Downtown Marriott design tweaked

The development group for the 200-room Marriott Hotel that is planned for downtown Milwaukee announced today that it has tweaked the design for the hotel, which will preserve a larger portion of the historic buildings along Wisconsin Avenue and will reduce the height of the building from 10 stories to nine.

The design change occurred because of a new ballroom configuration, said the development group, Jackson Street Management LLC. Architects recommended the change after determining that the meeting space for the hotel could be confined to the first floor, instead of on two floors, along with a street-side restaurant and bar, shops and front desk operations. The modification allows for guest rooms to start on the second floor, which resulted in the reduction in height of the guest room tower.

“This is a terrific approach for the neighborhood, with a shorter tower on Milwaukee Street and businesses, gathering spots and activity that will add excitement to Wisconsin Avenue,” said Ed Carow, managing partner for Jackson Street Management LLC.

The design changes were praised by Mayor Tom Barrett and Ald. Robert Bauman. Some critics of the project, including Bauman, opposed Jackson Street Management’s plans to tear down buildings that were more than 100 years old on the block, southwest of Wisconsin Avenue and Milwaukee Street, to build the hotel. Some critics also said the original plans were too tall and out of scale with the historic buildings on the block.

The new design also will preserve an 80-foot deep section of the buildings behind the Wisconsin Avenue façade.

“The hotel now will preserve more of Milwaukee’s history, and that’s a positive development,” Bauman said. “I’m glad the developers have approached this project carefully, and I support this move.”

“I’m pleased that this project will preserve more of our city’s history while looking ahead to its successful future,” Barrett said. “These plans are a good fit for the site and for downtown, allowing for a vibrant and lively Wisconsin Avenue streetscape and attractive design elements that effectively blend with nearby historic buildings.”

The $50 million hotel will have 200 guest rooms, meeting and banquet space, a restaurant, bar and underground parking for 50 vehicles. Milwaukee jeweler Schwanke-Kasten also plans to open a store in the hotel.

Groundbreaking for the Marriott hotel is planned for later this year, Jackson Street Management said.

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