Monday, May 13, 2013
Panel approves two-part plan, giving Forest Exploration Center School time to raise funds to occupy historic buildings but pre-approving razing three of them if those funds don't materialize.
The Wauwatosa Historic Preservation Commission voted Monday for a plan that allows for a developer and a charter school to work together on preserving all of the historic Eschweiler Buildings – but also would permit demolishing three of the four buildings if the school plan fails to achieve its financing goals. Mandel Group, which would build new residential units surrounding the Eschweilers, and the Forest Exploration Center University School put together a plan that essentially gives the buildings to the school. But it's up to the school to find funding commitments to begin refurbishing and occupying the buildings within a timeline of about 20 months. If the charter school succeeds, it will gain a long-term lease "for a consideration…
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Turning a blah '50s concrete-block box into a bright and bold Parisian-style bakery earns owners civic restoration award.
The homeowner who turns an old, gray Victorian manse back into a bright, filigreed "painted lady." The business owner who turns a tired, crumbling Cream City brick commercial building back into a tuck-pointed civic landmark. These are the folks we have come to expect to win awards for historic restoration. The Wauwatosa Historic Preservation Commission took a different tack Tuesday and presented its annual Preservation of Properties Award to Rocket Baby Bakery for turning a bland block building from 1958 into an eye-catching North Avenue storefront. "This used to be a relatively mundane office building," said commission chairman Charles Mitchell. "Now, it's a bright and cheery traditional storefront that fits with the neighborhood." "Not …
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Forest Exploration school's backers need to raise $2 million in donations and show that about $6 million more has or will come through other sources, within about two years. The Eschweiler Buildings' future rests on that success.
There was a statement made Tuesday night at a hearing on the Eschweiler Buildings considered so apt, three more people repeated it verbatim before the evening was out. "This is an elegant solution to a vexing problem." The originator was Phil Aiello, project leader for the Mandel Group, which wants to develop an apartment complex around the historic Eschweiler Campus. He was concluding a presentation to the Historic Preservation Commission that offered an intriguing compromise: Mandel's project would go forward in tandem with a plan to create a charter school housed in the four historic buildings – provided the school's backers could raise the money to establish its initial phase within about 20 months to two years. The Forest Exploration …
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
With UWM Foundation prepared to lease the historic structures to the Forest Exploration Center for a charter school, the way could be paved to allow both preservation and surrounding development.
While there are still pieces that need to fall into place, in both the short and long term, plans are coming together to make possible the preservation and restoration of the historic Eschweiler Buildings. After months of discussions, the UWM Real Estate Foundation is nearly ready to sign a lease with the Forest Exploration Center, under Executive Director John Gee, to work toward occupying the buildings with a charter school. Gee said Monday that while there are still some details to work out, he's preparing to go to his board of directors on March 6 to ask for two actions: If that sounds like it's pretty much a done deal, it isn't quite. The lease isn't signed yet, and Gee said it would be the end of this week before the final terms are …
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Innovation? Bah.... History? Bunk.... In this day and age, where to park your car appears still to be the overriding concern when it comes to getting down to business.
In a far-ranging discussion Tuesday night of the city's part in UWM's Innovation Campus, and in the related fate of the historic Eschweiler buildings, Wauwatosa's Common Council finally got the word on what's really driving this bus. That word is: Parking. As with so many urban development plans, the mundane problem of providing enough parking emerged on the County Grounds projects. But here, the matter is so complex that whether the Eschweilers are saved or demolished in a redevelopment plan, or even whether any redevelopment of their grounds can proceed at all, is tightly tied to how parking is handled on the rest of the UWM Real Estate Foundation's property. At the same time, providing public financing for private developers to have …
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Consultants hired to analyze Mandel Group's projected costs and return on investment in either preserving or demolishing historic buildings are about on target, they say. But that might not satisfy everyone.
A consultant's draft study, commissioned by the city, by and large supports the cost analysis presented by Mandel Group last year for a residential development on the campus of the historic Eschweiler Buildings. Essentially, the study concludes that preserving and rehabilitating the Eschweilers as part of the development would by economically infeasible for the developer, with a "financing gap" of $6.5 million. Demolishing all but one of the historic buildings and using only new construction for apartments, as Mandel has proposed, would be feasible, the study found – but still, only with some level of public financing assistance. The actual difference in total project costs with available financing between the two proposals is about $4.25 …
Friday, August 3, 2012
New plan calls for razing one building, taking two down to "garden walls" height, and would still preserve the Administration Building – but only with city tax financing assistance.
A modified plan for redeveloping the Eschweiler Campus on the County Grounds presented Wednesday night offers a different look to the finished project but still calls for taking down three buildings and saving one. But while new design features were the focus of an informational presentation to the Wauwatosa Historical Preservation Commission, the real revelation was that the developer, Mandel Group, would need city tax district financing in order to preserve and restore even that one building. Barry Mandel, president of the firm, first announced in May that to make a residential redevelopment of the Eschweilers and grounds profitable, he would have to demolish three buildings. Then and since, he has made preservation of the largest …
Friday, July 27, 2012
Developer Mandel says buildings have to come down if plan is to succeed, but citizens say that goes unacceptably counter to city's longstanding promise to preserve them.
Sometimes things don't go exactly as planned – and sometimes that's a good thing. An open discussion Wednesday night of the future of the historic Eschweiler buildings, convened by the County Grounds Coalition, was intended in concept to be a source of creative and productive ideas for preserving the structures. It turned into a vigorous policy debate, something its chief organizer afterward acknowledged was probably more valuable at this, "the eleventh hour." She, Barb Agnew, founder of the Friends of the Monarch Trail and a Wauwatosa businesswoman, moderated the meeting and asked at the beginning, and more than once during, and again at the end, that the discussion focus as much as possible on positive, proactive proposals for preserving…
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Do they stand or do they fall? And, coalition wants to know, have we thought of all the implications and possibilities there and in between.
- VOLUNTEERS IN THE NEWS
- Jim Price
Saturday, July 21, 2012
“For in the end," said Senagalese ecologist Baba Dioum, "we will save only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.” Citizens from a consortium of historic preservation and environmental groups will gather Wednesday to discuss in an open forum: The County Grounds Coalition is hosting "The Eschweiler Forum: Saving the Past for the Future," at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Firefly Room at the Wauwatosa Public Library. The coalition comprises representatives of a broad-based group ranging from local to national organizations that have signed a memorandum of understanding to support preservation of the Eschweilers and their surroundings. The format is open, and the public is invited. Barb …
Thursday, June 7, 2012
But a host of organizations and members of the public say city would be selling out its heritage by allowing demolition of any of the Eschweiler Buildings.
After a month of pondering alternatives, Barry Mandel, who wants to buy and redevelop the Eschweiler Campus on the County Grounds, repeated Wednesday that he would need to demolish three out of four historic buildings for his plan to work. But preservationists were out in force to condemn any course that failed to preserve the buildings as a group, which they said has always been Wauwatosa's intention and official position. Mandel, president of Mandel Group, with lead staff and consultants, made a second presentation Wednesday night to the Wauwatosa Historic Preservation Commission, after first coming to the panel on May 3. No formal proposal was made then or now, and no action was contemplated by the commission, but the message was strong…