October 8, 2008

Common Council OKs Condo Tower High-Rise Includes Goll Restoration


A controversial lakefront high-rise development won the Milwaukee Common Council's approval Tuesday.

Aldermen voted 13-1 to authorize construction of a 26-story condominium tower behind the historic Goll mansion, 1550 N. Prospect Ave.

The mansion would be restored and connected to the tower, providing a lobby, two guest suites and a ballroom for the $65 million project.

Residents of a neighboring condo complex, at 1522 N. Prospect Ave., battled the project planned by New Land Enterprises. They said the new building would not be compatible with the 1898 mansion and would block their views of Lake Michigan, reducing their property values.

But supporters of the project said developer Boris Gokhman's plan offered the best chance of restoring the historic mansion, which is now used for offices. The zoning approval requires New Land to complete the restoration before the city issues occupancy permits for any of the condo tower's 35 units, which are to be sold at prices starting at $1.2 million.

The site was zoned for high-rise development, but the project required a variance because its top seven stories would be closer to the lot lines than the zoning allowed.

As a result of a petition filed by the neighbors, the measure needed 11 votes to pass. The only "no" vote came from Ald. Nik Kovac, whose east side district is nearby. Ald. Joe Davis Sr. was absent.

In other action, the council:

- Approved a $75,000 settlement with Kirsten Antonissen and Katie Brown, who were with Frank Jude Jr. when he was beaten by off- duty Milwaukee police officers in 2004. In federal lawsuits filed in October 2006, the women claimed they had been assaulted, battered and falsely imprisoned, and that they suffered emotional distress after the incident.

- Appropriated $3 million from the city's contingency fund to help cover the costs of clearing snow and ice from heavy winter storms.

- Confirmed Mayor Tom Barrett's nomination of Hmong community activist Paoi Lor to a newly created seventh seat on the Fire and Police Commission.

- Added Carora, Venezuela, to the list of Milwaukee's sister cities.

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