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Modified Bucks apartment plans receives panel endorsement

By: Alex Zank, [email protected]//November 13, 2017//

Modified Bucks apartment plans receives panel endorsement

By: Alex Zank, [email protected]//November 13, 2017//

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In the latest plan change for an apartment complex tied to the new Bucks arena, city officials called for replacing nearly half the amount of square footage that was to be set aside for ground-floor commercial space with a handful of apartment units.

Members of the city Plan Commission heard from Royal Capital Group, the Milwaukee-based developer of the apartment project being built across West Juneau Avenue from the Bucks’ 714,000-square-foot downtown arena. Among other changes, the developer called for increasing the project’s apartment count from 107 to 112 units; the five new units would all be built on the ground floor.

With those additions, the total amount of space at the site set aside for commercial purposes would shrink from 13,500 square feet, as initially proposed, to roughly 7,000 square feet, said Amanda Koch, architectural designer at Milwaukee-based Engberg Anderson, the designer of the project.

With roughly 1,000 square feet and 22-foot-high ceilings, the new apartments would be larger than those on the five floors above.

Commission members unanimously approved the modifications.

Terrell Walter, project manager at Royal Capital, told the commissioners that commercial tenants seemed to be hesitant about opening up shop in an area that, at least until the Bucks arena development got underway, had been made up mostly of vacant lots.

“We learned that we’re making a market here, specifically for commercial retail,” he said. “Speaking in concert with the Bucks, we all have high goals for this area and are very confident in what it’s going to be, but what it is today is a redevelopment zone, (with) previously vacant tracts and high-speed traffic where people are used to speeding past. … What we’ve heard from the market is, ‘Hey, I don’t want to be the first one in.’ ”

Of the commercial tenants that have considered the site, Royal Capital is still working to wrap up agreements with a fitness club and a cafe and juice bar, Walter added.

Whitney Gould, a commission member, asked the project team if having apartment units at such a low level would give rise to privacy and noise concerns. She said the street would most likely be filled with pedestrians and traffic when the arena is in use.

Koch, though, said any rooms facing the street in those five units would either be kitchens or living rooms. The bedrooms, she said, would be tucked farther into the building’s interior. The windows would also be about 7 feet off the ground.

The developers of the apartment complex, also known as the Park 7 Lofts, have steadily added apartment units to their project since first announcing their plans in February. Initially, officials had said the building would have 90 units. By the time the development plans went before the Common Council this summer, though, they were calling for 107 units.

The apartment complex and parking garage make up one block of an eight-block development area, centered on  the new 714,000-square-foot Bucks arena. Other projects there include a recently finished team-training center and attached medical clinic, as well as a three-building entertainment block that could have everything from shops, to restaurants, to a brewery and beer garden.


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