Third Ward apartment tower developer says project will enhance public RiverWalk

Project received Plan Commission endorsement Monday afternoon

Aerial view of Riverwalk area along 333 N. Water St. Rendering: Solomon Cordwell Buenz
Aerial view of Riverwalk area along 333 N. Water St. Rendering: Solomon Cordwell Buenz

Last updated on August 24th, 2021 at 01:39 pm

The development team behind a proposed 32-story apartment tower in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward say their project will enhance the public RiverWalk.

Houston-based Hines wants to build a $140 million tower for a site at 333 N. Water St., which is currently a parking lot. Third Ward neighborhood plans identify the site as a gateway and a “golden opportunity” for a tall, landmark building.

Hines and project architect, Chicago-based Solomon Cordwell Buenz, presented the project to the City Plan Commission on Monday afternoon.

As part of that presentation, the team went into detail on its plans to incorporate the RiverWalk into its project. The public walkway runs along the Milwaukee River on the west side of the property.

The project will create a new RiverWalk entrance at the northern end of the site, connecting it to St. Paul Avenue.

Devon Patterson, principal of SCB, noted the building would be “pulled back” from the northern and western edges of the property to enhance the experience for RiverWalk users and retail customers.

There will also be open public space between the RiverWalk and the tower. This will provide spill-out dining areas for restaurant or café tenants.

The front of the building will be 12 feet from the property line, which will give pedestrians plenty of space to get from the RiverWalk to the intersection of Water Street and St. Paul Avenue.

All these features will make the development “a great contributor to the public realm in Milwaukee,” Patterson said.

Plans show 11,750 square feet of ground-floor retail space across three separate units. They include 1,760 square feet in the northeast corner of the building, 4,870 square feet to the south along Water Street, and 5,120 square feet largely facing the Riverwalk.

The RiverWalk-facing space would be ideal for a restaurant user, said Patterson.

Plan Commission members endorsed a zoning change, site plans and a RiverWalk connection related to the project. The Common Council has final say on the project plans.

Commission member Allyson Nemec said the development team presented a “beautiful solution” that would allow members of the public to seamlessly move through the site.

The project also has the endorsement of Alderman Robert Bauman, whose district includes the project site. Bauman also sits on the Third Ward’s Architectural Review Board, which first reviewed the project.

He noted there were several design changes at the recommendation of the architectural board. This includes tweaks to the RiverWalk connection and a redesign of the parking structure exterior.

“I think the final product is a first-class product,” Bauman said.

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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.

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