Johnny V’s Tosa tower gets green light

Drew Tower. Rendering: Kahler Slater
Drew Tower. Rendering: Kahler Slater

Last updated on January 24th, 2022 at 02:04 pm

A 28-story tower planned at the corner of Mayfair and Bluemound roads in Wauwatosa received approval from the city’s Design Review Board Thursday, paving the way for the much-debated project to move forward.

The office space and apartment development, called “Drew Tower,” has undergone several revisions since it was first proposed by an investors group led by Mo’s Restaurants owner John “Johnny V” Vassallo in 2020.

An initial proposal called for 25 stories and 350 units, which was later scaled back to a 20-story tower. In response to residents’ opposition, Vassallo withdrew his plans before the Common Council could reject them.

The latest, and final, version of the tower – which, at 28 stories, will stand 364 feet tall – was generally warmly received by the city’s Design Review Board when it went back for review in November, though some nearby residents continue to oppose it, saying the building’s height is incompatible with the neighborhood.

The latest proposal for project only required the approval of the Design Review Board, which reviews the exterior design of proposed buildings. The updated plans for the tower don’t require Common Council approval because of its lower density, so it conforms with the existing commercial zoning district requirements.

The building will contain 65 apartments and about 80,000 square feet of office and medical office space in the tower itself. It would also have 572 parking spaces and some additional ground-level commercial space.

Project architect Kahler Slater designed the building, which includes a glass tower standing atop a six-story parking structure.

Vassallo has previously said he has commercial tenants lined up for the building, including a ground-floor bank branch and two office space users occupying a combined 55,000 square feet.

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