Eliminating turn lane could better prepare Walker’s Point site for development

The vacant lot at 117 E. Pittsburgh Ave. in Walker's Point, with the South First Street right-hand turn land in the foreground.

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 04:47 pm

The owner of the vacant lot at the southeast corner of East Pittsburgh Avenue and South First Street in Walker’s Point is requesting a portion of city street be vacated to make the site more feasible for development.

The vacant lot at 117 E. Pittsburgh Ave. in Walker’s Point, with the South First Street right-hand turn lane in the foreground.

Robert Joseph, founder of Joseph Property Development LLC, said he is looking to get rid of the right-hand turn lane on South First Street, which runs along the northeast corner of the parcel he owns at 117 E. Pittsburgh Avenue.

Gateway 117 LLC, an entity registered to Joseph that owns the land, recently filed an application with the city for it to vacate that portion of South First Street.

Even though development plans for the site are not final, “I just know that any development I do would be bettered by being able to sort of square off the corner,” Joseph said. “Of course, retail is more desirable in conditions like that. … It’s more desirable for retail to have traditional intersections that slow traffic a little bit rather than having people just whizzing by. It’s also tough for pedestrians.”

Joseph purchased the site in late 2017 for $1 million. He said he certainly plans to redevelop it, though he has no specific plans at the moment. Options for the site include office and residential uses.

“I certainly intend on developing the site in the future, and this is the first step in doing that,” he said of the partial-street vacation request.

Joseph Property Development has done a lot of projects in the neighboring Third Ward neighborhood. It recently finished redeveloping the Jennaro Bros. building at 322 N. Broadway. Earlier this month, national burger chain Wahlburgers announced it was planning to open its second Milwaukee-area location in that building. The restaurant will open later this year. Maple Grove, Minnesota, based facilities planning firm Nexus Solutions is leasing the fourth floor of that building, occupying about 6,600 square feet. Two more office tenants will also move into the building soon.

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Alex Zank, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.

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