Jackson Street Management LLC today unveiled a new design for the 10-story, 200-room Marriott Hotel that it wants to build in downtown Milwaukee.
Jackson Street Management, which includes Ed Carow and Mark Flaherty of Milwaukee-based hotel development firm Wave Development LLC, wants to build the hotel building wrapping around the Johnson Bank building located southwest of Wisconsin Avenue and Milwaukee Street in downtown Milwaukee.
However the project has been controversial because the plans include the demolition of five buildings that are more than 100 years old and are in a historic district. In December the city's Historic Preservation Commission voted to allow the buildings to be demolished, but only if their facades were preserved as part of the hotel project.
The new design unveiled today includes a complete restoration of the Wisconsin Avenue facades, said Jackson Street Management spokesman Evan Zeppos. However, due to structural problems the Milwaukee Street facades could not be restored and incorporated into the project, he said. Instead a new façade will be added on Milwaukee Street.
"We've worked diligently with the city to get this done, including long hours before, during and after the holidays, and we believe we have an excellent compromise design," said Carow. "The new design restores the Wisconsin Avenue facades to their late 1800s appearance. After much review and thorough analysis, it's been determined that the Milwaukee Street buildings, one of which the city has recently cited for structural failure, are far too deteriorated to be saved. The plans, however, call for some of the building materials from those structures to be sustainably recycled and reused in the new hotel."
The architect for the project is Kahler Slater principal Doug Nysse.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett threw his support behind the new design at a press conference today in the Pioneer Building at 625 N. Milwaukee St., which is one of the buildings that would be replaced by the hotel. Barrett said he supports the Marriott project because it preserves a portion of some of the historic structures and would add to the city's tax base and create jobs.
"The new compromise design respects our history and moves us forward into the future," Barrett said. "When buildings have true historic significance, and it is practical and affordable to redevelop them, historic preservation should be pursued. That's not the case here, and I think we should move forward with this project so we enhance downtown, grow the tax base and generate jobs."
Jackson Street Management is not seeking a subsidy from the city for the $50 million development. The firm says the hotel project would create 200 permanent jobs and 450 construction jobs.
The Historic Preservation Commission will meet on Monday, Jan. 10 to review the latest hotel design. If the commission votes in opposition to the project it would take a supermajority vote of the Common Council to approve it.