Apartment building could replace Wauwatosa’s historic log cabin

Goll Mansion tower developer planning three-story apartment development

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A proposal is in the works to replace Wauwatosa’s historic log cabin with a three-story apartment building.

Madison developer Chris Houden is asking the city of Wauwatosa to rezone the property he owns at 2515 Wauwatosa Ave. so he can move forward with the 31-unit building.

Rendering of the project by Kahler Slater

Houden, who last month won a year-long battle to build a 27-story, 192-unit apartment tower behind the historic Goll Mansion on Milwaukee’s East Side, was originally calling for a larger, five-story development at the Wauwatosa site but scaled back plans after hearing from community members.

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The three-story building will include three studio apartments, 24 one-bedroom units and four two-bedroom apartments, according to plans submitted to the city.

Houden said the site’s location, at the northwest corner of the intersection of North Wauwatosa Avenue and West Wright Avenue, make it a desirable place for a multi-family building. He called it one of the busiest streets in the city with roughly 15,000 vehicles a day.

“Our research indicates a shortage of first time buyer homes, with a growing demand for Wauwatosa citizenship,” Houden said in his letter to the city. “Buyers are avoiding condominiums and searching for single family homes. We will be marketing to such persons, with the intent of being their transitional housing option.”

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If approved, Houden’s  building will be the latest in a long line of multi-family developments in the city as developers have realized the potential Wauwatosa brings for people working downtown or in the western suburbs.

Since the Great Recession ended, the city has made a concerted effort to attract more multi-family developments. In the past eight years, more than 1,500 new apartment units either have opened or been approved.

The plan commission will review Houden’s proposal, although a date has not yet been set.

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