WiRED planning single-family housing development on Silver Spring Drive in Whitefish Bay

Seven three-story houses would replace church building, parking lot

Credit: the Consortium ae LLC
Credit: the Consortium ae LLC

Last updated on March 17th, 2020 at 01:37 pm

Milwaukee-based WiRED Properties plans to redevelop a site that is currently home to a church along Silver Spring Drive in Whitefish Bay into seven new single-family homes.

According to village documents, the developer is proposing to build the homes at 721 E. Silver Spring Drive, where the existing First Church of Christ Scientist building sits. The property, which includes the church facing Silver Spring Drive and a parking lot to the south, encompasses about two-thirds of the entire block.

Development plans indicate three of the homes would be built facing North Danbury Road to the east, and the other four homes would be built facing East Glen Avenue to the south of the site. The garages would be built behind the homes, and would be access by a new private alley. Garages would be attached to the houses by breezeway.

Each home would be three stories tall. According to preliminary floor plans, they would have four bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms. The top floor would be comprised of an “owner suite,” a master bathroom, walk-in closet and large dressing room. The vaulted ceilings would reach 20 feet and six inches high at their peak.

Above the garage would be a second-floor space labeled “the cave,” which would also be connected to the homes via breezeway. The basement would consist of one bedroom and a “simulator & workout” room.

The estimated value of the project is between $7 million and $8.4 million. For the project to move forward the site would have to be rezoned. The Whitefish Bay Plan Commission will review the proposal during a pre-petition conference Wednesday evening.

Blair Williams, president of WiRED, writes in a letter to village officials that the church building is underused. The church, built around 1950, was intended for a congregation of 400. Over the last two decades, the church’s membership has declined, according to the letter.

Williams points out that other developers have contemplated multi-family and mixed-use developments for the site. By his group’s estimation, such intensive uses are not appropriate for the site.

“By adding seven new single-family homes in a landlocked village, we are helping to expand the village‚Äôs residential base,” writes Williams. “By developing homes with dynamic value, our plan offers the village tax revenue consistent with that of a far larger mixed-use development. Perhaps most importantly, we believe that this development plan is consistent with the character of both Whitefish Bay generally and of this neighborhood specifically.”

Proposed townhomes in Whitefish Bay. Credit: the Consortium ae LLC
Proposed townhomes in Whitefish Bay. Credit: the Consortium ae LLC

Williams says he and his family will reside in one of the homes, while his partner on the project, Mike Kelly, will reside in another. Both were raised in the village and are graduates of Whitefish Bay High School.

According a report from the project team, the proposed building heights and density would offer a transition between the nearby commercial district and residential neighborhoods.

The homes would be similar in height to the commercial and mixed-use buildings along Silver Spring Drive but taller than the existing nearby single-family homes. What’s more, the block would have a higher density than most single-family neighborhoods in the village but less density than most multi-family developments.

“The layout of the site as envisioned is in keeping with the setbacks and walkable character found in the commercial district and transitions to nearby lower-density residential areas,” the report states.

Williams said in an interview Monday he expects construction to begin in the spring and finished within a year.

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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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