Common Council denies Goll Mansion tower project

Supermajority vote forced by protest petition

Updated rendering of Goll Mansion proposal

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 05:02 pm

The nearly year-long plan by a Madison developer to build a 27-story apartment tower on the site of the Goll Mansion on Milwaukee’s east side was defeated Tuesday by the Milwaukee Common Council.

Overhead view.
Overhead view.

The proposal needed a supermajority vote, meaning 12 approvals instead of the typical eight, but only received 10, despite unanimous support from the city’s Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee last week, city staff support and approval from the city’s Historic Preservation Commission last month.

Aldermen Cavalier Johnson, Robert Bauman, Mark Borkowski, Jose Perez and Tony Zielinski voted against the $55 million proposal with little discussion other than comments from Bauman, which were an echo of his statements made during the July 19 ZND meeting.

Madison-based developer Chris Houden, with Palisade Properties Management LLC, wanted to relocate the Goll Mansion, 1550 N. Prospect Ave., closer to the street to make room for a 192-unit, 360,000-square-foot residential tower.

The current property owners and the developer believed by doing so, they could preserve the 118-year old home.

Alderman Robert Bauman, who represents the district the mansion is located in, said the project is too dense for the site and is approximately three times larger than the project that was approved in 2008.

“This property will be developed at some time, the private market is alive and well in the 1500 block of Prospect Avenue,” Bauman said. “I am a strong proponent of density, but an advocate of urban density does not mean every project is rubber stamped.”

Houden issued a statement after the meeting saying he was incredibly disappointed by the decision.

“A small minority blocked what would have been a $55 million investment in the city,” he said. “Like a majority of the council, we believe that the development would have been a win-win-win for our community – bringing a new $55 million project to the city, creating new jobs for city residents and ensuring the restoration and revitalization of the historic Goll House.”

A supermajority on the proposal was needed because residents of the 1522 Prospect On the Lake condo building submitted a protest petition. Dozens of residents spoke out against the proposal during the July 19  Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee meeting.

“I believe their concern is their views will be obstructed more than anything else,” Ald. Jim Bohl said.

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