Associated Bank proposes RiverWalk improvements

A rendering of proposed improvements to the facade of 111 E. Kilbourn Ave. and the adjacent RiverWalk. Courtesy of Rinka architectural firm.

An office tower in downtown Milwaukee and an adjacent portion of the RiverWalk could be remodeled if city officials approve a pending proposal.

The site for the proposal includes a segment of the RiverWalk on the west side of the Associated Bank River Center, which overlooks the Milwaukee River at 111 E. Kilbourn Ave.

Associated Banc-Corp., which owns the office building, is seeking approval from the Plan Commission for improvements to both the RiverWalk and the façade of the building that faces the river, according to plans filed with the Department of City Development.

The proposed building improvements include a second-floor balcony to provide a “high-quality-outdoor food and beverage environment” overlooking the Milwaukee river, according to the proposal. The project, designed by Milwaukee architectural firm Rinka, would allow for an “increased sense of openness and connection to the RiverWalk and surrounding urban context.”

A second floor balcony where a restaurant will be located is included in the plans to renovate the facade of 111 E. Kilbourn Ave. Courtesy of Rinka architectural firm.

Integrated lighting along the underside of the balcony will be used to establish “a sense of place” and design continuity between the city and the building, according to the plans.
RiverWalk improvements include new surfacing for the walkway, benches and raised planters. The project also calls for removing six tree grates “whose trees have been unable to thrive in this location,” according to the proposal.

The new proposed layout for this segment of the RiverWalk was designed to create a widened and continuous corridor past 111 E. Kilbourn Ave.

The proposed plans are part of a larger project to renovate the building, which Associated Bank announced earlier this year. Those plans, to be completed in 2023, include a conference center, additional dining options and a fitness facility.

An Associated Bank affiliate purchased the 28-story building for $60.5 million from Chicago-based Hub Milwaukee River Center Properties LLC in 2016. Associated Bank has since housed its Milwaukee operations in the building.

The 373,000-square-foot Milwaukee Center was built in 1988 and is the fifth tallest building in the state. It is also connected to Associated’s private client services office as well as the Saint Kate hotel.

The Plan Commission is slated to review the RiverWalk proposal at an Aug. 17 meeting.

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