Last updated on December 23rd, 2022 at 04:30 pm
A year and half after announcing a signing deal for the project with hotel giant Hilton, HKS Holdings appears to be moving forward with its plans to construct an eight-story Hilton Tempo hotel at the northwest corner of West Kilbourn Avenue and North Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in downtown Milwaukee.
The Milwaukee-based developer and architect Kahler Slater recently applied to the city’s Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) seeking a certificate of appropriateness for the project.
Once dominated by the Milwaukee Journal, and later the Journal-Sentinel, and near a bevy of other historic buildings, the block received a historic designation in 2019. Although the development site is currently a parking lot, the designation for the block requires the HPC to sign off on the project to ensure it will fit within the historic district.
In addition to its 161-rooms, the hotel would have a first-floor restaurant and rooftop event space with an outdoor terrace.
The site was originally home to the Republican Hotel, which stood on the site between 1866 and 1961, when it was demolished. According to an historical marker, the hotel was the birthplace of the Major League Baseball’s American League, which formed in 1900. After the hotel was demolished, the lot was briefly home to a fountain.
In a presentation slated to be reviewed by the HPC sometime next month, developers say they plan to help the hotel blend into its historic surroundings by using “brick masonry that is complimentary in color to the nearby historic structures, accented with a dark stone base that references the granite base of the adjacent 1960’s addition (to the former Milwaukee Journal building, which is now the Journal Commons apartment building).”
The massing of the building also responds to that 1960’s addition, the application states. The overall height of the proposed hotel is about six feet lower than “upper most elements” of the Journal Commons building.
BizTimes Milwaukee first reported in January 2021 that Milwaukee-based HKS Holdings LLC was planning to build the hotel at the site.
Hilton launched its Tempo brand in 2020. Tempo by Hilton is marketed as an “elevated, approachable lifestyle” brand that serves “modern achievers.” It combines design elements with diverse lifestyle partnerships, according to the company.