Wangard Partners plans to build roughly 200 apartments on KK in Harbor District

Construction anticipated to start this fall


Wauwatosa-based developer Wangard Partners is putting forward plans to develop roughly 200 apartment units at a parcel on South First Street along the Kinnickinnic River in Milwaukee’s Harbor District, near where Michels Corp. and Komatsu Mining Corp. are working on major developments of their own.

1958-1972 S. First St. (Credit: Google)

Mark Lake, director of development with Wangard, said the proposed development for the property at 1958-1972 S. First St., the site of the former Commercial Heat Treating Plant, would also include about 10,000 square feet of commercial or retail space.

Also included in the proposed development would be an extension of the city’s public Riverwalk. Lake said the project would allow a new roughly 560-foot segment to be added.

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The developer recently submitted a request with the city to change the zoning of that property, which currently calls for heavy industrial uses.

“We had to get it to a use that would allow for market-rate apartments and retail,” Lake said.

He added that he expects all necessary city approvals to be granted by around September. Assuming these approvals are met, construction would start sometime in the fall.

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Lake said an important component of this development is its proximity to other major development projects that will eventually bring with them new demand for area housing and retail offerings.

Such projects include R1ver, a $100 mixed-use development going up at the former Horney Goat property 2011-2029 S. First St. where Brownsville-based infrastructure contractor Michels is planning to locate its regional office, as well as Komatsu Mining Corp.’s $285 million new headquarters and manufacturing facility, which will be built at the former Solvay Coke site along the west side of the Kinnickinnic River, south of East Greenfield Avenue.

“We like all the uses that are coming into the area, and having Michels and Komatsu as neighbors doesn’t hurt,” said Lake. “There are not a lot of supportive uses for Komatsu and Michels in the area and we’d like to contribute to that.”

Wangard is also the developer of the Freshwater Plaza, a mixed-use project near the corner of South First Street and Greenfield Avenue in Walker’s Point, which includes a 46,000-square-foot Cermak Fresh Market store, a four-story, 76-unit apartment building with first-floor retail space, a Sherwin Williams paint store and a planned Summit Credit Union branch.

Lake said the 76 apartment units at Freshwater Plaza took only a matter of months to be filled after they first opened, which encouraged the developer to look at building even more in the area. Wangard has plans to develop a second mixed-use building at Freshwater Plaza, which would add another 76 apartment units there. Lake said plans are moving forward with that building, though there is no timeframe on when it would be constructed.

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