Common Council attempt to revive Goll Mansion project fails

Supermajority vote needed to reconsider project before next year

Updated rendering of Goll Mansion proposal

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 05:00 pm

An effort Tuesday to revive the proposed apartment tower project at the Goll Mansion site on Milwaukee’s east side was supported by the majority of the Milwaukee Common Council, but failed to win the needed supermajority vote, the same stumbling block that blocked the original proposal in July.

Two aldermen who opposed the project in July, Cavalier Johnson and Mark Borkowski, switched to support the project today. But they were cancelled out by two other aldermen, Russell Stamper and Milele Coggs, who supported the project in July but would not vote to support reconsideration.

1522 On The Lake and the proposed Goll Mansion site tower.
This rendering shows 1522 On The Lake, far left, and the proposed Goll Mansion site tower, second from the left.

Borkowski made the motion to reconsider the $55 million proposal by Madison developer Chris Houden to build a 27-story apartment tower on the site of the Goll Mansion, 1550 N. Prospect Ave.

Houden wanted to relocate the 118-year-old Goll Mansion building closer to the street to make room for the proposed 192-unit, 360,000-square-foot residential tower.

Despite the council’s rejection in July, Houden, with Palisade Properties Management LLC, purchased the Goll Mansion in October for $1.6 million from Milwaukee-based Interesting Prospect LLC.

Dozens of residents, many of whom live at the 1522 Prospect On the Lake condo building next door, submitted a protest petition, forcing a supermajority vote of 12 council members to approve the Goll Mansion project.

Aldermen Johnson, Robert Bauman, Borkowski, Jose Perez and Tony Zielinski voted against the proposal in July. It came up two votes short of the needed supermajority.

But Borkowski said Tuesday he had “Seen the light,” and was ready to vote differently. Typically, a project that is denied has to wait a year before it can be reconsidered. However, there is a seldom-used ordinance that allowed the project to be resubmitted due to a zoning map change. But again, a supermajority of 12 members of the council was necessary.

Alderman Jim Bohl, who has been an adamant supporter of the project, said it should be reconsidered.

“No one blamed the residents (of 1522 Prospect On the Lake) for using something in their (legal) playbook, this item is within our city’s code,” Bohl said. “This $55 million project is on the tax base of the city of Milwaukee. Unlike other developments downtown – the Northwestern Mutual headquarters, The Couture, the arena, all TIF funded and won’t generate taxes for 18, 20, 21 years, this would be new tax dollars.”

But Stamper said he did not agree with the use of the loophole to reconsider the project.

“You win some, you lose some,” Stamper said. “I don’t like conniving moves. They’ve got to wait just like everyone else. I supported it, it would have been good for the city, but I also support respect.”

Stamper, Bauman, Perez and Zielinski voted against reconsidering the project. Coggs abstained.

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