Developer significantly increasing height for planned Edison Street apartment tower

The Rojahn & Malaney at 1005 N. Edison St. is being prepped for demolition. Plans call for it to be replaced with a 28-story apartment tower.

Last updated on February 9th, 2023 at 03:21 pm

Milwaukee could be getting its second, and taller, mass timber building.

Nate Helbach, the managing director The Neutral Project, who’s company purchased the former Rojahn & Malaney warehouse at 1005 N. Edison St. in downtown Milwaukee early last year with plans to construct The Edison apartment building at the site, confirmed Wednesday that plans for the mass timber structure have grown.

Instead of a 15-story structure as was originally envisioned, Helbach said the plan now is construct a 28-story apartment tower at the site. The planned revision to the project was first reported by Urban Milwaukee.

Should those plans be realized, the building would be three stories taller than the 25-story tall Ascent buiilding, completed by New Land Enterprises last year. The luxury apartment building at 700 E. Kilbourn Ave. currently holds the title of the tallest mass timber building in the world, although projects in the works in Canada and overseas might wrest away that title before The Edison is completed in 2026.

Plans for the new building call for 296 units with a mix of mix of studios, alcoves, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, three-bedroom apartments, as well as and top-floor penthouse units. The project also calls for 275 indoor parking spaces, and plans for first-floor retail space. The original plans for the building called for about 220 apartments.

Asked why he decided to significantly increase the planned size of the building, Helbach said the decision was made to aid in the “business case” for the overall development and improve the project’s economies of scale.

Using mass timber as a chief building material for the structure follows The Neutral Project’s mission to construct carbon neutral buildings.

Helbach said he is still working with contractor C.D. Smith on an updated cost estimate for the now 28-story project. The cost of the 15-story project was estimated to be $60 million.

The Neutral Project is currently in the process of prepping the 112-year-old, 18,784-square-foot warehouse for demolition. Full demolition is expected to commence later this month.

Construction is slated to begin sometime this fall, with occupancy expected by the fall of 2025.

This is the second project for The Neutral Project. It’s first apartment tower, a 14-story mass timber apartment building dubbed Bakers Place, just started construction. It’s located about eight blocks from the state Capitol in Madison and is slated to completed by February 2025.

The Edison. Rendering: Michael Green Architecture
Original rendering for The Edison, then 15 stories. The plans are being revised for a 28-story building instead. Credit: Michael Green Architecture

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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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