The old Habhegger Wheel and Axle building at 1701 N. Water St., near Brady, is completely down now and Wangard's project to bring residences and retail to the space is underway, albeit a bit late.
The plan was to begin construction in 2014, with completion on the roughly 160 apartments and 6,600 square feet of retail space slated for later this year. There's been nothing so far to suggest it won't be finished on time.
Workers are on the site – which Wangard has called "one of the most desirable sites in Milwaukee right on the Milwaukee River" – today clearing and excavating.
Here's what Wangard's website for the project says about the development:
"The project sits at the convergence of two showcase urban corridors – North Water Street and East Brady Street. As the visual terminus to Brady Street’s west end, the property has the ability to become a major landmark building in the neighborhood and enhances Brady Street as one of the most successful retail and entertainment streets in the City."
A stretch of riverwalk is planned for the development, too.
The Wangard site continues: "By providing high-quality rental housing and retail amenities to the neighborhood, this development helps to improve the connectivity between the Water Street District and the Lower East Side, develops a pedestrian walkway along the south side of the underutilized Milwaukee River, and further enhances this area as one of the most dynamic urban neighborhoods of the City."
The development also reportedly includes the former house and Honeymead Warehouse to the west, at 1693 N. Water St. Though it's long been vacant and is boarded up, that structure – once Mike Mervis' residence – currently remains standing. (Update: Shortly after this post, 1693 N. Water St. was also demolished.)
Habhegger, which has replaced the "Wheel and Axle" in its name with "Full Service Auto Repair," is now located at 102 W. Capitol Dr.
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.