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Wangard Partners’ designs for a five-story office building in Milwaukee’s Park East corridor gained an early endorsement from the city on Monday. The project is planned on North Water Street at the former home of Laacke & Joys. Wangard is in talks with tenants for the building. Wangard vice president Burton Metz said the company plans a spring start on site work for completion by the second quarter of 2017.

Milwaukee’s Plan Commission approved building designs and plans to extend the river walk through the site, sending them to the Common Council for consideration.

Wangard plans to demolish much of the existing Laacke and Joys building along Water Street. The developer would preserve a four-story 1930’s-era building at the southeast section of the property. “The new five-story office addition would connect with the preserved 1930’s building,” said Michael Brush, partner at Plunkett Raysich Architects,LLP. “The 1874 building that will be demolished could not be preserved,” Brush said. “Its foundations could not support the load of any renovation work,” he said. “Combining the old and new buildings preserves a loft-like design for the office space.”

The original intention for the project, and something that Wangard really wanted and that we felt a major tenant really wanted, was to have a historic loft-like warehouse space,” Brush said. “The 1874 building would not meet any codes, no matter what we did to it.”

Wangard also would demolish a one-story garage building on the property’s northern side. That would be a parking lot temporarily. However, Wangard is in negotiations with another developer that would build a 12-story hotel there.

Take a peek at the full article as written and published by Sean Ryan of The Milwaukee Business Journal.

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