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Old March 10th, 2007, 07:38 PM   #761
brewcityfan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Markitect View Post


There is an existing parking structure on the southern half of the block. On the right-side rendering, the garage can be seen in the background, behind the white-colored piece (maybe 3 or 4 stories tall) that connects the two towers together at the back of the courtyard in the center of the drawing.

While the neighboring parking garage won't really be visible from the courtyard at all, that short connecting piece between the two towers just seems rather awkward looking. It should be more significant, beefed up just a bit, to give some bulk to the overall project. As it is now, that connecting piece at the rear of the courtyard just seems kind of tacked on, as opposed to being one component of a cohesive design.

The parking structure that would be built as part of Ghazi's proposal (not to be confused with the existing structure to the south, which is not part of the development) is built into the podium upon which the tall condo tower sits (another awkward part of the design).
So it needs to be tweaked a bit? Not a problem, at least I don't think. I finally saw the parking garage in that picture - and I'd say all they need to do is when the refine their connector portion, make it a bit higher so it blocks the garage from being visible to the public in the courtyard.

The parking garage on the condo tower itself doesn't look that bad either - it looks like they're trying to shield it out and make it look part of the building. It's not a bad second try. Awkward? Yes. Horrible? Not really.
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Old March 10th, 2007, 09:42 PM   #762
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Mandel acquires North Avenue land for development
The Business Journal of Milwaukee - March 9, 2007
by Pete Millard

The Mandel Group has purchased a second parcel along East North Avenue from Hometown Inc. for $750,000.

The Milwaukee development firm recently acquired Hometown's 18,500-square-foot corporate office building, 1518 E. North Ave. The site is less than a block east of a former Hometown gasoline station and 2-acre parking lot Mandel bought a year ago for $1.3 million.



East side condo project 25% sold
Occupancy start set for fall '08
By TOM DAYKIN
[email protected]
Posted: March 9, 2007

A condominium development being built on Milwaukee's east side will have its underground parking structure completed by September, with construction of the development's twin towers to begin at that time, the developer said Friday.

Portions of the 291-unit Park Lafayette development should be available for occupancy by September 2008, said Warren Barr, president of Renaissant Development Group LLC.

The project, east of N. Prospect Ave. and north of E. Lafayette Ave., will feature twin 20-story towers.

Around 25% of the development's condos have already been sold, with buyers providing 10% down payments, said Lynn Buckley, director of sales and marketing for Park Lafayette.

Another 15% of the units are being reserved by prospective buyers, she said. Those reservations require a $2,500 refundable deposit.

Buckley said sales have been strong for the project, one of the largest condo developments in the Milwaukee area.

The marketing effort includes a full-size model of a two-bedroom condo at Park Lafayette's sales center, 2025 N. Summit Ave.

Park Lafayette's units start at $230,000 for a one-bedroom unit.

The development is aiming to fill a niche of offering high-quality units in a location overlooking Lake Michigan that are priced below other high-rises.

"It looks like we've hit that niche," said Barr, whose firm is based in Oak Brook, Ill.
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Old March 11th, 2007, 12:09 AM   #763
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I hope they do something with the Hometown sites. That part of North Ave. is almost entirely vacant now that Node closed. It could use some energy.
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Old March 11th, 2007, 12:27 AM   #764
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewcityfan
The parking garage on the condo tower itself doesn't look that bad either - it looks like they're trying to shield it out and make it look part of the building. It's not a bad second try. Awkward? Yes. Horrible? Not really.
The problem is the dead space of the parking garage that fronts onto the main street (Wisconsin Avenue) and the plaza above the second floor. That should be a no-no (even if they keep it screened like is shown in the rendering) especially considering those are the two most prominent facades. Instead, the garage ought to be tucked away toward the rear of the site and rotated 90 degrees (to be where that little connecting piece between the two towers is now) so more of the major facades have active indoor space looking out onto Wisconsin Avenue and the plaza.
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Old March 11th, 2007, 12:38 AM   #765
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Markitect View Post
The problem is the dead space of the parking garage that fronts onto the main street (Wisconsin Avenue) and the plaza above the second floor. That should be a no-no (even if they keep it screened like is shown in the rendering) especially considering those are the two most prominent facades. Instead, the garage ought to be tucked away toward the rear of the site and rotated 90 degrees (to be where that little connecting piece between the two towers is now) so more of the major facades have active indoor space looking out onto Wisconsin Avenue and the plaza.
Well first off, can that be done without having the building go through another completely different rendering? And second, does the land have enough space for a parking stucture placement the way you have it mentioned? Yes, you would want Wisconsin Ave. to have 31 stories of nice window views. But remember, this is downtown we're talking about here. There are plenty of other parking structures in downtown Milwaukee that are 100x uglier and lower to the ground level (or even freestanding) than what this is showing. Why doesn't the city go complain about those being fixed up???

I'm hoping that the city can be a tad bit realistic here and not ask for THE perfect building.
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Old March 11th, 2007, 01:07 AM   #766
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewcityfan
Well first off, can that be done without having the building go through another completely different rendering?
No. It would involve another significant redesign. And there's nothing wrong with that when the result would a much higher quality design. It's been done before. The most recent example is the redesign of the Staybridge Suites project, which also originally had a similar screened parking podium type garage that faced out onto Water and Juneau Streets. The City worked with the developer/architects to refine the design and avoid having those dead spaces along the major facades by reconfiguring the building.

Why settle for a mediocre design when with some extra effort something nicer can be had?

Quote:
And second, does the land have enough space for a parking stucture placement the way you have it mentioned?
It should be.

Quote:
Yes, you would want Wisconsin Ave. to have 31 stories of nice window views. But remember, this is downtown we're talking about here. There are plenty of other parking structures in downtown Milwaukee that are 100x uglier and lower to the ground level (or even freestanding) than what this is showing. Why doesn't the city go complain about those being fixed up???

I'm hoping that the city can be a tad bit realistic here and not ask for THE perfect building.
The difference here is that Ghazi's project is not already built, thus there is an opportunity to work things out to achieve a better end result that doesn't look like all of the existing uglier stand-alone or mixed-use parking garages around Downtown. There is a different outlook on the way buildings are designed today than when most of those older garages were built. So the argument that "hey, we've already got garages that have dead space facing out onto the major streets and/or public spaces, so having another wouldn't be that bad" doesn't hold any water in this case. Urban design expectations have changed as time has passed.

It's not unrealistic for the City to expect or require a high standard of design. As I said earlier, this is exactly the kind of thing that's been done before, on all kinds of projects, big and small. You asked the other day what the purpose of the Department of City Development is...well, this is one of the many things they do--they work with developers and architects to work out these kinds of design issues.
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Old March 11th, 2007, 12:23 PM   #767
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milwaukee-københavn View Post
I hope they do something with the Hometown sites. That part of North Ave. is almost entirely vacant now that Node closed. It could use some energy.
me too. I live a block away.
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Old March 11th, 2007, 08:06 PM   #768
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Isn't it true that the convention business in milwaukee is hampered not only by a lack of total # of hotel rooms near the midwest center but also the lack of another LARGE hotel? All these small hotels are great and I appreciate them but if its true that we need another large hotel then the ghazi project still could have stayed a much larger more prominent building if they had made those 200 condo's that got eliminated into more hotel rooms.

All our new buildings are so slender. Which by itself isn't bad... but when they are ALL such... well, there seems so little mass. This building would have added nice mass before the redesign and could have kept it if they added more (needed!) hotel rooms.
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Old March 11th, 2007, 09:41 PM   #769
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Isn't it true that the convention business in milwaukee is hampered not only by a lack of total # of hotel rooms near the midwest center but also the lack of another LARGE hotel? All these small hotels are great and I appreciate them but if its true that we need another large hotel then the ghazi project still could have stayed a much larger more prominent building if they had made those 200 condo's that got eliminated into more hotel rooms.

All our new buildings are so slender. Which by itself isn't bad... but when they are ALL such... well, there seems so little mass. This building would have added nice mass before the redesign and could have kept it if they added more (needed!) hotel rooms.
Well when you look at Park East land available and land where development will begin soon on hotels - there's a lot of land there that will be occupied. Unbelievably those square blocks are very large, and one building will basically dominate the block. So, while the renderings give off this slim slender look - I think the end result to the naked eye will look very different.

Also thanks Markitect for clarifying that to me. But I'll add - if Milwaukee demands too high of standards, standards let's say Chicago could get - it might drive away potential bids due to extreme high costs to build. Make it classy, make it attractive. But don't shove everything down the developers thoat!
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Old March 11th, 2007, 11:26 PM   #770
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewcityfan
But I'll add - if Milwaukee demands too high of standards, standards let's say Chicago could get - it might drive away potential bids due to extreme high costs to build. Make it classy, make it attractive. But don't shove everything down the developers thoat!
This is not an unachievable, impossibly high design standard. This is not something that can be done in a place Chicago because it's a big and prominent city and can't be done in a place like Milwaukee because it's small and unknown. There are codes, regulations, guidelines, and review processes in place to help guide developers and designers toward desirable, achievable, high-quality designs. This is not an uncommon thing, nor is it unique to just Milwaukee.
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Old March 12th, 2007, 01:31 AM   #771
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Two reports are on DCD's website summarizing some of the projects of 2006.

First, is a 2006 Economic Development report: http://www.mkedcd.org/business/Milw2006EDReport.pdf
Pretty basic, but shows a lot of the things that happened in 2006.

Second, is the Redevelopment Authority's 2006 Annual Report:http://www.mkedcd.org/racm/2006AnnualReport.pdf
A lot of the same info, but a couple of different projects.

Overall, a pretty good summary of many of the things that were posted on this board throughout the year.
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Old March 14th, 2007, 10:15 AM   #772
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Could be good news, or bad....only time will tell.
Quote:
City funds for hotel projects debated
Mayor, Marcus Corp. question taxpayer support, demand
By TOM DAYKIN
[email protected]
Posted: March 13, 2007
A rash of development proposals would add 1,000 high-end hotel rooms to the roughly 2,000 already on the market - if developers were to win financial backing from the city.

Those public financing plans have drawn criticism from executives at Marcus Corp., downtown's largest hotel owner as well as concern from Mayor Tom Barrett.

"The question there is, how much can the market absorb? All of that comes into play when you're talking about the issue of public support," Barrett said Tuesday.

The answer will likely come this spring. The Department of City Development will evaluate pending downtown development plans, including several hotel proposals, that are seeking city financing, Barrett said.

That "big picture" study, to be completed by May 1, will consider the effects of new developments on existing businesses and projects, such as The Shops of Grand Avenue and redevelopment of the former Pabst brewery. That will help city officials better determine which proposals should receive financial help, Barrett said.

The proposals include office buildings and retail space. But the profusion of downtown hotel proposals seeking city funds is the main factor driving the study, Barrett said.

Rebuffed by city officials
Among the developments seeking city financial help is Park East Square, proposed by Chicago-based RSC & Associates.

Park East Square's $77 million first phase would include 126 luxury apartments, a 148-room hotel and 80,000 square feet of retail and office space. It would be on 2 acres, bordered by N. Milwaukee, N. Jefferson and E. Lyon streets and E. Ogden Ave.

RSC owner Richard Curto has assembled $14 million in equity financing and is arranging for a $54 million construction loan. Curto is seeking $9 million from the city, but has been rebuffed by Department of City Development officials.

Without those public funds, Curto said, he will shrink the project. He said the city funds would pay for improvements tied to the retail and office portions of Park East Square and would not subsidize the hotel.

However, Curto's proposal doesn't fit the city's master plan for the Park East area, which envisions a residential development, with a small amount of retail space, at the Milwaukee St. site, said Joel Brennan, of the Department of City Development. Brennan said the housing development envisioned by the plan can be done without city funding.

Other downtown development proposals seeking city financial help include local developer Doug Weas' plans for a 150-room Renaissance ClubSport by Marriott. The hotel is part of a mixed-use project that Weas hopes to build at the southeast corner of N. Broadway and E. St. Paul Ave.

Ald. Mike D'Amato, chairman of the Common Council's Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee, said he thinks the downtown study is designed to hold off Curto's request for city aid.

D'Amato said he supports the study, but said "it should not act as a moratorium for projects between now and May 1." The city could gain higher property tax revenue by helping finance Park East Square, rather than settling for a smaller project at that site, D'Amato said.

Slicing the pie thinner
The city study isn't being done in reaction to Curto's proposal, Brennan said.

Brennan also said the study wasn't launched because of concerns raised by Greg Marcus, executive vice president of Marcus Corp., which operates three downtown hotels: InterContinental Milwaukee Hotel, Hilton Milwaukee City Center and the Pfister Hotel.

Marcus, in a March 6 letter to Barrett, said efforts to "subsidize construction of hotel rooms without first stimulating demand for those rooms" will "simply siphon off demand from existing (privately financed) hotel rooms."

"They're just dividing the pie into thinner slices," Marcus said Tuesday.

There are downtown hotel proposals that haven't yet sought city financing. They include two hotel plans from local developer Robert Ruvin and his partner, Dallas-based Gatehouse Capital Corp.

Ruvin and Gatehouse last week announced plans for 120-room Aloft Hotel. It will be part of mixed-use development that will include the new offices for Cramer-Krasselt ad agency, north of W. Juneau Ave. and east of N. Old World Third St. Just west of that site, Ruvin and Gatehouse plan to build a 20-story condominium and commercial development, including a 180-room Kimpton Hotel.

Meanwhile, a mixed-use development that includes a 128-room Staybridge Suites extended stay hotel is under construction at the southeast corner of N. Water St. and E. Juneau Ave. That project, led by Development Opportunity Corp., of Fort Myers, Fla., is not receiving city financial help.
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Old March 14th, 2007, 03:43 PM   #773
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Oh really Mr. Marcus (you HYPOCRITE!!!):

SEC Info - Marcus Corp - 10-K405 - For 5/28/98
The Madison Hilton, which is a public/private endeavor with the City of Madison, ... or construction mortgages or commercial lease financing arrangements; ...
www.secinfo.com/dRC12.7dz.htm - 94k

It seems to have slipped his memory that his Hilton hotel in Madison was PUBLICLY financed.

Last edited by historybuffer; March 14th, 2007 at 04:11 PM.
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Old March 14th, 2007, 04:05 PM   #774
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and both the expansion to the milwaukee hilton and the construction of the intercontinental were partly financed through TIF.
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Old March 14th, 2007, 04:16 PM   #775
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and both the expansion to the milwaukee hilton and the construction of the intercontinental were partly financed through TIF.
Does he honestly think we're going to believe that what ever he says is always in the best interest of the public? What an altruist. What a humanitarian.

Gee I wonder why the Ghazi proposal and those preceding for 4th & Wis. weren't for a hotel with 750 + 1 rooms.
LOL
He's a great comedian.

Last edited by historybuffer; March 14th, 2007 at 04:28 PM.
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Old March 14th, 2007, 05:57 PM   #776
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Well that's another big factor when it comes to big things not being built in the city - local business NONsupport. Businesses in this city must feel that they're always on the edge of oblivion or something - from restauraunts to hotels, downtown businesses are on the constant watch to complain about anything new, exciting, and refreshing coming into the city. That's why I mentioned Water St. possibly complaining once again if the Ghazi proposal comes up for TIFs - because the entertainment part MIGHT contain such awesome things like ESPN Zone or Fox Sports Grill - something called COMPETITION.

And well everyone knows you can cave the Common Council if you repeatedly call a certain number of times by yourself.......
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Old March 14th, 2007, 06:34 PM   #777
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Wisconsin Credit Union plans to open central city branch
jsonline.com

A credit union branch is planned for Milwaukee's central city, which has few retail banking outlets. Wisconsin Credit Union Shared Services Inc., which operates joint branch offices for several state credit unions, has proposed a location for the 3700 block of W. North Ave., said Rick Hagopian, president. The 3,000-square-foot branch, with around 12 employees, will supplement shared services branches at 6126 W. Layton Ave., Greenfield, and 6402 W. Brown Deer Road, Brown Deer, Hagopian said. Construction is to begin in April, with the branch open by July, he said.
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Old March 15th, 2007, 01:41 AM   #778
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Strong words came out today from Alderman Donovan concerning the police situation for the summertime. National Guard MPs in Milwaukee streets? Have we gone that low? Realizing this wouldn't fit well in development news, I started a thread @ the US Urban Issues section.

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=451785

Last edited by brewcityfan; March 15th, 2007 at 08:07 PM. Reason: Wrong Name - thanks Miltown
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Old March 15th, 2007, 11:31 AM   #779
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Quote:
Originally Posted by historybuffer View Post
Oh really Mr. Marcus (you HYPOCRITE!!!):

.
Gee, Marcus Corp., what have you done for us lately?
Considering how very much they've contributed over the years to the preservation of downtown, both for profit, of course, and also generously for the community, I think a certain measure of respect is due them, even if one takes issue over a given position.
A respect evidently incompatible with Buffy's pent-up need to howl at the moon.
So, Buffy the Name Caller, what have you done for us lately?
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Old March 15th, 2007, 04:08 PM   #780
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Strong words came out today from Alderman Bauman concerning the police situation for the summertime. National Guard MPs in Milwaukee streets? Have we gone that low? Realizing this wouldn't fit well in development news, I started a thread @ the US Urban Issues section.

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=451785
it was alderman donovan. I don't think buaman wants military police dowtown in his district.


I wish Marcus would propose a hotel tower there would be a 100% chance it got built!
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