Common Council gives final approval to Rivianna

The Milwaukee Common Council on Tuesday gave final approval of a detailed plan development for the proposed Rivianna development.

Rivianna Development Group LLC, which includes developers Bob Schultz and Harry Drea, want to build a building on a vacant lot in the Fifth Ward at 236 S. Water St. with three 15-story towers on top of a 4-story base. The development, along the south side of the Milwaukee River, and just south of the Historic Third Ward, would have 186 apartments, a 128-room hotel and 11,000 square feet of retail space. The developers say all of the construction work will be done by union laborers.

Ald. Robert Bauman cast the only "no" vote against the project. Some of his constituents have complained that the Rivianna structure would block their views. But the other aldermen supported the $80 million development.

“We are thankful to city officials, neighbors and others who have been supportive and we look forward to breaking ground soon and becoming part of this wonderful neighborhood along the river,” Drea said in a news release.

Rivianna Development Group hopes to break ground on the project by the end of the year. They still need to obtain financing for the project, but say they are close to obtaining financing from a source, which they decline to name.

"(The Common Council’s approval) certainly give a very strong signal to the potential financier that this is a very real project," said Evan Zeppos, spokesman for Rivianna Development Group.

With the city’s approval in hand, the developer’s primary focus now is to obtain financing, Zeppos said.

The developers have an exclusive option to purchase the site from Craig Jorgensen of VJS Construction Services and David Jorgensen of Pewaukee-based VJS Development Group LLC.

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