The Milwaukee Common Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a zoning change for an 11-story, 130-room hotel for North Farwell Avenue and East Brady Street, introducing the upscale first hotel of its kind to the East Side neighborhood.
Milwaukee officials voted to allow for a zoning change to allow construction of a hotel on 1709-23 North Farwell Avenue, the site of the two-story building known as Farwell Point. Brookfield-based Klein Development wants to build a hotel with a ground-level restaurant, a rooftop bar and a glass façade. The hotel is yet to be named.
“This is a huge win for Milwaukee and a huge win for bike and pedestrian safety. It’s a huge win for daytime commerce on Brady Street and it’s also a big win for the East Side, which has needed hotel rooms for a decade,” Alderperson Jonathan Brostoff, who represents the 3rd District, told The Daily reporter.
As previously reported by The Daily Reporter, Brostoff said the hotel would help activate daytime businesses and local nightlife on the busy street. He said he has had informational events and one-on-one meetings with residents with mostly positive reception.
However, some residents said the development was rushed without an adequate heads up to the neighborhood.
“There is space all over Fiserv and downtown competing. If you need a hotel, you don’t have to go far (in the Deer District area.) I don’t know who is supposed to be staying at this place,” one resident said.
Another resident said they were concerned about the impact on traffic on North Farwell Avenue and asked city officials about traffic delays due to construction.
Brostoff said he held informational events at the restaurant Dorsia in the winter with over 150 people and had an overwhelmingly positive reaction from the community.
“If we want to meet the needs of our neighbors, there will have to be change and that’s hard. Supporting daytime commerce is done through a project like this, through a hotel,” the alderman said.
The incoming hotel, which doesn’t have a brand name yet, will come with 11 on-site parking spots and 59 parking stalls in an off-site surface parking lot, developer plans showed.
Alderman Scott Spiker, who is a member of the zoning committee, asked developers what they would do if they built the hotel and current parking plans didn’t match up with the number of guests staying at the 130 rooms.
Michael Klein, president of Klein Development, said his company would consider building a parking structure if there wasn’t enough parking when the hotel was completed.
Developers will add three curb cuts and pedestrian accommodations, such as flashing lights on either side of the street on the intersection of North Farwell Avenue and East Royall Place. A curb cut is a small ramp in sidewalks to help people with strollers or wheelchairs.
The developer will cover costs for demolition and construction for the project, Brostoff said. Klein told The Daily Reporter his group would pay for pedestrian accommodations as well.
The hotel will have a mix of single occupancy rooms and rooms with double queens, Kahler Slater Associate Principal Ethan Skeels said at the meeting. The first floor will have a “street activation” system with a series of storefront openings and open glass panels at the top floor for a rooftop bar.
Klein said his group had worked on the project for over a year. His company purchased the property in August and considered building apartments or retail before settling on a hotel. Klein Development worked on The Easton, a luxury, multifamily apartment in Milwaukee.