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Saving Wally Schmidt: Historic restaurant and tavern plans a revamp

From On Milwaukee:

Maybe you've driven past Wally Schmidt's. It's a beautiful old brick building at 1848 W. Fond du Lac Ave. And it used to be the home of a lively tavern – a neighborhood gathering spot where owner Wally Schmidt and his wife Bella would serve up crisp, warm fish fries on Friday evenings.

Recent years haven't been good to Wally Schmidt's. The building itself has been empty for about five years, and vandals have disrespected the once lovely interior, leaving broken mirrors and trash in their wake. But it's located in a neighborhood where residents care about the community and are working to restore it to its former vitality.

Their efforts have garnered the attention of patrons like the Zilber Family Foundation, who helped neighbors and partners to enact a plan to enhance the neighborhood's social, economic and physical conditions, including restoration of the commercial corridor along Fond du Lac Avenue, which is just blocks away from Downtown and the site of the new Bucks Arena.

The neighborhood has also attracted the attention of developer Juli Kaufmann and co-developer Jeremy Davis, Lindsay Heights resident and environmental specialist at Walnut Way Conservation Corp., who have hatched a plan to restore the Wally Schmidt tavern to its former grandeur.
The article also includes several historic pictures of the building, both interior and exterior. This looks like a really great restoration project.
 

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I don't know if most people would consider this north side news or not, but I was not sure exactly where to post it. Anyways I thought some people might find this project kind of interesting. It sounds like this development might almost be rowhouse like if I am understanding it correctly.

Gorman & Co. planning multi-family housing in Washington Park

Gorman & Company is planning a multi-family housing development in the Washington Park Neighborhood that will include 40 attached single-family homes in six buildings.

Washington Park Townhomes will include 26 two-bedroom units and 14 three-bedroom units, according to plans submitted to the city of Milwaukee. In addition, there will be a 900-square-foot community building that will house a leasing office, a small conference room and maintenance shop.


http://www.biztimes.com/2015/12/03/gorman-co-planning-multi-family-housing-in-washington-park-neighborhood/
 

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I don't remember this project being proposed, but it kind of stinks that it is being dropped. It sounds like it would have been an OK project and something on an underused site is always better than it sitting empty and useless.

Apartments proposal dropped for former St. Michael Hospital site

A proposal to develop apartments for lower-income families at Milwaukee's former St. Michael Hospital site has been dropped because of opposition from neighborhood residents.

Horizon wanted to build the 60-unit apartment community on around 3.5 acres of the northern portion of the site, which is north of W. Villard Ave. and east of N. 25th St.

The development would have featured three 20-unit buildings with two-story, townhouse-style apartments, Schultz said in November.


http://www.jsonline.com/business/apartments-proposal-dropped-for-former-st-michael-hospital-site-b99627217z1-360060261.html
 

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More Walnut Way news:

The Social Development Commission, which runs support programs for low-income Milwaukee County residents, is downsizing its space to save money after buying a building on North Avenue.

The organization in early February will move to 1730 W. North Ave. in Milwaukee from space it currently leases at 4041 N. Richards St. near Capitol Drive. Social Development Commission’s current space is larger than it needs because it no longer runs the Milwaukee Head Start program or provides Wisconsin Works, or W-2, services.

“Our fiduciary responsibilities called for SDC to find a location that reduced property expenses to better align with the size of the agency,” said SDC CEO George Hinton.

The move will add more activity to the Walnut Way neighborhood. It is near the recently completed Walnut Way Innovation and Wellness Commons, which includes an Outpost Natural Foods pop-up store.

“It will become an additional catalyst for economic development and residential transformation along the North Avenue corridor,” said SDC board chairman Gerard Randall.
 

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I didn't see anyone post or talk about this, the article I cited below is from yesterday's Milwaukee Business Journal. I know this was talked about earlier in the year but it is good to see that this project is still in the works. For those who are interested there is a rendering associated with the article. It is an older rendering from earlier in the year so the concept for the project might have changed, but it gives people an idea of what is being envisioned for the site.

Riverworks redevelopment could bring housing, maker space to contaminated site

Riverworks Development Corp. is working with the city of Milwaukee to redevelop a contaminated industrial site into apartments and entrepreneur space.

The property is a former recycling facility at 3456 N. Buffum St., where the city has been working on cleanup efforts for several years. Stakeholders identified it as a key redevelopment site for Milwaukee’s Riverworks neighborhood in a charette organized by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee earlier this year.


http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/blog/real_estate/2015/12/riverworks-redevelopment-could-bring-housing-maker.html
 

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Since there was mention of the condition of Fond du Lac Avenue in another forum and since inner city redevelopment seems to have become a hot topic during the mayoral primaries I thought I would attempt to post the city redevelopment plans for some of the rougher areas of the city.

The following is a link to the city's redevelopment plan for the Fond du Lac and North Avenue area. It was drafted in 2004 and unfortunately right now I cannot seem to find anything more recent. I would think that a more current plan would still probably have most if not all of the same focuses as this plan. Anyways for anyone who is interested here it is:

The following is not directly affiliated with the city of Milwaukee that I am aware of but it is the website for the Burleigh Street Community Development Corporation:
And lastly I could not find an officially drafted plan yet, but there is an initiative to create a development plan for the Burleigh / Lisbon corridors. I think I posted an article to this forum a few months ago about it, but just in case I didn't here is a link to an article about it:

I would hope that we would start seeing some information be made public and a plan start being created for this corridor over the next couple of months...
 

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Since there was mention of the condition of Fond du Lac Avenue in another forum and since inner city redevelopment seems to have become a hot topic during the mayoral primaries I thought I would attempt to post the city redevelopment plans for some of the rougher areas of the city.

...
Thanks splat8, the long term success of the city is through the success of it's neighborhoods. I think the current leadership has a good job revitalizing downtown but I think it's time that the powers that be focus their attention towards the inner city. It obviously won't be easy but I think one neighborhood at a time needs to sort of be propped up and a community/neighborhood plan that truly involves it's recents needs to be formulated. Build the community up from the inside and physical state of the neighborhood should follow.
 

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Thanks splat8, the long term success of the city is through the success of it's neighborhoods. I think the current leadership has a good job revitalizing downtown but I think it's time that the powers that be focus their attention towards the inner city. It obviously won't be easy but I think one neighborhood at a time needs to sort of be propped up and a community/neighborhood plan that truly involves it's recents needs to be formulated. Build the community up from the inside and physical state of the neighborhood should follow.
Projects like century city, what we see in bronzeville
And the area west of marquette are all making big strides. More has to be done. I'm pleased to see Barrett take steps and tear down so many of the homes. These are baby steps and the revenue from downtown development can be used to further help our struggling inner city.
 

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That being said, I really hope something is done soon with the corner of Humboldt and North. It's way to prime of an intersection to have a neglected historic building and a gravel pit. I'm fairly convinced that corner won't stay in this shape for long though.
I think the answer to developing north ave lies in developing or cleaning up north ave. west of the hill. That area is ghetto as hell and a stones throw from any potential development that could occur along north ave on the other side of the hill. Even living on lake dr. I am cognizant that about 2 miles west of me is a very, very different world. Did I mention my car was broken into last week? Frankly, the only way I think this happens is if the bulldozers come out and bulldoze much of the commercial and housing in that area, cause it is bad, real bad as it stands today. That area needs a vision and the sad fact is, that it is hindering development in an area with high potential.
 

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I think the answer to developing north ave lies in developing or cleaning up north ave. west of the hill. That area is ghetto as hell and a stones throw from any potential development that could occur along north ave on the other side of the hill. Even living on lake dr. I am cognizant that about 2 miles west of me is a very, very different world. Did I mention my car was broken into last week? Frankly, the only way I think this happens is if the bulldozers come out and bulldoze much of the commercial and housing in that area, cause it is bad, real bad as it stands today. That area needs a vision and the sad fact is, that it is hindering development in an area with high potential.
So your solution is to build some type of DMZ around the "good" areas to separate it from the bad areas? The idea should be to find ways that the area can be improved with smaller capital investments. Small things like paint, trash pick-up, developing empty lots into community gardens or small parks would have a tremendous impact on the feeling of driving down North. The same could be done with any of the major east-west roads on the upper eastside.

It sucks that your car was broken into, but tearing down a entire neighborhood as a response is a genocidal dictator's response to a problem. The idea should be to parter with the people in these "problem" neighbor that want to see a better safer neighborhood to improve it to allow the people to remain instead of pushing them out if/when development pushes west along north.
 

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You must not get out much around town if you think Harambee and MLK Drive are ghetto as hell, that neighborhood has been applauded in recent years for the remarkable turnaround it has undergone. Yeah it may be an impoverished area but the homeowners and residents take pride in their community. By your logic we might as well just bomb out most of the northside. :eek:hno:
 

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I think the answer to developing north ave lies in developing or cleaning up north ave. west of the hill. That area is ghetto as hell and a stones throw from any potential development that could occur along north ave on the other side of the hill. Even living on lake dr. I am cognizant that about 2 miles west of me is a very, very different world. Did I mention my car was broken into last week? Frankly, the only way I think this happens is if the bulldozers come out and bulldoze much of the commercial and housing in that area, cause it is bad, real bad as it stands today. That area needs a vision and the sad fact is, that it is hindering development in an area with high potential.
This is a deplorable attitude to have and frankly you should be ashamed. It makes me question just how much you get around that part of town, the investments on MLK have been remarkable, and yes there is crime, but there are good, decent, hard working people there.

They are not pests to be exterminated.
 

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The area along North between the freeway and the east side as well as (Third St) up to North from downtown back in the 70's and 80's was a really bad place. Muggings and shootings in broad daylight. I was a little nervous just driving through there. It is vastly better now. I'd consider stopping at some places for dinner now if I was up that way.

I'm not as sure about North Ave west to Fond du Lac and then FdL up to what was Capital Court. But I know there has been some serious street work put in by the city over the last couple of decades, so it sure looks a lot better.

We just have to keep on keeping on.
 

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The area along North between the freeway and the east side as well as (Third St) up to North from downtown back in the 70's and 80's was a really bad place. Muggings and shootings in broad daylight. I was a little nervous just driving through there. It is vastly better now. I'd consider stopping at some places for dinner now if I was up that way.

I'm not as sure about North Ave west to Fond du Lac and then FdL up to what was Capitol Court. But I know there has been some serious street work put in by the city over the last couple of decades, so it sure looks a lot better.

We just have to keep on keeping on.
I think Bronzeville is about to pop. Seriously, all of the pieces are there, they just need to give people a reason to go there. Right now North Ave there is a few grassy lots and some boarded up homes. Yes, some things will need to be bulldozed along North to maximize the the utility of the parcels but a lot of those neighborhood homes, like you said, WisBearcat, just need a little paint and some TLC to come back to life. The intersection of MLK and North Ave needs to be reimagined. If done right, I think North Ave from at least 2nd Street to 7th could be lined with mixed use buildings with residential above and commercial at the street level. Think Oakland Ave in Shorewood. Pull the Streetcar up MLK and the neighborhood has a direct connection to the arena district and downtown, while bus lines connect it to the east to the North Ave area on the Eastside. Investment is coming, it's just taking its time. Once people get priced out of the Eastside and Downtown areas this will be an ideal place for people to live.

And on that note.. Im going to move this conversation out of the Eastside thread to the Northside Thread
 

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It makes me question just how much you get around that part of town, the investments on MLK have been remarkable, and yes there is crime, but there are good, decent, hard working people there.
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Well I lived on 1st and North for 6 months, if that means anything and still drive down north ave. every day on my way home to the east side. Crime, Arrests, drugs, guns, prostitution are all there in mass. Of course the majority living in this area are good decent people, who unfortunately, live in a terrible area. Let's make it a good area, with opportunities for locals . Leaving it as it stands today isn't doing anyone any favors, neither is pretending that this is a neighborhood anyone should take pride in. I am not saying demolish and let the chips fall where they may. I am saying gather a vision for that area and then build it. I would love to see that area reach its full potential and its current residents to benefit from it. Not everyone in that area can work at Wendy's, which seems to be the only business doing well from the top of the hill to I-43.
 

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This is really good news, finally it appears that the headquarters expansion that has been talked about for years might actually happen. Let's hope that it is built out to the size that was being discussed pre-Recession.

Direct Supply plans HQ campus expansion in northwest Milwaukee

Direct Supply Inc. could open a new office building on its northwest Milwaukee headquarters campus within 18 months.

The company has been working with the city of Milwaukee on development incentives to support the construction of a new campus center that would include offices, a conference center, a restaurant and potentially a wellness center, said Bob Klein, senior vice president and chief administrative officer for Direct Supply.


http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2016/03/04/direct-supply-plans-campus-expansion-in-northwest.html
 

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