The Freshwater Plaza mixed-use development in Milwaukee’s new Harbor District will likely be getting more apartment and stores, instead of an office building.
Both Freshwater Plaza’s zoning change and a Harbor District water and land use plan received unanimous recommendations for approval Tuesday from the Common Council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee.
Freshwater Plaza, which is north of E. Greenfield Ave. and east of S. 1st St., is the first new commercial project in the Harbor District.
Wangard Partners Inc. opened Freshwater Plaza’s first phase, a four-story apartment building with street-level commercial space, in late 2016. Retail buildings, including a Cermak Fresh Market, have since opened.
Freshwater Plaza includes a vacant lot, owned by the city Redevelopment Authority, that was set aside for a future office building.
Under the zoning change, Wangard Partners can now instead pursue conceptual plans for a six-story building with 76 apartments, a parking structure and 46,000 square feet of retail space.
Stewart Wangard, Wangard Partners owner, and Ald. Jose Perez, whose district includes the site, said the change is needed because of strong demand for additional housing and increasing demand from new Walker’s Point residents for retail services.
Also, there’s been little interest from prospective office tenants at Freshwater Plaza.
City Development Commissioner Rocky Marcoux initially opposed the zoning change, saying the site’s original plans considered an office building an important part of Freshwater Plaza.
But Marcoux told committee members that department officials can accept the additional residential and retail building as long as it meets proper design standards.