This afternoon Potawatomi’s Ryan Amundson gave me a little tour of the 20-story, 381-room hotel, currently under construction adjacent to the Menomonee Valley casino.
The pilings have been driven and workers are assembling scaffolding and lifting them in place as crews pour the structure. Four floors are up and by next week the fifth floor should be complete.
Once that level is reached, the hotel’s guest floors will have been reached. Because those floors are all of uniform design, estimates are that a new floor will be poured per week.
It was interesting to get a close-up look at the post-tension system being used to build the hotel. Gilbane superintendent and safety manager Tadd Hilgendorf explained that in addition to rebar, plastic coated cables are encased in the poured concrete. When the concrete is at about 75 percent strength, the cables are tightened to create a super-strong structure.
Hilgendorf said that by the start of May glass and steel will arrive on site and workers will begin building out the interior walls of the lower floors and installing the exterior glass, while the current crew will continue raising the height the building by adding guest floors at the top.
Construction is due to be complete by late next summer (2014).
About 25 percent of the workers building the hotel are from the City of Milwaukee. Others are coming from northern Illinois and Minnesota.
The flame, which will still function, but will be somewhat obscured by the new building, sits above what will be the entrance that will connect the hotel to the casino. A new cauldron, but sans flame, will go up on the casino’s northeast corner, near Dream Dance Steak restaurant.
I’ll go back in May for another tour and will post updated photographs then.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.