Milwaukee council OKs Goll Mansion high-rise development

By Hannah Weikel - Freeman Staff

Sept. 27, 2017

MILWAUKEE — A move to rezone the historic Goll Mansion property on North Prospect Avenue to make way for a new high-rise apartment was approved by the Milwaukee Common Council Tuesday morning.

The development, proposed by a Madison developer, won the council’s vote 12 to 2 with one abstention, though it’s hotly disputed by residents and businesses in the area and by the district’s alderman, Robert Bauman.

Bauman said he has received dozens of emails from constituents in the city’s Fourth District in staunch opposition to the 27-story project due to traffic, parking and construction concerns along the busy street.

“Normally, it’s a slam dunk; we go with our constituents, we go with their concerns,” Bauman said at the meeting. “But in this case, other factors have been brought into play.”

District 3 Ald. Nik Kovac disagreed and said traffic along that stretch of city street is some of the worst in Milwaukee, but by no means unbearable.

“To suggest that a few hundred more apartments on a corridor that supports thousands of people and is about to support major transit investments — to suggest that the public health, safety and welfare is threatened by one new building amongst a dozen is just not fair,” Kovac said.

The Goll house, built in 1898 and located at 1550 N. Prospect Ave., has been considered for redevelopment twice before, failing both times.

The developer has pledged economic development and to use minority residents and small businesses for 20 percent of the construction of the 192unit tower, but Bauman said the promise is “empty and hollow” because there is no legal way to hold them to it.

“Promoting the minority work base cannot be enforced. They may have good intentions, but this is a business,” Bauman said.

District 5 Ald. James Bohl said every district has had disputed developments that passed and didn’t cause issues.

“The desire to retain what we know is a very strong, persuasive argument that drives residents to reach out to us,” Bohl said. “There’s a lot of positives for this. I won’t articulate them, I think the council already knows.”