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Old April 26th, 2007, 08:01 AM   #1181
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Originally Posted by MilwaukeeD View Post
and I think a lot of on this board (although it is a skyscraper board) have concluded over the past few months that we don't care all that much about the skyline, but rather just the overall density and the pedestrian experience.

I would agree with you if Rivianna were being built at 1st/National, for instance, but I have no problem with any property along the river being built tall. This isn't just some randomly placed project south of downtown, it is there because it is on the river and one of the closest river properties to lake michigan. There aren't too many Milwaukee River properties left anyway, so I think they should be built on densely. Here are the major ones left (that don't have a development proposed, such as Rivianna, Domus, North End, Pleasant Street Market, The Edge, Ruvin's aloft, Block 12, etc.)
- Sites to the east of Rivianna with the grain elevators, etc.
- Site north of First Place, across from Hack
- Site at Plankington and St. Paul, which isn't desirable now due to freeway construction
- The Rock Bottom parking lot
- The lot behind the Marcus Center's parking deck

That's about it. So why not build tall on these river properties so that more people can live on the river and use the riverwalk?
I would actually rather see a highrise at 1st and National than along the river. I think that the river should be lined with buildings about as high as those there now with ver few exceptions for well designed projects. Too many highrises will overshadow the river and make it less plesant to be at. 1st and National, however, is a major traffic point and should be accentuated with a tower of some sort. I think that it would be a great addition to most of the neighborhoods in this city to have highrises (not skyscrapers but 10-12 stories) at some of the more important intersections. They'd help accentuate the skyline and give each neighborhood more of an inward focus. 27th and Wisconsin, North and Lisbon, Mitchell and 13th, King and North, 27th and Highland, etc would all be great places for small highrises in my opinion. They've got the same sort of thing at Oakland and Capitol in Shorewood and it works really well. Most of the buildings are ugly but the concept is good.
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Old April 26th, 2007, 08:17 AM   #1182
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I would actually rather see a highrise at 1st and National than along the river. I think that the river should be lined with buildings about as high as those there now with ver few exceptions for well designed projects. Too many highrises will overshadow the river and make it less plesant to be at. 1st and National, however, is a major traffic point and should be accentuated with a tower of some sort. I think that it would be a great addition to most of the neighborhoods in this city to have highrises (not skyscrapers but 10-12 stories) at some of the more important intersections. They'd help accentuate the skyline and give each neighborhood more of an inward focus. 27th and Wisconsin, North and Lisbon, Mitchell and 13th, King and North, 27th and Highland, etc would all be great places for small highrises in my opinion. They've got the same sort of thing at Oakland and Capitol in Shorewood and it works really well. Most of the buildings are ugly but the concept is good.
Well and that's where I agree with you. Just because something high is proposed someplace else doesn't mean downtown Milwaukee is now any worse than it ever was prior to that. Having a fit because downtown Milwaukee doesn't land every new mid to high rise proposal is proposterous to say the least. You got mid to high rises at the Research Park, Mayfair and North, I-94 and Barker Road, and Park Place for a few more examples. And none of those takes downtown Milwaukee's flavor away.
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Old April 26th, 2007, 04:15 PM   #1183
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Because, for the umpteenth time, I DON'T WANT TO SEE HIGHRISES ALL OVER THE DAMN PLACE!! Let's determine a zoned area for such development. High rises south of downtown, no way! Our skyline is challenged enough...let's not throw up taller buildings willy nilly. Concentrate damn it, CONCENTRATE!!
Or, we will simply never, ever have a skyline worth jack.

!!!!We all know you feel this way!!!!! Unfortunatley when a developer is looking to build a highrise they usually don't look at the entire skyline and see where it would look best, they look at a growing area and see where they could make the most money!!!! Many cities across the country have spread out skylines and to change that,, well i dont know what you could do........
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Old April 26th, 2007, 05:29 PM   #1184
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West side hotel will get upgrade

Rick Wiegand, who dramatically renovated the Ambassador Hotel at 2308 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, is now renovating the Executive Inn across the street at 2301 W. Wisconsin Ave.

Rick Wiegand is my kind of guy. I remember back in '03 he gave me a little tour of the Ambassador Hotel as it was undergoing renovation. Rick was not some big-time developer with deep pockets. He's just a regular guy who had experience in the construction trades, and decided to buy the decrepit Ambassador Hotel for cheap and slowly renovate it over time, floor by floor, gradually taking out larger and larger chunks of money to get the job done. When I was there the top two floors had been redone into nice hotel rooms with great views, while the rest of the building was still seedy single-room-occupancy apartments.

I'm sure when Rick first bought the Ambassador in the late 1990s people thought he was nuts. The Ambassador was one of the most notorious dens of vice in the city, the level of seediness and the messed up things that went on there were legendary. Rick was one of the few people who could see the beautiful gem lying hidden beneath the layers of grime that was the Ambassador. He had the vision, took steps to realize that vision, and now the west side and the city as a whole is better for it. Thanks to his work the area just west of Marquette is no longer the armpit of the city.
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Old April 26th, 2007, 08:05 PM   #1185
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What Milwaukee Needs



Milwaukee needs more of those developers. Self-starters who know the value in the city, not just the lasted craze.
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Old April 26th, 2007, 08:11 PM   #1186
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Saint John's on the Lake contemplates new tower
Saint John's on the Lake, a complex of senior apartments, assisted living suites and skilled nursing home beds at 1840 N. Prospect Ave. on Milwaukee's east side, is making plans for an expansion.
"We're certainly looking at that as an option," said Kathleen Eilers, president of St. John's Communities. "We're at the stage of looking at what the options are and gauging the market interest."
The expansion would be built on the parking lot on the southern portion of the St. John's site. The complex, built in 1979, currently has 120 independent senior apartments in a 10-story building connected to a three-story building with 20 assisted living suites and 52 skilled nursing home beds.
Saint John's is contemplating a 100-unit expansion of the independent senior apartments, Eilers said. The new building for those apartments could be taller than the complex's 10-story tower, because the new apartments will probably be larger than the existing ones and the new building will likely include additional amenities such as a swimming pool and a fitness center, she said.
"One of the things we see is people today are interested in larger apartments," Eilers said. "It probably would be bigger (than the current tower). It well might be taller."
Saint John's on the Lake will host a series of informational sessions to gauge market interest in the project.
"We're in the test-the-market stage," Eilers said. That process will probably last through the summer, she said.
The property's location along Prospect Avenue is on top of a bluff that overlooks Lake Michigan. In large part because of those lake views, Prospect Avenue is a prominent Milwaukee address that has attracted several high-end, high-rise residential developments.
The aging of the baby boomer population is creating a growing market for senior apartments.
"We think we have something special to offer," Eilers said.




Hey, SBT must read this site.
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Old April 26th, 2007, 08:29 PM   #1187
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Originally Posted by milwaukeeunseen View Post
I'm sure when Rick first bought the Ambassador in the late 1990s people thought he was nuts. The Ambassador was one of the most notorious dens of vice in the city, the level of seediness and the messed up things that went on there were legendary. Rick was one of the few people who could see the beautiful gem lying hidden beneath the layers of grime that was the Ambassador. He had the vision, took steps to realize that vision, and now the west side and the city as a whole is better for it. Thanks to his work the area just west of Marquette is no longer the armpit of the city.
True indeed (and well said). Didn't Dahmer frequent the Ambassador? Why is it always these older hotels that seem to go the way of the flop-house? We've had the same problem in Chicago with some of the older hotels--The Bel-Air, Cedar Hotel, Starr Hotel (demolished)--hosting transients, criminals, derelicts, addicts, hustlers, even child molesters.
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Old April 26th, 2007, 08:47 PM   #1188
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True indeed (and well said). Didn't Dahmer frequent the Ambassador? Why is it always these older hotels that seem to go the way of the flop-house? We've had the same problem in Chicago with some of the older hotels--The Bel-Air, Cedar Hotel, Starr Hotel (demolished)--hosting transients, criminals, derelicts, addicts, hustlers, even child molesters.
Actually Dahmer was a resident of the Ambassador for a time, and one of his murders occured there. Looking at the Ambassador how you would never imagine just how horrible it was back in the day. When I visited in '03 even I was a little reluctant to step foot in the lobby based on some things I had heard.

I think the reason old hotels so often turn into seedy SROs is after the hotel business is no longer profitable owners of these hotels seque into the SRO rent-by-the-week market in order to pay the bills. Once they step into that market it's a precipitous fall into shitty flop-house land.

It's hard to turn these places around overnight because it requires full scale eviction of current tenants and tons of money to get the building physically up to the standard of a modern hotel. The fact that Rick Wiegend accoplished this without the backing of any big time hotel chains is truly remarkable.
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Old April 26th, 2007, 10:46 PM   #1189
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Flophouses are the shit...about as seedy an establishment you can get. For someone who is fascinated by the underbelly of urban life, I've always been interested in them (although I've never been in one).

I think most have been pushed out of the downtown area, but there are some left on the near west and south sides. On particualrly scary one is near 16th and national, but I forgot the name. It advertises itself as a hotel but looks like a crackhouse. The first time I saw it, I thought "who goes in to these places?" I'll take a picture of it when I do my photo tour down there this summer.
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Old April 26th, 2007, 11:43 PM   #1190
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I was at Marquette back in '79 when the Ambassador was partly a dorm. I didn't live there, but I was in a few times. It reminded me of an old train station. Pretty good bar, though.

Mind you, we could drink at 18 in those days.

Last edited by mbradleyc; April 26th, 2007 at 11:50 PM.
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Old April 27th, 2007, 12:47 AM   #1191
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!!!!We all know you feel this way!!!!! Unfortunatley when a developer is looking to build a highrise they usually don't look at the entire skyline and see where it would look best, they look at a growing area and see where they could make the most money!!!! Many cities across the country have spread out skylines and to change that,, well i dont know what you could do........
I understand that, but that's where the city's dept. of devlopment needs to step up and earn their keep. Other cities around the country seem to get this done...it's called PLANNING.
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Old April 27th, 2007, 04:04 AM   #1192
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An aesthetically pleasing skyline is like you said in the eye of the beholder. My only belief is that Milwaukee’s skyline would benefit well from a signature tower that stands above the crowd.

I defiantly don’t think that the city should be turning away significant investment. It’s a tough call but it’s important to realize that there are many issues in play here.
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Old April 27th, 2007, 05:11 AM   #1193
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I understand that, but that's where the city's dept. of devlopment needs to step up and earn their keep. Other cities around the country seem to get this done...it's called PLANNING.
That said I think it's highly sill to restrict any expansion of skyscraper development from moving south. I think a tall building breaking the average warehouse/condo height in the Third Ward could really add to both the urban fabric at street level and in skyline profile. It's the Fifth Ward and Walker's Point where one should be more concerned about high rises.
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Old April 27th, 2007, 06:10 AM   #1194
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I would have to argue that while a skyline can look nice, what residents care about is the lifestyle. The Third Ward offers a different style of living than other parts of downtown, and that the height restriction is just a way of preserving the warehouse district from becoming highrises. If development occurred just to create a good skyline, then it wouldn't be profitable, because it wouldn't be catering to the needs and wants of the people who would live/work there. For most people, the skyline is the least important factor when investing in a project.
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Old April 27th, 2007, 07:19 AM   #1195
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Old April 27th, 2007, 08:27 AM   #1196
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i kinda like yours better?
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Old April 27th, 2007, 04:39 PM   #1197
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i kinda like yours better?
haha -- i like his more as well!
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Old April 27th, 2007, 05:01 PM   #1198
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underrated bar in riverwest

No RSVP Needed: House of Frank N Stein
Posted: April 26, 2007

When: 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday, closed SundaysHouse of Frank N Stein

Frankenstein's presence can be seen if not felt.

Address: 726 E. Center St.

Phone: (414) 264-4440

What it's like here: This place is creepy - but in a good way. Originally built as a funeral home more than 100 years ago, it became a bar about a year and a half ago. Dark red lights accent the predominantly red décor, adding to the eerie effect. There's a pool table in the back and an enclosed patio off the east side of the building. Because of its former use, this place's popularity is driven by word of mouth that draws in Riverwest residents as well as others from around the state.

What you'll be drinking: Bottled beer and malt beverages are your only options here, but that doesn't mean you'll go thirsty. The bar has more than 100 options, including a slew of specialty brews as well as light lagers, dark stouts and others. The most popular beers are Strongbow Cider and anything from the nearby Lakefront Brewery. For malt beverages, there are a number of fruity, lemonade-like varieties such as Smirnoff Ice.

What else: By now, you've probably guessed from the name that not only do they serve beer but also a number of hot dogs. You can get a plain dog, one with the works or even a veggie frank - all reasonably priced. The bar also serves chili and Monster Nachos. All food is served until closing time. Karaoke junkies can get their fix here; it's on the menu six nights a week (except Sundays, when the bar is closed), starting at 9.

- Steven Potter, [email protected]
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Old April 27th, 2007, 06:47 PM   #1199
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I think most have been pushed out of the downtown area, but there are some left on the near west and south sides. On particualrly scary one is near 16th and national, but I forgot the name. It advertises itself as a hotel but looks like a crackhouse. The first time I saw it, I thought "who goes in to these places?" I'll take a picture of it when I do my photo tour down there this summer.
There's still a flophouse on Wisconsin Avenue between 6th & 7th Streets, right next to the newly-condoized Wisconsin Tower.

I have been in a flop house once, in Walkers Point about ten years ago. The place was full of all kinds of sketchy characters, and the common bathroom on the floor was .... let's just say the image is burned in my mind for eternity.
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Old April 27th, 2007, 08:27 PM   #1200
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I would have to argue that while a skyline can look nice, what residents care about is the lifestyle. The Third Ward offers a different style of living than other parts of downtown, and that the height restriction is just a way of preserving the warehouse district from becoming highrises. If development occurred just to create a good skyline, then it wouldn't be profitable, because it wouldn't be catering to the needs and wants of the people who would live/work there. For most people, the skyline is the least important factor when investing in a project.
Correct. I agree, and have maintained this thought all along: No buildings taller than 10 stories should be built in the Third Ward, Walker's Point, The Fifth Ward, Sixth, Seventh, Tenth...any ward! I'd like to see city leaders and developers develop a concise, well-planned (yeah, that's going to happen) downtown. And, downtown -- in my opinion -- is defined as east of I-43, north of I-794, south of, and including, Park East, and west of (duh) the lake. With one exception, and that's Milwaukee's own devloping "Gold Coast" stretch north of downtown along the lakefront. While I'm a fan of developing a vibrant and more impressive downtown, I think there's something to be said for the look along Prospect Ave. And, if your're a condo developer selling million dollar views, you sure better have a good view of the lake.
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