabilitate the two-story building into a home for seven young adults that is expected to open in late 2023. The new facility will expand the organization’s housing offerings beyond just displaced youth.
The nonprofit opened its Courage House, 1544 S. 6th St., in 2019. It was the first home in the state dedicated to displaced LGBTQ+ children. In 2022, the organization was certified as a qualified residential treatment program by the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families.
“We stand by our belief that these young adults must continue to be in an inclusive and safe environment that allows them to be their authentic selves as they work toward preparing for adulthood on their own,” said executive director Brad Schlaikowski in a statement.
The organization is being supported by the Ali Forney Center, the country’s largest organization dedicated to serving homeless LGBTQ+ youth, via its technical assistance mentorship program.
The C2 Apartments building was previously home to the administrative offices of the Walker’s Point Youth and Family Center. The nonprofit had owned the building for 31 years before selling it for $65,000 in January 2020 to Eno and Epifania Medina. City assessment records indicate the building was constructed in 1924. Under its new owners, the building was given signage denoting it as “Clark Square Central.” The building is located in the Clarke Square neighborhood.
Donations to help furnish the new building are being accepted at give.couragemke.org. A press conference to formally announce the plan is scheduled for Monday morning.
St. Augustine’s New Elementary School Quickly Rising
A new elementary school is taking shape on Milwaukee’s South Side.
St. Augustine Preparatory Academy, a private choice school created by Gus Ramirez, is constructing a $49 million school across the street from its first building at S. 6th St. and W. Harrison Ave. The three-story, 123,000-square-foot elementary school will add capacity for 900 students. It joins a 225,000-square-foot building completed in 2017.
When complete later this year, the two buildings will have a combined K4 through 12th grade capacity of 2,400 students. It will be the largest single-campus school in the city.
When it was announced in 2019, the new building was originally only to fill part of the block bounded by W. Arthur Ave., W. Harrison Ave., S. 5th St. and S. 5th Pl. But the building was expanded following the acquisition of more property. It will include a 700-seat theater, full-sized gymnasium, classrooms, special education spaces, a small gym, rooftop garden and playground.
Across Wisconsin, Zoning Codes Are Increasing Housing Costs
Wisconsin’s housing shortage is expected to worsen by the end of the decade, and outdated zoning codes could make it harder for municipalities to address the issue.
A new report from Forward Analytics, the research arm of the Wisconsin Counties Association, found the state needs to build at least 140,000 housing units by 2030 to keep up with current demand. If Wisconsin hopes to increase its working-age population by the end of the decade, the number of housing units needed jumps to 227,000.
The report said the number of baby boomers retiring and remaining in their homes long after retirement is expected to exacerbate Wisconsin’s housing shortage, making it difficult for younger workers to find affordable housing.
As a result, Forward Analytics Director Dale Knapp said more young people are living with their parents longer than previous generations.
Oil Tank Lawsuits Could Cost Milwaukee More Than $8 Million
The City of Milwaukee is headed for a courtroom battle with two major oil companies. More than $8 million is on the line, and approximately $1 million will get added to the total for each additional year the lawsuit continues.
The case centers on the city’s assessments of several oil terminals located along N. 107th St. and W. County Line Rd., an area on the city’s far northwest side known as the Granville Terminal Complex. The tank farm is the only hub in the Milwaukee area for gasoline and diesel distribution.
U.S. Venture, Inc. sued the city in 2016 over its 2015 assessment and is now joined as a plaintiff by Citgo. According to a 2022 tax assessment objection report, U.S. Venture (the parent of U.S. Oil) had its properties assessed for $39.7 million in 2021 and believes it should only to be assessed for $11.9 million. Citgo had its property assessed at $13.3 million, but believes it should only be valued at $5 million. The companies are seeking a rebate for their claimed overpayment in property taxes.
The city is represented by outside attorney Amy Seibel of Mequon-based Seibel Law Offices. It has also retained Texas-based Watson Millican & Company for its oil industry expertise, Wisconsin-based Landretti & Company for its assessment expertise and New Jersey-based Federal Appraisal for its appraisal and oil industry expertise.
At Random Will Overhaul Exterior, Maintain Interior Charm
When it comes to reviving historic Milwaukee taverns, nobody does it like John Dye. The cocktail expert and history enthusiast is the proprietor of several endeared establishments including Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge, The Jazz Estate and At Random, 2501 S. Delaware Ave.
After he acquired the latter from retired owners Ron and Shirley Zeller in 2019, Dye meticulously restored the 139-year-old building’s interior while maintaining its authenticity and charm. The process included new carpet and Naugahyde, upgraded systems, fresh paint, repairs and an overall deep clean.
With its vintage luster intact, Dye intended to move on to necessary repairs to the building’s exterior. But as 2020 dawned, we all know what came next. Funds that had been set aside for the exterior instead went towards building an outdoor patio to keep the tavern afloat through the turbulent months ahead.
Three years later, Dye is poised to pick up where he left off, with the exterior renovation set to commence this winter.
25-Story Prospect Ave. Tower Headed For Approval
Following unanimous Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee approval, a revised proposal to develop a luxury apartment tower on N. Prospect Ave. has only perfunctory steps to go before receiving city zoning approval.
Willow Partners is seeking to develop a 25-story, 192-apartment tower at 1550 N. Prospect Ave. Known as 1550, the proposal involves moving the historic Goll Mansion at the site forward and constructing a new tower overlooking Lake Michigan.
Developer Christopher Houden, Jr. calls the new plan “scenario B,” a revised design for a complicated development plan that his father, Chris Houden, secured zoning approval for in 2017 after a series of contentious meetings. Willow could, legally, still build the “scenario A” design, but is seeking city approval for the new design which is shorter, slimmer and has a more straightforward restoration plan for the historic mansion currently on the site.
Following the full council’s vote on Jan. 17, Houden will be committed to “Scenario B.”
Designs Released For East Side Hotel
The development team behind a proposed, 11-story hotel for Milwaukee’s Lower East Side released three renderings of the triangular building.
As first reported by Urban Milwaukee, 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 top-floor event space.
A community meeting to discuss the proposal is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Jan. 23 at Dorsia restaurant. 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.
Harley-Davidson Creating Major Community Park
Harley-Davidson announced the first phase of its planned headquarters transformation Wednesday. It has hired award-winning design firm Heatherwick Studio to design a community park at its Near West Side campus.
“Milwaukee is the place we have proudly called home for 120 years. We want Harley-Davidson’s presence in Milwaukee to be more relevant than ever before, for our community, employees and our customers,” said CEO Jochen Zeitz in a press release. “It’s important to us to protect and enhance this part of our heritage in a way that is aligned to our strategy, ensuring that it will be relevant to generations to come. Kicking the project off in our 120th year underscores both the importance of the project and the commitment that we are making to Milwaukee. We are very proud by the work of the Harley-Davidson Foundation in spearheading this project, which builds on the $30 million donated by the Motor Company to the Foundation since 2020.”
The new park, as depicted in a rendering, will replace many of the surface parking lots at 3700 W. Juneau Ave. The company has yet to make a full return to the office following the onset of the pandemic.
The central feature is to be “The Hub,” a sunken, multi-use events space. It will provide views of the brick buildings the company has occupied for approximately 120 years and of a new natural environment. The release says there are also plans for a market street, garden and nature-focused playground.
New Youth Prison Wins Key Endorsement
A proposed youth prison for Milwaukee’s Northwest Side, a replacement for the troubled Lincoln Hills facility, gained a key endorsement Tuesday.
After more than three hours of debate, the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee unanimously recommended approval of a zoning change to enable the facility’s development. The full Common Council will consider the proposal on Jan. 17, but will not hold a public hearing.
Several people that live near the proposed facility testified against it, arguing it would have a negative impact on the neighborhood, while many involved in the youth justice system spoke of the need to develop a facility in the Milwaukee area and improve rehabilitative care.
The 32-bed facility would be located on a 6.6-acre site, 7930 W. Clinton Ave., at the end of a dead-end road located northwest of the intersection of N. 76th St. and W. Good Hope Rd. It could open as soon as late 2025, 10 years after the 400-bed, Wausau-area Lincoln Hills facility gained national notoriety for allegations of abuse of youth by staff, staff shortages and other problems. The state has paid out more than $25 million in settlements as a result.
City Committee Overrules Historic Commission On Mitchell Street Project
In December, by a one-vote margin, the Historic Preservation Commission denied Cotton’s request to demolish the two-story building at 1101-1113 W. Historic Mitchell St. On Tuesday, the council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee voted unanimously to overrule that decision, backing Cotton’s appeal. The full council will review the proposal on Jan. 17.
Common Council President Jose G. Perez, the area’s council representative, supports Cotton’s plan.
“There are several buildings on Mitchell Street I wouldn’t even consider touching,” said Perez. “This is one of those buildings that doesn’t meet the criteria of not considering razing and replacing it with something that could have a much greater impact.”
New Land Plans 25-Story Apartment Tower
New Land Enterprises is pursuing a project to replace a Farwell Avenue parking lot with a 24 or 25-story, amenity-rich apartment tower.
The building, which requires a zoning change, would have approximately 300 apartments.
New Land managing director Tim Gokhman, in an interview, said it would be part of a new generation of high-end rental buildings coming to Milwaukee.
Those buildings, including New Land’s recently completed Ascent tower, often include swimming pools and other amenities made feasible by their scale.
Developer Will Refine Downtown Hotel
The design of a proposed eight-story hotel is to be refined following guidance from the Historic Preservation Commission.
The Tempo by Hilton Milwaukee hotel would contain 161 guest rooms, a rooftop bar and a restaurant, a first-floor restaurant and 4,600 square feet of meeting space at the corner of N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. and W. Kilbourn Ave.
The spirit of the commission’s guidance, issued during its Monday meeting, was to minimize the perceived “squat” nature of the hotel.
“My understanding is that the architect tried to make this kind of a background building and respond to the 1960s Journal building,” said commission staffer Tim Askin. He said the site, across from Pere Marquette Park, is too visible for that.
11-Story Hotel Proposed for Brady and Farwell
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.
Crowley Signs Proposal to Fund Housing Project
In August last year, ACTS Housing, a local nonprofit, announced it was creating a new housing acquisition fund to get in front of out-of-state investors buying up single-family housing stock in Milwaukee. The plan is to purchase homes that would otherwise go to these investors and sell them to owner-occupants. The project has an initial fundraising goal of $11 million.
The project is an idea that came out of the Community Development Alliance (CDA) Collective Affordable Housing Plan, which also identified the need for 32,000 new Black and Latino homeowners in Milwaukee in order to close the racial housing gap.
Teig Whaley-Smith, the CEO of CDA, said that major institutions interested in tackling problems like homeownership don’t always have the resources to research and develop a new system. “So we just keep doing the same things over and over again.”
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