Developer to add more units, balcony to timber apartment tower plans

Ascent MKE Rendering by Korb + Associates

The developer of Ascent MKE, a 21-story mass timber apartment tower planned in downtown Milwaukee, is making some tweaks to the project that will result in an additional 15 units and another balcony.

The 410,000-square-foot tower would be constructed at the northeast corner of Van Buren Street and Kilbourn Avenue. The project developer, Milwaukee-based New Land Enterprises, originally pitched the building to include 201 luxury units along with first-floor retail space.

Now, New Land is looking to swap out a section of two-bedroom units in the building in favor of more one-bedroom units, said Tim Gokhman, director of New Land.

“We wanted to make a minor adjustment to the unit mix, which resulted in a stack of one-bedroom floor plans being added,” he said.

This will result in the total unit count rising to 216, since for every two two-bedroom units being converted, the building gains three one-bedroom units. This also means a balcony is being added to the building’s exterior because of the additional units.

Adding more one-bedroom units to the Ascent project made sense based on market conditions, Gokhman added.

In May, the project was awarded a 2019 Wood Innovation grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service. These grants are intended to support the development of consumer products that use excess forest material.

Ascent MKE is one of two mass timber buildings that New Land plans to build in Milwaukee, with the other being a seven-story office building at the former Renaissance Book Shop buildings site on North Plankinton Avenue in downtown Milwaukee.

Once built, Ascent MKE would be the largest timber building in the Western Hemisphere.

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Alex Zank
Alex Zank covers commercial and residential real estate for BizTimes. Alex previously worked for Farm Equipment magazine and also covered statewide construction news at The Daily Reporter. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he studied journalism, political science and economics. Having grown up in rural western Wisconsin, Alex loves all things outdoors, including camping, hiking, four-wheeling and hunting.