MBJ: Goll House apartment tower proposal gets first city endorsement of 2017

MILWAUKEE -- Monday’s hearing in Milwaukee over a new apartment tower on North Prospect Avenue echoed one held in the same city meeting room 14 months ago, the Milwaukee Business Journal is reporting.
The Milwaukee Plan Commission in June 2016 held a hearing on the $55 million project, and ended up with a tie vote. Monday’s meeting of the commission, which again had a lengthy public hearing, ended ultimately with a 4-1 vote endorsing the development.
Madison-based Palisade Property Management is seeking city approvals for a 27-story apartment building with 192 apartments atop the Lake Michigan bluff at 1550 N. Prospect Ave.
The same developer, last summer, unsuccessfully sought city approvals for a similar building plan on the same property, the Milwaukee Business Journal reported Monday.
“I believe this is a truly unique site, one of the best in the city, and what we have proposed is the highest and best use of the site,” said Chris Houden, who operates Madison-based Palisade Property.
As with last year, Palisade faces opposition from people living in the 1522 On The Lake condo building south of the development site. They came out in full force on Monday, raising concerns about erosion of the Lake Michigan bluff, whether the site plan has enough room for delivery trucks to park off of Prospect Avenue, and access for emergency response vehicles.
Ald. Robert Bauman, who also opposed the building last year, said it conflicts with the city’s comprehensive plan for the area. That plan calls for taller, more slender high-rises on Prospect Avenue. He also argued the building lacks space for trucks to deliver packages to online shoppers, or other deliveries.
“This is the force of law,” Bauman said of the city’s comprehensive plan. “This is not suggestion. This is not nice ideas which were OK at the time and now we can forget about them. These carry the force of law, and in my view this project classically is in violation of this plan. This is not a tall slender building.”
Monday’s Plan Commission vote sends the project to the city’s Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee for further hearings.
As with the 2016 proposal, the historic Goll House on the property would be preserved under the latest plan. The developers plan to lift the structure off its foundations, and move it closer to the sidewalk to clear more room on the 0.6-acre property for the future apartment building.
Plan Commissioner Whitney Gould, before voting in favor of the development, said it fits into the “natural evolution of Prospect Avenue” and preserves the 1898 Goll House building. In June 2016, she had remarked that the commission was “conflicted” about the project and finding the right balance to allow more dense development.
“One of the ways we renew ourselves as a city is by allowing history and new development of a high quality to exist side-by-side, and I think this does that both literally and figuratively,” Gould said Monday.