Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 04:49 pm
Several properties along South Kinnickinnic Avenue in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood could be developed into more than 220 residential units and retail space, under a new proposal.
Milwaukee architect Matt Rinka introduced plans, on behalf of developer Scott Lurie, for the multi-phased, mixed-use development Thursday night during a public meeting at Bay View High School. About 120 residents attended the meeting and many booed when the renderings for the development were unveiled.
The project, which could break ground in the fall of 2019, incorporates 10 parcels in the 2700 blocks of Kinnickinnic Avenue and Herman Street. They include several houses and the former Bella’s Fat Cat building at 2737 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. that has been vacant since the restaurant closed in 2010.
The sites would have to be rezoned, which would require approval from several city committees and the Milwaukee Common Council. The plans released Thursday are preliminary, Rinka said.
The proposal includes approximately 220 to 230 residential units in two six-story buildings and 27,000 square feet of retail, according to conceptual plans.
About 400 parking spaces would be hidden from street view with above and below-ground parking.
Milwaukee architectural firm Rinka Chung designed the buildings in a triangular shape with a “terraced” building form so they are sensitively scaled toward the adjacent residential neighborhood, said Rinka, principal with Rinka Chung.
The buildings incorporate green rooftops, solar panels, center courtyards and a rooftop pool, according to Rinka’s designs.
“This visionary project is proposed as comprised of retail and multi-family uses on multiple underutilized parcels along the important Kinnickinnic commercial corridor in Bay View,” Rinka said.
Dozens of residents spoke at the meeting, mostly against the plans because of the project’s density and traffic concerns. Many people said they are worried Bay View is losing its traditional neighborhood feel.
Kathleen Kirchhoff, who lives a few houses away from the proposed development on Herman Street, called the project a “monstrosity.”
“This is way out of line,” Kirchhoff said. “It is right up against the neighbors in Bay View, generations of neighbors. And you are giving us one year. I can’t be out in one year.”
Some audience members were supportive of the development. Tom Serak, who has lived in Bay View for 35 years and currently lives on East Pryor Avenue, near the proposed development, cited several other projects including the Colectivo at 2301 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. that have increased property values.
“This (proposed project) has a great, viable look,” Serak said. “Welcome to the 21st Century people.”
Lurie is the owner of F Street Investments LLC and principal of Jomela Properties. He recently completed the conversion of the former Pabst Brewing Co. warehouse in downtown Milwaukee to The 42.
Lurie has the Bay View parcels under contract. They are currently owned by SK KK LLC, SK Development Group LLC and Moore Management LLC, according to city records.
If the Bay View project moves forward, it would join several recent multifamily developments in Bay View. Those apartment complexes include the 291-unit Stitchweld, at 2141 S. Robinson Ave. and Vue at the former Faust Music store site at 2204 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
Just north of the Vue development, where the former Hamburger Mary’s restaurant building was located, New Land Enterprises LLP is planning a $21 million mixed-use development at the corner of South Kinnickinnic Avenue and East Bay Street that will include 15,000 square feet of retail space and 144 apartments.
Developer Scott Genke is currently demolishing the American Legion Post at 2860 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. in Bay View. He plans to replace the building with 36 apartments.