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Architects release proposals for renewed Menomonee Valley

Designs released this week show plans for what various stagnant sites in the Menomonee Valley could become.

Six local architecture firms have been drawing up plans for 40 acres of riverfront land following the Menomonee Valley Design Charette on Jan. 31. The designs for five vacant or underused sites and streetscaping along St. Paul Avenue call for new businesses, an extended RiverWalk on the Menomonee Rivera and connections to nearby neighborhoods.

The project was started by the Menomonee Valley Partners, the city of Milwauke, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Architecture and Urban Plannings’ Community Design Solutions. The designs were released during an event Tuesday at the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino.

“With the Menomonee Valley Industrial Center as our precedent, we believe the development of these sites could generate up to 800 jobs as well as transform the Menomonee River into a new front door to the Valley,” said Corey Zetts, executive director of Menomonee Valley Partners. “The firms who worked on the charette succeeded in demonstrating the potential of strong design to connect people to jobs, to nature, and to each other.”

The six sites include:

1.    St. Paul Avenue Corridor: Quorum Architects

Quorum proposes adding showrooms, galleries and food destinations, along with sidewalks, lighting, and greenery. Park space, outdoor recreation, and pedestrian connections to the 16th Street Viaduct and Hank Aaron State Trail would provide links to the broader community.

2.    City Lights, 1601-2001 W. Mt. Vernon Ave.: Zimmerman Architectural Studios

Given the site’s four-block-long riverfront presence, Zimmerman imagines a riverwalk extension, new street access from 25th Street to Emmber Lane and three mixed-use commercial buildings. The proposed development would include food production and sales, light industry, and office space or other uses. The easternmost building could connect the 16th Street Viaduct to the riverwalk.

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3.    Kneeland Properties: HGA

For the 9.8 acre vacant parcel next to the downtown post office and Milwaukee Intermodal Station, HGA envisions a new street grid and food-and-beverage manufacturing and retail, mixed-use office space, and light manufacturing. To connect the site to the city grid, HGA suggests extending Mt. Vernon Avenue under the 6th Street Bridge, taking it along the river and through the existing colonnade under the post office, to Plankinton Avenue.

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4.    St. Mary’s Cement: Engberg Anderson Architects

Engberg Anderson Architects proposes a gateway and entertainment hub for this highly visible riverfront site near the Harley-Davidson Museum. The company proposes a mixture of food-manufacturing, retail, office, hotel and restaurant uses around a central space connected to an extension of the riverwalk.

5.    We Energies adjacent land: Korb and Associates

This 22-acre parcel wraps around We Energies and runs adjacent to the Menomonee Canal to the south. New construction on this 22-acre site can take advantage of adjacent food-grade steam for facilities, manufacturing, and food and beverage production and retail. The size of the site and proximity to entertainment destinations, with frontage on both Canal Street and the Menomonee Canal, make it attractive for a manufacturer with a retail and tourism component.

6.    199 N 25th St, Architect: Uihlein/Wilson – Ramlow/Stein Architects

With a prominent spot on 25th and Canal Streets, this site sits between the Hank Aaron State Trail and the Menomonee River. The existing building has a steel structure that could be renovated for a single tenant or various smaller tenants, possibly a combination of food manufacturing and a visitor’s center, retail outlet, or themed restaurant. A proposed addition would provide opportunities for a visible vertical landmark and entrance point to the Valley. Prominent features of the proposed development include trails around existing ponds, vegetation, and trees, as well as a boat launch.

199_n_25th_st_-_credit_uihlein_wilson_ramlow_stein

About Nate Beck, nbeck@dailyreporter.com

Nate Beck is The Daily Reporter's construction staff writer. He can be reached at (414) 225-1814 (office) or 414-388-5635 (mobile).

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