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Luxurious Living
Milwaukee’s new condo and apartment communities draw an active, upscale clientele.


Oct. 2018

Photo courtesy of Pritzlaff Lofts

In the last decade, the Historic Third Ward and the banks of the Milwaukee River have filled with people wanting their home base to seamlessly integrate with their preferred lifestyle. Being in the heart of Milwaukee’s unrivaled entertainment, dining and waterfront offerings was key to successful property developments that built up instead of out, offering luxurious dwellings paired with a “walkable living” lifestyle that puts the best the city has to offer just steps away.

The trend continues, but today the market has expanded into Milwaukee’s surrounding counties, providing the same “just down the stairs or up the block” access to trendy, upscale dining and shopping options without the bustle of midtown life. And everyone from working singles to empty nesters see the new condos and rentals as upscale, exciting alternatives to a suburban, single-family home.

Located above the The Corners of Brookfield shopping mall, The Corners of Brookfield Apartments are a thriving example. Current occupants run the gamut from first time renters to baby boomers looking to shed the upkeep of the family home. Most come here attracted by the dozens of shops and restaurants in the mall and nearby, and the easy access to I-94 midway between downtown Milwaukee and Lake Country.

Photo courtesy of Pritzlaff Lofts

“It’s not Walker’s Point, but there is also a lot going on,” says Riley Draayers, property manager of The Corners of Brookfield Apartments. “We have a music series, movie nights [and] food truck tours, and our residents take advantage of them all.”

At The Corners, making the transition from single-family home to apartment is also eased by nature-minded, yard-like amenities, such as a green roof courtyard with a fire pit, grilling stations and outdoor TV area. “Even though we are right above shops and restaurants, it is very serene,” Draayers says. “Inside, we also have a large, private lounge space that residents can reserve. It has four TVs, a fully-equipped kitchen, dining tables that convert to poker tables and a game room with foosball, a pool table and a shuffleboard table. Residents love it because it means they can still entertain like they did when they had a single-family home.” 

A similar project is being developed on the north side of the metro Milwaukee area in Mequon. Spur 16 offers residents high-end townhomes and apartments nestled alongside a market with upscale shops and outposts of favorite downtown Milwaukee restaurants.

Want a luxurious lake home without the upkeep? Branded the ultimate in luxurious, carefree lakefront living, each of The Parc on Lac La Belle’s 18 condominium units are designed to the owner’s specifications and has a semi-private elevator that opens to a private foyer. Eight-foot glass doors open onto a private loggia with 16 feet of lake exposure. Below is a landscaped lakeside terrace with a sandy beach area, a pergola with a fire pit, tables and chairs and lounge chairs. “Most of the buyers come from Lake Country,” says Coldwell Elite Broker Jon Spheeris. “They want to downsize, but stay in the area ... [and not] give up their lake life.”

Photo courtesy of The Parc on Lac La Belle

So far, the exclusive new development — units start at $999,000 — has proven successful, with 14 of the 18 units already sold, and another soon to close. “The buyers love it. They get their lake home and use of the lake, but without any of the worry or maintenance,” Spheeris says.

Who else is buying into these luxury-meets-convenience housing options? Mary Beth Gaspar-Waite, owner of Cornerstone Realtors, says the clientele at the upper end of the market is very diverse. “It is a mixture of downsizing locals, new executive hires and relocating grandparents — or adult children that move back to the community to be closer to extended family in the Milwaukee metro area. We see a real blend of people wanting to be closer to elderly parents, as well as those who want to be a greater part of their grandchildren’s lives.”

Something all have in common is their demand for high-end finishes. It wasn’t too long ago that the only amenity that came with an apartment or condominium was a laundry room in the basement. Now the line between upscale-hotel and private-residence amenities has blurred. Concierge services, fitness centers and top-of-the-line appliances are becoming commonplace. At Spur 16, residents can enjoy an on-site dog walker and pet taxi, a pet washing station, grocery delivery and housesitting. Northwestern Mutual’s new 7seventy7 high-rise offers a dog run for furry residents, a jaw-dropping top-floor sky deck, a yoga room and a golf simulator.

At the Parc on Lac La Belle, all units have 10-foot ceilings, engineered hardwood floors and custom kitchens with Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances. Residents also have access to a great room and a library/office, both warmed by stunning fireplaces. A private-use boat is also available.

Pritzlaff Lofts, an exciting re-imagining of downtown Milwaukee’s Historic Pritzlaff Building, combines the city’s signature Cream City brick with ultra-modern, industrial-chic floor plans and designer amenities that are unique to every unit.

Gaspar-Waite ticks off a vast list of upscale offerings that she says are now the norm, no matter where you choose to live. “Acoustical separations, classic design finishes with a unique flair, external kitchen ventilation, outdoor space connected to the unit, high ceilings, great views, on-site front desk service, fitness rooms, indoor pools and storage are becoming standard,” she explains. “To compete, any new or existing development better begin looking at freshening their common spaces and adding to their amenities or they won’t survive.”

Special Series

This story ran in the Oct. 2018 issue of: