September 25, 2023

Historic Preservation Committee rejects developer request to demolish former Third Ward tavern

A request by a pair of builders to demolish a former tavern in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward was rejected by town’s Historic Preservation Committee on Monday, setting the stage for an attraction to the Widespread Council.

Fox Level-based Basic Capital Group owns the constructing at 266 E. Erie St. and is teaming up with Milwaukee-based Joseph Property Improvement to redevelop the positioning.

They are saying the constructing, constructed in 1884, has severe issues on account of long-term settling and makes an attempt to renovate it for brand spanking new makes use of have run into feasibility points.

However Tim Askin, a metropolis historic preservation planner, mentioned that the constructing isn’t in such dire form and that it’s essential to the neighborhood’s historical past, calling it “some of the important buildings within the Third Ward.”

The 2-story constructing, initially a saloon and rooming home, is among the many few buildings to outlive the neighborhood’s 1892 fireplace.

It’s additionally one of many few buildings to characterize the Third Ward’s historical past of Irish immigrants − in addition to being tied to a nineteenth century lady entrepreneur and Milwaukee’s LGBTQ historical past, he mentioned.

“There’s rather more to be taught from this constructing,” Askin mentioned.

Most just lately, the constructing served because the Milwaukee Institute of Artwork and Design’s (MIAD) scholar union. A fireplace struck in January 2013, shuttering the constructing.

The builders bought the constructing in 2014 for $800,000, and the constructing was given native historic safety in 2015.

“If it was so essential why wasn’t it designated earlier than 2015?” Basic Capital principal Linda Gorens-Levey requested.

The builders have mentioned the thought of a brand new four-story workplace constructing on the lot, however haven’t detailed any of these plans. Gorens-Levey advised fee members the event corporations have additionally explored utilizing the prevailing constructing as a restaurant and tavern, however these plans proved to be unfeasible.

Wisconsin LGBTQ Historical past Venture founder Don Schwamb despatched a letter in help of the event group’s request and in addition spoke on the assembly. MIAD officers in attendance mentioned the constructing was already deteriorating within the practically twenty years the college owned the property.

However after over an hour and a half of dialogue, the fee sided with Askin’s report, voting 6-0 to disclaim the developer’s request with one commissioner abstaining.

The fee’s resolution may be overruled by the Widespread Council, which commissioners indicated is perhaps extra sympathetic to the developer’s argument.

“This fee has not been set as much as cope with monetary implications,” mentioned Commissioner Sally Peltz.