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Discussion Starter #1
Figured this project technically hit our 15 story rule so here's it's own thread-

Here's the low down:

Developer - Ascendant Holdings LLC of Madison
Architects - Kraig Kalashian Architecture and Design and Metro Studio
Hotel Operator - Provenance Hotels of Portland
Anticipated Completion: Fall 2018
Size: 220 room hotel - 18 floors total (14 tower, 3 existing, 1 void)
Media Coverage:
 

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I am wondering (and am curious what you guys think) if they are planning on removing the art deco façade when the do the restoration. I personally love art deco, BUT I think the original brick looks way better and way more "Milwaukee". I think the brick would play with the glass tower better as well.
 

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I am wondering (and am curious what you guys think) if they are planning on removing the art deco façade when the do the restoration. I personally love art deco, BUT I think the original brick looks way better and way more "Milwaukee". I think the brick would play with the glass tower better as well.
I'm assuming they will keep the current facade since that's what the renderings show, but I do agree the original is nice.



From http://urbanmilwaukee.com/2017/01/18/eyes-on-milwaukee-the-masonic-hotel-moves-forward/
 

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I really like how unique this will be to Milwaukee with the triangular steel beams. Very Hearst Tower NYC.

And I like the contrast of new and old and am happy this building will be respected with a new life. This section of Downtown is filling up beautifully!!
 

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I guess I'll have to wait until it is constructed before I render a final verdict on it because as of right now, the rendering just doesn't do it for me.
 

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Such an odd project, in so many ways.

1) The design - totally unique and avante-garde for Milwaukee (or any city outisde of a handful). It's totally unique.

2) The fact that it's built on top of an existing building - unprecedented for Milwaukee and rare in most cities.

3) The fact that it's not a franchise of a larger hotel - very mysterious.
 

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I was on the architect's website a bit, and they have done mostly interior remodels. That could be why the rendering looks kinda low quality. Hopefully, when this gets approved we will get some much higher detail renderings. I do like the look of their work, though. Their Instagram is filled with inspiration from around New York City (especially the Met) so I would not be surprised if the Hearst Tower is indeed an inspiration.
 

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I love it.

I think that The Void is super neat. This is a building floating above a building! I like the design and think it will look great right across the street from 777 VB and a block from the NML Tower and Commons.

I think this is spectacular infill. The hotel will have a restaurant and 220 rooms, which beats the Kimpton and Westin (158 and 200). Add that to the 308 apartments at 777 VB and all the new employees at NML, and we have a TON more foot traffic in this area to support more commercial space. Plus it's a block from the first streetcar route.


The roof of the existing building is ~50'. This addition adds 15 floors of hotel, which are conservatively ~10', giving a total of over 200'.

This won't be skyline altering, especially from the south and west, where it will be almost completely hidden. It'll be pretty visible north of State St, and will fill in little gaps from some angles and add another layer to Juneautown. It'll also be visible from some angles in Veterans Park and Lakeshore Park, and maybe even the Summerfest Grounds.

I'm super excited and really hope this happens. What a time for the city.
 

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...or the design gets dumbed down.
This is where I miss Whitney Gould at the Journal Sentinel. A voice like hers championing place making architecture would be valuable in ensuring a design like this is protected. In her current position her voice is muted.

Her value in stopping the initial Cudahy Discovery World misfire and pushing for modern design with rebuilding the 6th Street viaduct are two cases where without Whitney we may have been saddled with generational mistakes as opposed to satisfactory additions to the cityscape.
 

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This is where I miss Whitney Gould at the Journal Sentinel. A voice like hers championing place making architecture would be valuable in ensuring a design like this is protected. In her current position her voice is muted.

Her value in stopping the initial Cudahy Discovery World misfire and pushing for modern design with rebuilding the 6th Street viaduct are two cases where without Whitney we may have been saddled with generational mistakes as opposed to satisfactory additions to the cityscape.
I can't recall if I have ever seen the initial proposal, do you know where it could be found?
 

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Since there has been so much discussion on this forum regarding the design of this tower I thought people would be interested in this article from UrbanMilwaukee.com. I have posted two of the more detailed renderings from the article showing the design of the tower portion of the project. There are actually several more if you are interested in reading the entire article.

More Views of Masonic Hotel

Additional design details on the proposed hotel for the Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic Center have become available as the project begins making its way through a potentially lengthy city approval process. Under a proposal by developer Ascendant Holdings, the firm would acquire the historic building at 790 N. Van Buren St. and add a 14-floor, 220-room tower to the southeast corner of the building.

http://urbanmilwaukee.com/2017/01/24/eyes-on-milwaukee-more-views-of-masonic-hotel/



 

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I don't think it could honestly get much better than this. If the city wants this building preserved I think they are going to have to let this thing pass. It looks pretty well thought out. The rooftop beer garden seamlessly meshes the historic lower part with the modern tower. It also makes those pillars look a lot better. The slight indentation of the tower is sort of cool too, adding some more visual interest to the tower.

They keep comparing this building to the Marriott but it's not at all like it and needs to stop being compared to it. These guys aren't looking to demolish any historical buildings but essentially build a separate structure levitating above one while bringing it back to life. If the city finds a way to shoot this down, I hope they are planning on funding a renovation themselves or watching the structure fall into disrepair.
 

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splat8, thanks for posting that elevation.

using google earth to get a dimension of the existing masonic building, i scaled that elevation drawing accordingly and i got a height figure from the grade to the top of the elevator penthouse of ~213' tall, just a bit shorter than nearby cathedral place (244'). not bad.
 

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Seeing the renderings, this has really grown on me. Now one of my favorite of the potential projects because it really deviates from anything currently in the city. Also could be a great template for preserving some of the one of kind historical structures while giving them new life. If the project happens, I vote the SSC Milwaukee team grabs a drink on the rooftop beer garden.
 

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I don't think it could honestly get much better than this. If the city wants this building preserved I think they are going to have to let this thing pass. It looks pretty well thought out. The rooftop beer garden seamlessly meshes the historic lower part with the modern tower. It also makes those pillars look a lot better. The slight indentation of the tower is sort of cool too, adding some more visual interest to the tower.

They keep comparing this building to the Marriott but it's not at all like it and needs to stop being compared to it. These guys aren't looking to demolish any historical buildings but essentially build a separate structure levitating above one while bringing it back to life. If the city finds a way to shoot this down, I hope they are planning on funding a renovation themselves or watching the structure fall into disrepair.
I agree completely. Other than having another church take over the property, which seems highly unlikely, what other possible adaptive reuse could this building be but a hotel? The tower is a bold architectural statement that doesn't try to mimic the original design, which is the only way this could work, I think.
 
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