Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers wants to return to its roots.
The high-end jeweler is optimistic that a proposed Marriott Hotel will be built at Wisconsin Avenue and Milwaukee Street in Milwaukee and that they will be able to open a store in the hotel.
Schwanke-Kasten opened its doors in Milwaukee 111 years ago at 333 E. Wisconsin Ave., a building now occupied by the Johnson Bank that the new hotel will encircle.
The hotel plans call for the razing of five vintage buildings in the district and have met stiff opposition at the Historic Preservation Commission.
Alderman Robert Bauman has steadfastly resisted any plan to raze the buildings that the developers claim are just old, not historic.
The developers, Jackson Street Management LLC, have to get the commission’s approval before they can proceed.
Bauman sits on the commission and the developers fear that he is trying to kill the measure by stalling a decision. If they reject it, the developers could appeal to the Milwaukee Common Council where there is considerable support.
But if no action is taken, the developers may have their hands tied.
Late Monday afternoon, the Historic Preservation Commission will hold a public hearing on a request by developers that to raze five buildings in the historic district and build the 200-room hotel.
Tom Dixon, in a prepared statement attributed to him, said the hotel project would begin an economic renaissance on the east side of downtown. Schwanke-Kasten has shops at 763 N. Broadway and at 417 E. Silver Spring Drive in Whitefish Bay.
If approved, the developers say there will be a groundbreaking this spring.
Marie Rohde is a staff writer at The Daily Reporter and is always in favor of a new jewelry store within walking distance of her Milwaukee office.