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The city is poised to update the design standards for Wangard Partners large Freshwater Plaza development in advance of the developer constructing a second mixed-use building containing up-to 76 housing units and 45,000-square-feet of commercial space.

The mixed-use complex is being developed at the northeast corner of S. 1st St. and E. Greenfield Ave. A Cermak Fresh Market grocery store and a mixed-use apartment building opened on the site last summer. An outlot building is under construction for Sherwin Williams along S. 1st St., which a second such building planned.

The revised building is intended to help the former forlorn E. Greenfield Ave. serve as a gateway to the emerging Harbor District, including the 46-acre Solvay Coke property that We Energies has begun site preparation on for a future redevelopment.

The revised design standards would allow the mixed-use building to move forward at a minimum height of 66-feet along E. Greenfield Ave. and 35-feet at the rear of the rear of the site.

The new building will have an unusual layout for Milwaukee. The site has soft soils necessitating the parking be placed above the first-floor commercial spaces. The building would have commercial tenants on the first floor, parking on the second and an estimated 76 apartments on the top three to four floors. The parking is intended to be shared by commercial tenants and residents. A green roof would be installed on the building’s roof.

A second significant water feature is envisioned along E. Greenfield Ave. in front of the building. It would parallel the first water feature that takes rainwater and cycles it through a series of manmade ponds. The feature, included at the city’s request, was designed by representatives from the UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences.

The design standards are scheduled to go before the City Plan Commission on June 25th. The site, made up of a number of lots assembled from the former Grede Foundry is subject to a General Planned Development zoning package that dictates what can and cannot be built.

The base of the building is intended to include approximately 45,000 square feet of commercial space spread across four stalls. In February Wangard CEO Stewart Wangard told Urban Milwaukee that the firm was selecting a project architect from four different bids. The first apartment building was designed by Eppstein Uhen Architects.

First Apartment Building A Success
The first apartments built here, known as the Freshwater Plaza Apartments, are full and a wait list has formed for future tenants. Because the project was financed in part by federal New Market Tax Credits, Wangard must set aside 20 percent of the units at below market rates for moderate-income residents.

Wangard has had tremendous success in attracting retail tenants to the building’s first floor. The building’s tenants include Tribeca Gallery Cafe & Books, Great Clips, LyLy Nails & Spa, Jimmy John’s, Sprint and UPS.

Construction began on the complex in 2015.

Read the full article as recently published by Jeramey Jannene of Urban Milwaukee here.