Stitchweld project transforms former industrial site

September 1, 2016

By Katherine Keller

This view illustrates the west side of the development that features the extension of S. Austin Street, which will be extended north. It will curve east and intersect with S. Robinson Avenue. Currently Austin terminates at E. Lincoln Avenue.

This view illustrates the west side of the development that features the extension of S. Austin Street, which will be extended north. It will curve east and intersect with S. Robinson Avenue. Currently Austin terminates at E. Lincoln Avenue.

The first move-ins at the Stitchweld apartment complex, 2171 S. Robinson Ave., are projected to begin April 2017.

The four-building complex, under construction since early spring, occupies most of the area bound by E. Ward Street, S. Robinson Avenue, the railroad tracks to the west, and E. Becher Street to the north. It will consist of 291 apartment units with 93 enclosed parking and 264 surface spaces on the 6.3-acre parcel.

Units will range from 587 to 1,476 square feet and lease for $1,200 to $2,500. The plan includes 85 studios, 103 one bedroom, 90 two bedroom, and 13 three bedroom units, all with 9 foot ceilings and each with a washer and dryer. There are no affordable housing/low-income units.

Indiana-based Milhaus Development is the developer. The design firm is Engberg Anderson Architects.

The name Stitchweld reflects Bay View and Milwaukee history. One of the original uses of the site included the original Harnischfeger building. “They manufactured welding rods,” said Greg McHenry, development director at Milhaus.

A stitch weld, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “resistance welding in which the weld is made linearly by a series of spot welds that are spaced rather than overlapping (as in seam welding).”

McHenry said name Stitchweld is a metaphor that defines the project that brings together a vestige of Bay View’s and Milwaukee’s industrial heritage with the new, vibrant Bay View community.

The steel frame skeleton of one of the former structures on the site was preserved. In its reincarnated state, it will frame a firepit, grills, and a beer garden. PHOTO Katherine Keller

The steel frame skeleton of one of the former structures on the site was preserved. In its reincarnated state, it will frame a firepit, grills, and a beer garden. PHOTO Katherine Keller

The steel frame skeleton of one of the former structures on the site was preserved. In its reincarnated state, it will frame a firepit, grilling area, and a beer garden.

Another area of the development will feature a stage for movie nights and performances. McHenry said that the stage area would possibly be open to pubic use.

The stage was built from materials salvaged from demolished buildings on the site. The former Sweetwater Organics building was one of those razed.

When the $40 million project was originally introduced at a public meeting hosted by Ald. Tony Zielinski in 2015, it included ground level retail space. Milhaus abandoned the mixed-use plan, settling for a solely residential scheme.

Pets will be permitted. Other amenities include a fitness center, coffee bar, dog park and pet spa, carwash area, makerspace/bike garage, and a club room/social room with a large-screen TV and catering area.

There will also be what McHenry called a “co-work area with really fast wifi,” for tenants who work at home and who may need a break from isolation or distractions.

The site will also provide a place to play Ping Pong, bocce ball, and horseshoes.

Austin Street, which presently terminates at Lincoln Avenue, will be extended north, providing access to the west side of the development. Instead of connecting to Becher Street on the north, it will turn east and connect to Robinson Avenue.

Pre-leasing is scheduled to begin this winter and the first move-ins to start in spring. Construction and landscaping are projected to be complete by the end of 2017.

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