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Milwaukee Marriott appeal expected soon (UPDATE)

A proposed Marriott Hotel for downtown Milwaukee received approval from the Historic Preservation Commission Monday night. (Rendering courtesy of Jackson Street Management LLC)

By Marie Rohde

The Milwaukee Common Council could vote as early as Jan. 19 on the proposed development of a $50 million Marriott Hotel, said Pat Curley, chief of staff for Mayor Tom Barrett.

The Milwaukee Historic Preservation Commission on Monday conditionally approved plans for the 200-room hotel on East Wisconsin Avenue and North Milwaukee Street that will require the demolition of five buildings in the historic district.

Evan Zeppos, a spokesman for project developer Jackson Street Management LLC, called a condition requiring a 15-foot setback for the hotel on the Milwaukee Street side of the project a deal killer.

Monday’s commission meeting was the third time the group considered the proposal. In November, the matter was put over after it was decided it had not been properly noticed as a public hearing. In December, the commission approved the plans but required the facades of all the buildings be maintained.

The developers agreed to recreate the facades on Wisconsin Avenue but said the Milwaukee Street side of the project could not be saved or recreated.

The actions of the commission so riled some members of the Common Council that one alderman, Terry Witkowski, said he would call for a review and possible abolishment of the commission’s authority.

A super majority of the council — 10 of the 15 members — is required to override a vote of the Historic Preservation Commission. The hotel project has the strong support of Barrett, who urged the plans be moved forward quickly.

Before the council can vote on the matter, the plans must first go to the Zoning and Neighborhood Development Committee of the council. That committee is meeting Tuesday, but the Marriott plans were not on the agenda and could not be discussed, said Jim Owczarski, deputy city clerk.

However, Alderman James Witkowiak, the chairman of the committee, opened a blank file at the last Common Council meeting in December. That is a procedural measure that will let Witkowiak call a special meeting of the committee this week and get the matter before the council when it meets Jan. 19.

Zeppos, speaking for the developers, attacked the Historic Preservation Commission, saying, “It appears that some with the HPC are more interested in bureaucratic chicanery and political games than moving our city forward.”

One comment

  1. These obstructions provided by the phony preservation committee are nonsense. If these people were accountabe for their decisions in a real business, all the idiots would be fired.

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