The Milwaukee Historic Preservation Commission put off until Dec. 13 a public hearing on a proposal to raze five buildings to make way for a full-service Marriott Hotel at East Wisconsin Avenue and Milwaukee Street.
The delay came despite a letter of support from Rocky Marcoux, commissioner of the Department of City Development. Marcoux urged the commission to move forward quickly.
Developers contest the historic significance of the five buildings, saying they are simply old and outdated. Preservationists contend the buildings could be renovated and be an asset to the city.
Alderman Robert Bauman, a commission member, said the panel had no choice but to cancel a Nov. 15 meeting on the matter because it had not been announced as a public hearing.
Evan Zeppos, a spokesman for the developer, Jackson Street Management LLC, said many people from both sides showed up for the canceled meeting.
“We are disappointed that the commission did not hear testimony or act on our proposal,” Zeppos said. “Both sides were present and should have been heard from.”
The developers are proposing a $45 million to $50 million, 200-room hotel for the site that will wrap around the Johnson Bank branch at 333 E. Wisconsin Ave. They say the project would create 250 construction jobs, 200 hotel jobs and generate about $2.27 million a year in taxes.
Bauman said that after the hearing, the commission has several options. It can accept the developer’s proposal, deny it or accept it with conditions. The developers could appeal any decision to the Common Council, he said.
“It’s a very lengthy process,” Bauman said. “It could stretch out more even before it gets to the Common Council.”