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Old March 26th, 2007, 11:20 PM   #921
honest86
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thats silly. The air-taxi would be for those of us who are too cool to ride a train to Chicago everyday. who needs KMR when you can fly.
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Old March 26th, 2007, 11:27 PM   #922
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Originally Posted by milwaukeeunseen View Post
As a regular helicopter commuter I can't tell you how much I would love a nice helipad in Downtown Milwaukee. It would be so nice to just shoot right downtown from my house in Sherman Park in 30 seconds, land safely and get to work in style. Instead my pilot spends at least five minutes every day circling downtown looking for a good place to land. Sometimes we get lucky and find an empty top floor of a parking deck. Sometimes we're not so lucky and we have to land in Veteran's Park. The liability on that shit is crazy, let me tell you.

Seriously, though, it is inevitible that something will be built on that site, because riverfront condo sites have too much market value to sit idle. Whether it will be this large and with a helipad remains to be seen, but a substantial condo project will be built on that site by the end of the decade.
The comedy over this heliport is very amusing - we should have a race to see who can land the fastest and the closest to our destinations sometime!!

Anyways, there is much too high of demand right now for Walkers Point (especially along the river) to be ignored. I think Rivianna has a great chance of being approved, and I look forward to something a bit higher south of the US Bank tower - at times I think of our downtown view from I-94 E as a rocky cliff - with the Bank tower as the highest point then you can just drop off from there.
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Old March 27th, 2007, 12:10 AM   #923
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The comedy over this heliport is very amusing - we should have a race to see who can land the fastest and the closest to our destinations sometime!!
Just think of the suburban sprawl if everyone commuted by helicopter. I mean, if you could get from Oshkosh to Milwaukee in twenty minutes, then Oshkosh could become a commuter suburb of Milwaukee.
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Old March 27th, 2007, 06:35 PM   #924
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This isn't as far fetched as you think. There is regular jet helicopter service between Seattle and Vancouver and Victoria Island, a similarly sized area, geographically.
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Old March 27th, 2007, 09:16 PM   #925
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Just think of the suburban sprawl if everyone commuted by helicopter. I mean, if you could get from Oshkosh to Milwaukee in twenty minutes, then Oshkosh could become a commuter suburb of Milwaukee.
I never thought of it that way! Milwaukee's metro area could meet Chicagoland a lot sooner than 2020 if that was possible.

And you never know....it could start a trend and draw a lot of elite from Chicagoland - maybe some companies if their CEOs like it that much
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Old March 28th, 2007, 07:56 AM   #926
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Good news for vacant downtown properties. From today's JS:
Quote:
Investors full of hope for empty buildings
Plans for prime downtown spots include hotel
By TOM DAYKIN
[email protected]
Posted: March 27, 2007
A group of empty, crumbling buildings in a high-profile downtown Milwaukee location are getting new attention from investors, but at least one owner remains unsure of what he'll do with his properties.

The buildings are on the south side of E. Wisconsin Ave., from N. Milwaukee St. to around N. Broadway, and on Milwaukee St. and Broadway, south of Wisconsin Ave. Despite being within a few blocks of downtown's largest office towers, and near several new nightclubs and restaurants, the buildings have remained largely vacant for years.

"That's an area that's in need of development," said developer Craig Stoehr, whose local investors group last year bought one of the long-vacant buildings.

Stoehr's group, Milwaukee Nowi LLC, in February 2006 purchased a 65,000-square-foot building at 625 N. Milwaukee St. for just under $2.2 million, according to assessment records.

Stoehr's group is studying the possible conversion of the four-story building into a mid-market hotel, which would target business travelers. The project would be partially financed through federal and state tax credits given to property owners who restore historic buildings.

The building, constructed in 1870, has been vacant for several years. Its previous owner, Northbrook, Ill.-based Levin Properties Inc., planned to lease it to businesses that provide switch and data facilities for telecommunications companies and Internet service providers. However, Levin Properties bought the building in 2000, just as the tech bubble was bursting.

Other new property owners in the neighborhood include DTC LLC, an investors group led by Icon Development Corp., of Franklin. The Icon group in June bought three buildings totaling about 23,500 square feet - at 219-227 E. Wisconsin Ave., 631-635 N. Broadway and 627-629 N. Broadway - for $1.1 million. The buildings are largely vacant, except for a small convenience store.

Icon last week applied for a grant from the Department of City Development to help pay for facade repairs, and hopes to begin that work by summer, said John Klement, Icon director of development.

"Those buildings have looked the same for such a long time," Klement said. "They need to be freshened up."

Downtown potential
Icon bought the buildings from an investment group led by Bricton Group Inc., based in Park Ridge, Ill., that had planned to raze the properties and develop a hotel. Bricton dropped those plans in 2001 when it was unable to buy a neighboring property to make the development site large enough to accommodate the project. Bricton later joined other investors to buy the former downtown Howard Johnson Inn & Suites, which was remodeled last year into a Hampton Inn & Suites, 176 W. Wisconsin Ave.

Icon wants to develop space for stores and restaurants on the street level, with second-story offices, and has been pitching those plans to prospective tenants. The area is a strong location because it's close to major hotels, office buildings and the Milwaukee Art Museum, Klement said. Restaurants and shops could target the downtown lunch crowd, as well as both business and leisure travelers, he said.

Another major property owner is Milwaukee attorney Robert Levine, whose Marshall Block Inc. owns nearly all of the south side of Wisconsin Ave., between Milwaukee St. and Broadway. The exception is the former Reckmeyer Furs building at the southwest corner of Wisconsin Ave. and Milwaukee St., which Racine-based Johnson Bank bought in 2000 and renovated into its Milwaukee division headquarters. Most of the remaining space on that block's south side is vacant.

One of Marshall Block's properties, a 51,900-square-foot building that wraps around the southeast corner of Wisconsin Ave. and Broadway, has been in Levine's family since 1967.

The three-story building, at 301-315 E. Wisconsin Ave., is largely empty. A lack of nighttime foot traffic and other factors led Antigua restaurant to move last year to West Allis. Also, Cousins Subs recently moved across the street, to 324 E. Wisconsin Ave.

Marshall Block last June bought four nearby buildings: 319-323 E. Wisconsin Ave., 327 E. Wisconsin Ave., 627 N. Milwaukee St., and 629-631 N. Milwaukee St. Those buildings, totaling 58,000 square feet, were purchased in June from local investor Howard Spector for $1.65 million, according to assessment records.

One of the Wisconsin Ave. buildings houses Downtown Books, a used bookstore, and the other has been empty since Walgreen Co. closed its store over five years ago. The two Milwaukee St. buildings, which are north of Stoehr's property, are vacant.

Levine said Marshall Block bought the additional buildings to create a larger site for a possible office tower development. Levine's building at 301-315 E. Wisconsin Ave. and other nearby properties have been pitched as a potential office site since 2003.

But Robert W. Baird & Co., which had been considering a possible move from the U.S. Bank Center, 777 E. Wisconsin Ave., said in February that it was renewing its lease at that location. Baird became the latest prospective office tenant to pass on Levine's site.

Levine said he and his partner, Gary Janko, of Deerfield, Ill.-based Quadrangle Development Co., have since been discussing other scenarios, including renovating the properties. But the buildings have deteriorated, and could prove to be very costly to restore, Levine said. That raises the prospect of razing the buildings to provide a site for new development, he said.

"We're trying to decide what to do," Levine said.

Ald. Robert Bauman, whose district includes downtown, said he likely would oppose razing the buildings, some of which date back to the 1890s. Bauman said he prefers renovations for the buildings, which he said have "classic storefronts."

"I think there's tremendous potential on that block," Bauman said.
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Old March 28th, 2007, 03:48 PM   #927
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewcityfan View Post
I never thought of it that way! Milwaukee's metro area could meet Chicagoland a lot sooner than 2020 if that was possible.

And you never know....it could start a trend and draw a lot of elite from Chicagoland - maybe some companies if their CEOs like it that much
Be careful what you wish for...
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Old March 28th, 2007, 06:36 PM   #928
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Quote:
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Be careful what you wish for...
Am I missing something that should have been put in my previous post? I was thinking drawing in different companies to the city would be a good thing for the Milwaukee and greater Wisconsin economy.

I mean granted Milwaukee would have more traffic backups and a lot more people crowding Summerfest, but aren't we all in for Milwaukee growth?
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Old March 28th, 2007, 06:58 PM   #929
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It would be best to tear down all of those old buildings. Prime locations in downtown is being misused. When I am downtown the facade of some of those buildings is gone. Many of these should be torn down to open ways for new development. But of course if that happens it would become a parking lot because no one will develop there for about 15 years.
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Old March 28th, 2007, 07:02 PM   #930
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It would be best to tear down all of those old buildings. Prime locations in downtown is being misused. When I am downtown the facade of some of those buildings is gone. Many of these should be torn down to open ways for new development. But of course if that happens it would become a parking lot because no one will develop there for about 15 years.
Too bad the older buildings can't add more structural support to add on floors to the current buildings. While it might cost more to do that than tear down and start anew, it would keep old Milwaukee together - and generate a new feel for workers and residents living there.
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Old March 28th, 2007, 07:33 PM   #931
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Some more details on Rivianna

Fifth Ward development could include helipad
biztimes.com

Rivianna, a proposed Fifth Ward condo and hotel development planned by developer Bob Schultz, could include a unique amenity in Milwaukee: helicopter air taxi service to Chicago. Rivianna would have a 100-room hotel and 192 condominiums at 236 S. Water St., along the south side of the Milwaukee River. The building would have three 11-story towers built on top of a four-story base building.

The hotel would be in the middle tower, and the helipad would be on top of that tower. The building would include a lounge for people waiting to take the helicopter. Schultz said he is in discussions with Midwest Helicopter Inc. to provide the air taxi service. Midwest Helicopter would pay a fee to use the Rivianna helipad. "We are definitely moving in that direction," Schultz said. "Our discussions are past serious."


Another proposed development, a 42-story mixed-use building planned by JBK Properties Inc. just southeast of the U.S. Bank Center at 777 E. Wisconsin Ave., had included a helipad in the plans, but was later removed. That project is still in the planning stage and is seeking an anchor office tenant. Schultz said he is not sure if the air taxi service would be made available to the general public. However, corporations could purchase a share of a helicopter which would be kept at Midwest Helicopter's Kenosha facility. The corporate owners then could share usage of the helicopter and use Rivianna's helipad.

"That is by far the most economical way of owning any type of aircraft," Schultz said. Business people could use the air taxi service as a way to quickly travel to and from Chicago, while avoiding Chicago area traffic. Schultz said he previously worked for a real estate developer in Eau Claire, where he used a helicopter frequently to travel to and from development sites. "There are people that think this helipad is a hair-brained scheme," Schultz said. "(But) I found the helicopter to be a very useful tool."

Schultz partnered with St. Paul, Minn.-based CommonBond Communities Inc. to redevelop the former Teweles Seed Co. building at 222 S. Third St. He also is a partner in the River Renaissance development under construction at the corner of North Water and East Erie streets in Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward. Details of the Rivianna project are still being developed, and the project still must be approved by city officials. The hotel would probably be operated by Rick Eckert, the owner of Olympia Resort & Conference Center in Oconomowoc. The condos would have a wide price range of $150,000 to $3 million.

The building will also have its own yacht club, in which residents will be able to share yachts. Schultz is not seeking a city subsidy for the project, but still says he is committed to providing community benefits with the development. The construction workers who build Rivianna will be union members, and 25 percent of the construction workers will be women or minorities, he said. The building will be an environmentally-friendly "green building," and Schultz is hoping to obtain a silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. Schultz is also seeking minority- and women-owned businesses to provide services for the project.

"I am committed to socially responsible real estate development," Schultz said. Schultz said he expects to obtain city approval for the project in May. He plans to break ground next spring and complete the project in 2010.
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Old March 28th, 2007, 07:38 PM   #932
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I'm still curious - with all these luxurious things like a yacht club and a heliport - why bother having prices on condos as low as $150,000? Wouldn't it just be better to have all condos priced a little higher since the condo/hotel complex is luring that crowd anyways?
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Old March 28th, 2007, 07:49 PM   #933
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewcityfan View Post
I'm still curious - with all these luxurious things like a yacht club and a heliport - why bother having prices on condos as low as $150,000? Wouldn't it just be better to have all condos priced a little higher since the condo/hotel complex is luring that crowd anyways?

Okay people with lower incomes or people who don't want to spend an arm and a leg for a condo in a great area can't have an opportunity like this. Thanks for telling me.....
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Old March 28th, 2007, 08:52 PM   #934
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewcityfan View Post
I'm still curious - with all these luxurious things like a yacht club and a heliport - why bother having prices on condos as low as $150,000? Wouldn't it just be better to have all condos priced a little higher since the condo/hotel complex is luring that crowd anyways?
When you separate out the social classes you create ghettos. Milwaukee is already the most divided city, why try to divide it even more. Besides it is probably designed to appeal to the broadest group of buyers possible. If it was such a narrow scoped project, they would have trouble getting investors.
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Old March 28th, 2007, 11:05 PM   #935
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I hope that they don't demolish those buildings. It's easy to find land to build a skyscraper in Milwaukee but impossible to build anything like them again.
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Old March 28th, 2007, 11:13 PM   #936
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miltown View Post
Okay people with lower incomes or people who don't want to spend an arm and a leg for a condo in a great area can't have an opportunity like this. Thanks for telling me.....
Quote:
Originally Posted by honest86 View Post
When you separate out the social classes you create ghettos. Milwaukee is already the most divided city, why try to divide it even more. Besides it is probably designed to appeal to the broadest group of buyers possible. If it was such a narrow scoped project, they would have trouble getting investors.
I have no problem with allowing people who can only afford $150,000 for a condo to live there. I was just wondering why not maximize the potential for the facilities this project is offering. I mean, miltown, obviously people with a lower income aren't going to be sailing on a yacht from the yacht club anytime soon, are they? Or flying on a heliocopter to Chicago? That's all I was pointing out. I was more than happy when I saw Third Ward condos start out in the $150,000 range - hell even my family was considering to purchase one.
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Old March 29th, 2007, 05:04 PM   #937
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Maybe when Chicago gets the Olympics, foreign heads of state can stay in Milwaukee and use the helipad as a launching point to the games.

Personally, I'd really like to see a daily cruiseship/ferry from Milwaukee to Chicago. I think there would be a lot of business. Head out in the early morning and have breakfast on the boat, shop/tour all day, head back at night. The only catch, for Milwaukee tourism, is that it would have to dock somewhere better than the current port. Something tells me that tourism wouldn't be great if you stepped out in a run-down area just south of a waste treatment plant.

Here's an old article on that: http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=169818
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Old March 29th, 2007, 08:26 PM   #938
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Quote:
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Am I missing something that should have been put in my previous post? I was thinking drawing in different companies to the city would be a good thing for the Milwaukee and greater Wisconsin economy.

I mean granted Milwaukee would have more traffic backups and a lot more people crowding Summerfest, but aren't we all in for Milwaukee growth?
I only say this because, living in Kenosha, I have had my fill of FIBs. It is with mixed feelings that I watch the influx of people moving to Milwaukee.

I like Chicago a lot and I'm not particularly provincial, having lived all over the country. It is mostly just a few jerks that piss me off sometimes.


I remember that article about the hovercraft. It doesn't seem practical. I guess it would need special landing facilities.

There is a dock built into the new breakwater by Pier Wisconsin specifically for cruise ships, etc. The high speed ferry could stop there for passengers. Cars would still need to go to the southside, but day trippers could use it.

Last edited by mbradleyc; March 29th, 2007 at 11:59 PM.
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Old March 29th, 2007, 10:46 PM   #939
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriol View Post
I only say this because, living in Kenosha, I have had my fill of FIBs. It is with mixed feelings that I watch the influx of people moving to Milwaukee.

I like Chicago a lot and I'm not particularly provincial, having lived all over the country. It is mostly just a few jerks that piss me off sometimes.


I remember that article about the hovercraft. It doesn't seem practicalI guess it would need special landing facilities.

There is a dock built into the new breakwater by Pier Wisconsin specifically for cruise ships, etc. The high speed ferry could stop there for passengers. Cars would still need to go to the southside, but day trippers could use it.
Well hey, look at it this way - with a heliport wealthy Chicagoans won't need to use their cars or take taxis (for anyone who's been to the Loop, I don't know how those drivers get their approval and license by the state!). So, additional FIBs won't be driving our streets.

Last edited by brewcityfan; March 30th, 2007 at 06:18 AM.
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Old March 30th, 2007, 04:37 AM   #940
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Quote:
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It would be best to tear down all of those old buildings. Prime locations in downtown is being misused. When I am downtown the facade of some of those buildings is gone. Many of these should be torn down to open ways for new development. But of course if that happens it would become a parking lot because no one will develop there for about 15 years.

I agree. It's high time the city knocked that utterly unsightly block down. It's an architecturally insignificant part of downtown that really makes the whole block look a little blighted. No need to worry about historic preservation here...I'm pretty sure these buildings were seen as eyesores from day one. Not to mention it stands in the most prime commerical real estate lot in downtown Milwaukee.
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