After years of neglect, the former McKinley School, 2001 W. Vliet St., is finally getting some good attention. In 2017, Gorman & Co. visited the old school and expressed interest in converting this 19th century schoolhouse – sold by MPS in the early 1980s and then used primarily as a day care center – into housing.
The building – the survival of which was in doubt after a 2013 fire – is unique among MPS buildings in style and architect; it is the only one known to have been designed by Fred Seyring. It received historic designation from the city in 2014.
A third neighborhood meeting was held Tuesday night to discuss Gorman’s plans for the building.
Today, Dave Misky of the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee told me that the plan is progressing.
"The City is moving Gorman proposal forward," Misky said. "They will restore school for 35 affordable units and build eight market-rate townhomes along Vliet Street. The neighborhood meeting was fairly positive to move it forward."
According to Misky, the City Plan Commission will hear project at its Nov. 12 meeting and the Common Council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee will take it up on Nov. 20.
Last week, when Gorman’s Ted Matkom toured me around its impressive redevelopment of the former Fifth Street School, he said that some of the McKinley units, like those at Fifth Street, would likely be reserved for veterans housing, and that – again, like Fifth Street – the developer hopes to use historic tax credits to help finance the project.
In 2012, Gorman also redeveloped the former Peckham Junior High/Jackie Robinson Middle School building into apartments that were completely leased by the time the doors were opened.
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.