Details emerge on Brady Street hotel project

Developers have proposed constructing an 11-story hotel at the intersection of Brady Street, North Cambridge Avenue and North Farwell Avenue on Milwaukee's East Side. (Rendering courtesy of Kahler Slater)

Last updated on January 26th, 2023 at 01:56 pm

An 11-story hotel planned for the intersection Brady Street, North Cambridge and East Farwell avenues would include a first-floor restaurant and rooftop bar and eatery.

Those was just a few of the details that emerged about the project at a packed neighborhood meeting at Dorsia restaurant, 1307 E. Brady St., on Monday evening.

Developers Mike Klein and Jeno Cataldo also explained plans to construct a two-to-four story parking structure on a L-shaped parcel southwest of East Royal Place and North Farwell. Under city zoning code regulations, the first floor of the structure would have to include some kind of commercial space, which Klein said would include a lobby for the structure as well as retail space.

The structure would encompass the surface lot currently owned by Prospect Avenue retirement community St. John’s on the Lake, as was as neighboring lot immediately to the northwest of Zaffiro’s. Saint John’s on the lake still owns the parcel, but the developers are in the process of acquiring the land, Klein said. Some surface parking would also be available behind the hotel, he said.

The corner where the 130-room hotel would be located is currently the site of the two-story Farwell Point retail building. Constructed in 1987, the roughly 12,000-foot-building was long home to a FedEx retail operation. Today the building houses only one tenant, Mega Media Xchange, which sells video game systems and accessories.

Restaurant

The hotel’s restaurant would be high-end, explained Cataldo, who owns Dorsia and Jo-Cats Pub, and would serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Cataldo wouldn’t run the restaurant, however, Klein said Tuesday.

“It will either be professionally managed by a third party restaurant group or the hotel group,” he said.

The developers must still go through a bevy of city reviews, but they said the hope is that the project would be completed sometime in 2025.

This would be the first hotel project for Klein and Cataldo, who previously worked on The Easton apartment building at 1632 N. Franklin Place and The Eastsider Apartments at 2900 N. Oakland Ave.

Kahler Slater is the architect on the project.

Daytime activity

Numerous Lower East Side residents, from younger apartment dwellers to longtime neighborhood residents, like local historian Frank Aliota, attended the meeting.

While no vocal opposition was expressed against the project, several residents did have questions about how the development would impact an already dicey traffic situation at the three-way intersection and how the project might be leveraged to create more pedestrian-friendly features.

A representative from the city’s Department of Public Works said nothing was presently in the works for the intersection, but that didn’t mean some improvements couldn’t occur.

The Brady Street Business Improvement District is currently studying the pedestrianization of the street between North Warren Avenue and North Franklin Place, which sits just a block west the intersection with Farwell and Cambridge avenues.

Other meeting attendees, like Aliota, expressed the hope that an active, new building at a mostly under-utilized intersection might lead to less crime and better, newer developments in the vicinity.

“What better way to address crime (than to construct) a big, bright building with people coming and going,” Aliota said.

Newly minted 3rd District Alderman Jonathan Brostoff, who organized the meeting, said while he was excited about the possibility for the hotel to create more daytime activity on Brady Street, he assured residents that his main goal was ensuring that the project will serve the neighborhood as a whole.

“Not everything that makes money adds value, and every single decision that I make will be to add value to the community,” Brostoff said.

Cara covers commercial and residential real estate. She has an extensive background in local government reporting and hopes to use her experience writing about both urban and rural redevelopment to better inform readers. Cara lives in Waukesha with her husband, a teenager, a toddler, a dog named Neutron, a bird named Potter, and a lizard named Peyoye. She loves music, food, and comedy, but not necessarily in that order.

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