A new $6 million development for Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood will mean 20 condominium units over 18,000 square feet of new street-level retail space. The project, known as Bay View Commons, will be built by Big Bend Development on just under two acres of land at 2121 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue. The condo units will range in size from 800 to 1500 square feet and prices will start at $155,000. The project is to be completed by April of 2005.
The property had once been occupied by a dry cleaning facility, which left behind a blighted building and underground storage tanks that had held solvents. The City of Milwaukee foreclosed on the property in 1988. The City demolished the building, removed the tanks, performed environmental investigation and received DNR approval for remediation at the site. The City received a $200,000 clean up grant this year from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to perform the final remediation.
The property had been marketed for development for a number of years. The initial contact between Big Bend Development and the Department of City Development was made four years ago, at the International Conference of Shopping Centers in Las Vegas. “This is a good example of building a relationship,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who noted that markets evolve and retail prospects change. “The buying power in this area is high, at more than $195 million per square mile annually. It’s also a great neighborhood. Big Bend saw that, and came up with a project that works.”
South Kinnickinnic Avenue in Milwaukee has evolved, explained Bay View Alderman Tony Zielinski. “This is high quality development that will bring young professionals to the Avenue, where they can walk to trendy places such as Café Lulu and are close to employment downtown.”
Café Lulu opened in 2001 at 2265 S. Howell Avenue and has already expanded. Three other new restaurants are opening soon in the same neighborhood. “Q” opens this month at 2254 S. Kinnickinnic in what was once a thrift store run by the Salvation Army, Omega Jumbo Burgers will soon occupy a former Burger King on the Avenue, and Bella’s Fat Cat, a Brady Street favorite, opens a restaurant on Kinnickinnic this summer. The Bay View Commons project contains 18,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, offering what Zielinski and others feel will be an attractive option for more business owners.
“This is where we want to be,” said Randy Scoville of Big Bend Development. “The Kinnickinnic property offers great views of the Milwaukee skyline from a neighborhood that has its own identity.”
The next steps for Bay View Commons will be the city land sale to the developers, subject to final plan approvals. Big Bend expects to break ground on the project this fall.