Jeramey Jannene
Plats and Parcels

Taylor’s Plans Two-Story Restaurant Overlooking Cathedral Square

New restaurant will replace Flannery. Plus: A recap of the week's real estate news.

By - Jan 21st, 2023 05:02 pm
419-433 E. Wells St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

419-433 E. Wells St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Cathedral Square Park will soon get some People’s Park flavor.

Brothers Jim and Dan Taylor are planning to convert the Flannery’s Bar & Restaurant space into a new restaurant and add a larger second story that overlooks the park.

“It will pretty much be a glass atrium with restroom facilities and a full indoor-outdoor bar,” said Jim Taylor in an interview. A rooftop deck will cover much of the brothers’ namesake bar, Taylor’s, and directly overlook the park. The indoor structure, with large windows or garage doors, will span the Flannery’s space and the adjacent Real Chili restaurant. A glass ceiling is planned. “People in the surrounding skyscrapers should be able to look down and see a bustling corner.”

Flannery’s, located just off the corner of N. Jefferson St. and E. Wells St., announced its impending closure earlier this week. But don’t expect other drastic changes to the first floor of the building, 419-433 E. Wells St.

“Taylor’s will remain Taylor’s. It’ll be its own entity,” said Taylor. He said Real Chili also just renewed its lease for the western stall in the building.

The new restaurant will be a second location for the brothers’ People’s Park restaurant in Waukesha. “It’s been open since 2010. It’s still going crazy,” said Taylor. “I attribute that to great food at a reasonable price point.”

Taylor’s has been open since 1995 at 795 N. Jefferson St., the easternmost stall in the 7,143-square-foot building. The bar itself has a near 360-degree layout and large windows open towards the park and street.

Taylor acquired the property in October through JT Wells LLC for $949,400. It was long owned by Dan Helfer, the former owner of Real Chili. “I’ve been asking him since 1995 if I could buy the building. He finally agreed to sell,” said Taylor.

The brothers hope to open the new business in summer 2024. They’re working with Madisen Maher Architects on the project, but are searching for a general contractor. Current floor plans, including sidewalk seating, would allow for 330 seated diners.

Why not just merge Taylor’s into the new restaurant? Taylor said the bar’s loyal customer base has made it clear they find something special with the size and layout of the current 1,587-square-foot tavern. The customer service is also been highly regarded, with several longtime employees. Jim, with a business background, and Dan, as a designer, have kept the operation humming for years with few design or operational changes.

The tavern was one of the earliest establishments in the city to offer sidewalk seating. Taylor hopes People’s Park can replicate that success. It will have support, as the city is rebuilding E. Wells St. in the coming years. Plans call for 19-foot-wide sidewalks in front of the building. “The city planning on making Wells Street a dining corridor,” he said.

Good things, said Taylor, are also happening on the Jefferson Street side of the building. “There is a resurgence to Jefferson Street,” he told Urban Milwaukee. He attributes the street’s draw to the architecture and the park, which was just updated with a new perimeter to better host events. Taylor said he was excited to see Giovanni’s, Electric Lime and a third, yet-to-be-publicly-announced restaurant come to the street.

Taylor’s People’s Park, named for the Berkley, CA park that was the site of several 1960s counterculture protests, offers a menu complete with salmon, burgers and salads. The Milwaukee menu is intended to largely mirror the downtown Waukesha menu. Jim Taylor also owns the Oscar’s Frozen Custard stand chain.

Flannery’s will close on Jan. 29. Steve Smith opened the bar in 1997 and is electing not to pursue relocation after the lease was not renewed. A Grafton location, inside the Fire Ridge Golf Club, continues to operate.


Weekly Recap

Massive Port Project Nears Completion

The final shape of the largest Port Milwaukee investment in more than 60 years is now clearly visible.

The $40 million facility, to be operated by Clinton-based DeLong Company, will be primarily used for exporting a nutrient-rich byproduct made from converting corn to ethanol, transporting it to Europe, the Middle East and Africa. It’s being funded as a public-private partnership between the city, state and federal governments and the private company.

DeLong already coordinates the export of dry distillers grain with solubles (DDGS), via shipping containers and coastal ports, to Asia. But the new complex, formally the Agricultural Maritime Export Facility, will provide a purpose-built facility and logistics network to compete in many more markets. It will also allow DeLong to avoid using shipping containers, which are ill-suited for the moisture-laden product and in increasingly short supply.

The ship loader and stair-wrapped tower are now clearly visible from the Hoan Bridge and other points along the harbor. When complete, the large, overhead system will be used to load up to 40,000 bushels (1,100 metric tons) per hour onto either barges or ships. The facility is located along the inner harbor on the west side of S. Carferry Dr.

Read the full article

Prospect Avenue Luxury Apartment Tower Approved

The City of Milwaukee has done its part to approve “scenario B” for a proposed Lower East Side apartment tower. On Tuesday, the Common Council approved a zoning change that locks in a revised design for developer Christopher Houden, Jr.‘s proposed 25-story “1550” building. The development team now needs to complete its engineering and construction plans and secure financing.

Houden’s Willow Partners is seeking to develop the high-end, 192-unit building at 1550 N. Prospect Ave. The proposal, a revised version of the “scenario A” building his father secured approval for in 2017, involves moving and restoring the Goll Mansion currently located on the property.

But unlike in 2017, the latest version of the tower received virtually no opposition. The building would rise 277 feet versus the earlier 27-story, 301-foot-tall proposal. The revised tower would also be set back 60 feet from 1522 on the Lake, an increase of nine feet. The residents of 1522, a condominium tower, led the opposition to prior proposals for the site.

Houden told the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee on Jan. 10 that he hopes to start construction work later this year. The tower could be completed in spring 2025. “Schematic design phase is almost completed,” said the developer. Houden previously said the original version wasn’t built because of the unexpected death of project architect Tom Miller in 2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the full article

Rice N Roll Owner Building Bay View Complex

Construction is underway on one of the more unconventional new restaurant complexes in modern Milwaukee history.

Pramoth Lertsinsongserm, co-owner of Japanese and Thai restaurant Rice N Roll Bistro on the Lower East Side and Kin in Wauwatosa, is developing a $2.5 million, two-building restaurant at 2159-2161 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. at the northern edge of Bay View.

A two-story, northern building will contain a dining room, kitchen and second-level deck on the north side of the lot. It will include a portion of the one-story garage structure currently in the middle of the lot, with the remainder of that garage stripped to its frame and becoming an outdoor seating area.

The one-story, southern building will have 1,267 square feet of finished space. A foundation for this structure is now visible.

Read the full article

CBRE Moving Office To BMO Tower

One of Milwaukee’s leading real estate brokerages is on the move.

CBRE is poised to relocate from its longtime home in the US Bank Center to the 18th floor of BMO Tower, 790 N. Water St.

A building permit filed with the Department of Neighborhood Services shows that the firm is leasing 12,775 square feet of space overlooking Milwaukee City Hall, N. Water St. and E. Wells St. An L-shaped floor plan depicts several meeting spaces and conference rooms along the outer floor-to-ceiling windows with small offices set towards the center of the floor.

The Dallas-based firm’s Milwaukee office provides brokerage services for office, retail and industrial properties as well as property management. In 2006, CBRE acquired Polacheck Co., one of Milwaukee’s longest-running brokerages and once the city’s largest. Between its Milwaukee, Brookfield and Madison offices, CBRE reports it has more than 90 employees. The publicly-traded company, formerly known as Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services firm based on 2021 revenue of $27.8 billion.

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Pandemic Continues To Be A Drag On Wisconsin Office Leasing

While workers are slowly returning to the office after the pandemic forced many to work from home, companies are rethinking how they invest in their workspaces.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the jobs that were traditionally done in a physical office space have been done remotely. And while there are no longer pandemic restrictions limiting the ability to gather at work, many people have continued to work from home.

“We don’t believe that’s going anywhere,” said S.R. Mills, chief executive officer of Bear Real Estate Group, a Kenosha-based developer that owns and manages real estate in Wisconsin and 13 other states. “We think that will continue — (though) certainly not to the same degree as it was during the pandemic.”

Read the full article

Point Burger Bar Closes Northwest Side Location, Building For Sale

The restaurant worker shortage has claimed another casualty.

After seven years of serving burgers, fries and shakes to the far northwest side, Point Burger Bar quietly closed its Park Place location last summer.

The restaurant, 10950 W. Good Hope Rd., closed for good in June 2022 due to staff shortages — a problem that has plagued the industry for years and worsened by the pandemic.

“After COVID, there were days that we just, we’d have one or two employees show up some days,” said owner Brian Ward in an interview. “You’d have no cook show up. It was too hard to hire employees.”

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Midtown Center Being Auctioned Off

A large shopping center in the middle of Milwaukee is headed for the auction block.

Midtown Center, the shopping center bordered by W. Capitol Dr., W. Fond du Lac Ave. and N. 60th St., is for sale.

New York-based DLC Management, which paid $47.2 million for the center in 2014, is selling the property at auction with an opening bid of $7 million.

The 10 buildings included in the auction are 80% occupied according to the listing. They include a total of 241,283 square feet of leasable space.

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Burlington Store Will Replace Piggy Wiggly On Capitol Dr.

Change is afoot for a shopping center located near the intersection of N. Holton St. and E. Capitol Dr.

A Piggly Wiggly grocery store is closing, a Burlington discount department store is opening and the 90,000-square-foot complex at 701-709 E. Capitol Dr. where the store is located has a new owner.

A Planet Fitness gym, Citi Trends clothing store and Beauty Palace beauty supply store all continue to operate in the shopping center complex.

According to a notice filed with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, Piggly Wiggly’s closing will result in the loss of 52 jobs. The closure is to occur over two weeks starting March 18 according to the filing, although discounts can already be found on the store’s remaining inventory.

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Third Ward Building Could Gain Apartments

A small Historic Third Ward building could gain apartments under a proposal from Wimmer Communities.

The three-story building at 221 N. Water St. would have up to five apartments according to plans submitted to the Department of Neighborhood Services for preliminary review.

Asian fusion restaurant Lucky Ginger occupies the first floor of the 7,200-square-foot building and would remain.

The city characterizes the building as a “multi-story warehouse” in assessment records, but a project description narrative submitted to the city says the building already has two apartments on its upper floors. The two upper floors would be divided in half, yielding four apartments. A lower-level, facing the riverwalk, would gain an apartment.

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Council Approves New Youth Prison in Milwaukee

The Milwaukee Common Council has done its part to clear the way for the state to build a replacement for the troubled Lincoln Hills youth prison in central Wisconsin.

On Tuesday, the council approved a zoning change to enable the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) to construct a 32-bed facility at 7930 W. Clinton Ave. on Milwaukee’s northwest side.

The vote came without any debate, though two city committees had spent several hours listening to public testimony on the measure. Two council members objected, Milele A. Coggs and Mark Chambers, Jr., while Khalif Rainey abstained from voting.

“Now that its passed, I hope that it has the positive effect that supporters claim it will,” said Coggs in an interview after the meeting.

Read the full article

Mitchell Street Redevelopment Must First Show Financing

A proposal to demolish a historically-protected building on Historic Mitchell Street and replace it with a four-story apartment building now comes with a contingency.

On Tuesday, the Milwaukee Common Council unanimously amended the pending approval for developer Zuwena Cotton to demolish the two-story building at 1101-1113 W. Historic Mitchell St. to require her to present “financing sufficient to complete the project as described” to the Department of City Development and Comptroller. It’s the first time the council has invoked the provision, which was added to the historic preservation ordinance as part of its 2012 overhaul.

The measure is intended to avoid a situation where Cotton would demolish the building, but fail to secure competitively-awarded low-income housing tax credits to develop a replacement building.

Cotton, a first-time developer, is seeking to develop a five-story, 55-unit apartment building that draws design inspiration from the Art Deco-style building she would demolish. Her new building is contingent on receiving the tax credits, awarded on an annual basis in the spring.

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Mass Timber Building Planned for Haymarket

A seven-story, mass-timber office building could be developed just north of Downtown under a proposal by one of Milwaukee’s leading property restoration firms.

Sid Grinker Restoration would develop the multi-tenant building at the northwest corner of N. Vel R. Phillips Ave. and W. Walnut St.

“Sid Grinker has been on this corner since about 1975… We have made a commitment to do our campus here,” said firm president Mike Grinker to the Bronzeville Advisory Committee on Jan. 9. “We were at a crossroads about five years ago due to our growth.” The company specializes in water and fire restoration, which involves on-site facilities and offices as well as deploying workers to job sites.

The firm owns several buildings in the area, having rehabilitated them and subsequently split their use between its own needs and tenants, including Dead Bird Brewing, Pilcrow Coffee, Retailworks and Sweetbush.

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One thought on “Plats and Parcels: Taylor’s Plans Two-Story Restaurant Overlooking Cathedral Square”

  1. Polaris says:

    Despite all that changes, one thing remains…REAL CHILI! (Ack, but for how long, given the change in building ownership?)

    Of note: People’s Park in Berkeley has been a cause of controversy, lately. Created in the 1960s during the student protest movements, the University of California-owned land is not slated for student and supportive housing, but not if some entities have their way…

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