$40 million apartment development planned in Bay View

A 307-unit, $40 million apartment complex development is planned for an industrial building site at 2151 and 2181 S. Robinson Ave. in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood.

The developer for the project will be a joint venture of Milwaukee-based WiRED Properties and Indianapolis-based Milhaus Development.

“They are an absolutely terrific mixed-use and urban multi-family developer,” WiRED Properties owner Blair Williams said of Milhaus. “They look for sites like this Bay View site, underutilized urban sites. These guys are really talented. They have a remarkable financial capacity.”

The property is currently owned by Steve Lindner. It is a 6.3-acre site, a block west of Kinnickinnic Avenue, with three to four attached industrial buildings with a total of 105,000 square feet of space. Sweet Water Organics formerly occupied a 40,000-square-foot space, that is currently vacant. Finnco Fabricating LLC occupies at 35,000-square-foot space. There are some additional smaller tenants in the building. Sweet Water Organics was an aquaponics urban farm business that raised fish and grew produce. It received a $250,000 city loan but went out of business in 2013.

Some components of the existing buildings on the site could be integrated into the new development, Williams said.

The property is under contract to be sold. Colin Hough of Anderson Commercial is brokering the property sale for Lindner.

The development will have four buildings and an internal grid of private streets. The apartments will be market rate luxury units, Williams said. The project will also have about 2,000 square feet of retail/commercial space.

At a recent neighborhood meeting on the project, Ald. Tony Zielinski expressed support.

“The businesses on (Kinnickinnic Avenue) that I’ve talked to are salivating about this development,” he said. “Projects like this are going to continue to turn this area around.”

The project will be the latest of several recent developments in the Bay View neighborhood.  Other projects include a proposed five-story 72-unit apartment building development planned by Dermond Property Investments at 2202 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.

At the neighborhood meeting on the WiRED/Milhaus project, some residents expressed concern about the size of the development saying they worried that the added density and traffic would hurt the neighborhood.

But others said the additional population would boost retail businesses in the neighborhood and make the area safer with better lighting and more eyes on the street.

The developers said they are drawn to the positive qualities that Bay View already has, including numerous bars and restaurants.

“I’m very bullish on Bay View,” Williams said. “Bay View is only going to get more attractive in the future.”

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