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Developer plans $140M tower at site near gateway to MKE’s Third Ward

By: Nate Beck, [email protected]//May 19, 2021//

Developer plans $140M tower at site near gateway to MKE’s Third Ward

By: Nate Beck, [email protected]//May 19, 2021//

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A developer on Wednesday laid out its plans to build a 32-story, $140 million tower at a prominent site near the entrance to Milwaukee’s Third Ward.

Houston, Texas-based Hines Acquisitions intends to build a 292-unit residential tower and parking structure on a site that’s now a parking lot at the southwest corner of North Water Street and East St. Paul Avenue.

Hines and the architect Solomon Cordwell Buenz presented the project before Milwaukee’s Third Ward Architectural Review Board, which is ultimately charged with considering a certificate of appropriateness for the project. The committee approved the idea, subject to further review, on a 6-1 vote Wednesday.

“We see this as a really great opportunity to provide a building that will add to the vitality of the Third Ward,” said Devon Patterson, a principal at Solomon Cordwell Buenz, or SCB.

The proposal would add a residential tower and seven-story parking structure to a riverfront site that’s adjacent to the Milwaukee Public Market. The developers plan to incorporate connections to a riverwalk along the Milwaukee River into plans for the project, and develop a rooftop deck above the parking structure complete with a swimming pool. Retail or restaurants would occupy the first floor of the building.

Hines and SCB have worked together on another prominent Milwaukee development: Northwestern Mutual’s 35-story 7Seventy7 tower, on which SCB served as the architect.

The proposed Third Ward tower would stand 365 feet when complete, making it among Milwaukee’s tallest buildings and the largest tower in the neighborhood. During Wednesday’s meeting, some committee members expressed concern about a 405-stall parking garage that would occupy a space directly south of the tower. Committee member Michael DeMichele voted against the concept presented on Wednesday after voicing concerns about the structure.

Milwaukee Ald. Bob Bauman, who sits on the architectural review board, said city officials with power to approve the development would most likely view the project favorably, even if the committee ultimately rejects the project. The project’s developer is not seeking tax incentives or other forms of public support to build the tower.

“I would say a $140 million project with no subsidy and immediate increase in the tax base — barring some unique circumstance — would receive overwhelming support of the council,” Bauman said.

The proposal is the second big development floated for the Third Ward in recent months. In January, the developer Wimmer Communities releasedn plans to build an 11-story addition to the historic Hoffco building in the Third Ward. The project, called Hotel Third Ward, would convert the former warehouse, built in 1892, into a 102-room boutique hotel operated as a Marriott Tribute Portfolio hotel. Milwaukee-based Eppstein Uhen Architects is leading the design of that project.


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