Cobalt Partners submits scaled down apartment tower plan in Bayside

New proposal will be no taller than 15 stories, include more office space, new library building

Rendering of the OneNorth project in Bayside.

Last updated on June 18th, 2019 at 03:47 pm

After its proposed development that included a 30-story residential building in the village of Bayside failed to receive approval by village officials, Milwaukee-based developer Cobalt Partners LLC has submitted a new set of plans that include cutting the number of stories of the tower in half and constructing a new library.

Bayside village manager Andy Pederson announced in an email newsletter sent out this morning that the village had received a request from Cobalt Partners and LaMacchia Holdings LLC to establish zoning and development parameters for the site at the northwest corner of Port Washington and Brown Deer Roads. The site is located just east of Interstate 43.

While the request doesn’t provide specific development plans, it would allow a residential tower no higher than 15 stories to be built on the western portion of the site, closest to the interstate, and buildings no higher than five stories on the eastern portion.

According to the newsletter, the proposed mixed-use development could include a new North Shore Library, Class A office space, luxury owner-occupied or rental residential units, destination-oriented retail and restaurants or coffee shops, among other things.

This proposal replaces the $200 million OneNorth project announced last year by Cobalt Partners. That project included a 30-story apartment tower with 260 to 280 units. It additionally called for 10 townhouses and 72,000 square feet of retail with another 50 to 90 units above that, along with 60,000 to 100,000 square feet of office space.

Scott Yauck, president and chief executive officer of Cobalt Partners, said the new proposal would likely have around 200,000 square feet of office space. The library would be about 25,000 square feet and would sit next to public green space. Yauck did not provide a specific number of residential units, since that number will depend on the results of updated market studies and on the specific size of the residential tower.

The North Shore Library is currently trying to raise money to pay for renovations to its existing space in Glendale. Yauck said even with updates, that space is too small to fit its needs. He added that his group is in talks with the library about moving to the new site.

“There’s interest and we’re trying to work through the possibility of making that work,” he said.

Yauck said the project addresses some of the concerns that residents had regarding the OneNorth development, specifically their worries about the height of the building. The proposed 30-story tower would have been the first high-rise in the North Shore.

“We spent many months analyzing the possibilities there and we tried to be respectful of input from some members of the community that had issues with the height,” he said. “We think we’ve addressed that as best we can and still have a project that’s viable.”

Yauck added, “we think it’s a great asset for the community.”

Village officials canceled an October meeting when the Community Development Authority was expected to vote on a proposed $42.6 million tax incremental financing district that would help pay for the project.

The newsletter notes that the next steps for consideration of this new proposal starts with a pre-petition conference with the village’s Plan Commission, which is tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. on June 18. From there, the development will go through a number of public hearings and require a recommendation from the Plan Commission and approval from the Village Board. The board would also consider a separate development agreement related to the project.

Assuming the Village Board adopts both the preliminary development plans and development agreement, each building and structure that would subsequently be proposed for the project site would also need to go through an approval process.

Any proposed city financing to facilitate the development would also be considered separately.

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Alex Zank, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.

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