Depending on which news sources you follow, Milwaukee is going through either a “renaissance” or a “reinvention.” Or maybe it’s a “reboot” or a “reimagining,” like that crappy Tim Burton version of Planet Of The Apes. However you want to define it, it’s safe to say that Milwaukee is currently building a lot of new shit.
• Milwaukee sure loves art! The Milwaukee Art Museum is more or less the official logo of the city, Sculpture Milwaukee has plunked down nearly two dozen top-flight sculptures on Wisconsin Avenue, and everyone is gaga for the NEWaukee Art Bus! Hell, even the Milwaukee Bucks like art! Giving artists a place to make their art? Eh, not so much.
Yes, in a trend that will not end until the very fires of our red sun are snuffed out, the former Arts Building on the corner of W. Pittsburgh Ave. and S. 2nd St. is slated to be transformed into 38 high-end apartments. The project is dubbed—you’ll love this—the Artistry.
In its heyday, the three-building complex was home to dozens of artist studios and offices—its Studio Art Crawl even inspired the now-popular Gallery Night And Day. But, due to a transforming neighborhood and subsequent rising rent, activity in the Arts Building eventually wound down. Per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
That’s a typical pattern, said Pamela Anderson, another former Arts Building tenant.
Artists searching for low rents establish studios in underused neighborhoods, which eventually attracts developers and then leads to rising rents—forcing artists to move out, she said.
The Arts Building tenants who left last year have moved to other Walker’s Point buildings, as well as Bay View and other areas, said Anderson, a painter and board president of Milwaukee Artist Resource Network.
There are other Milwaukee neighborhoods, such as Riverwest, that support the arts, she said.
The first residents will move into the Artistry on September 15. Monthly rents start at $1,260. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
• Remember that big, $25 million, six-story, 140-unit, mixed-use apartment building planned for the former Hamburger Mary’s in Bay View? Well, you’re never gonna believe this, but it was totally approved by the Milwaukee Common Council. [Urban Milwaukee]
• Remember the historic home of Paul Weise Furniture, located at 1534 N. Farwell Ave., which was going to be demolished to make way for a new apartment development? Well, you’re never gonna believe it, but it was totally…wait, it was actually granted a temporary historic designation? Huh. Though on the other hand, according to Urban Milwaukee, “that doesn’t mean the site won’t be developed in coming years.” [Urban Milwaukee]
• A strange piece of Bay View property may soon become decidedly less strange. Bay View-area investor Scott Genke recently purchased a triangular lot surrounded by Oklahoma, Delaware and New York avenues, and plans to construct a new bakery and cafe there. The lot currently houses an empty building and a bus stop. Genke has yet to reveal the user of the planned business. [Milwaukee Business Journal]
• One of the Historic Third Ward’s most, well, historic buildings may get a new lease on life. Built in 1884 (with additions in 1912), the two-story building at 266-272 E. Erie St. was a Miller Brewing Co. tavern during Prohibition, and, most recently, the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design’s Student Center. It’s been vacant since a fire in 2013, and it’s now scheduled to be restored to a restaurant and tavern. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]