Just when Park East was finally about to move forward with yet another redevelopment project it sputters out again.
Gatehouse Capital has suspended its development plans for the Palomar Hotel and Residences, a $150 million project that was to feature 66 condos and a 175-room hotel in the Park East area of Milwaukee.
Around 10 p.m. last night, Steve Glynn of Spreenkler, a contact close to the project, announced through Twitter that The Residences at Hotel Palomar project has been canceled.
Late this morning official word was released from Palomar's financial backer, Marty Collins, CEO the Dallas-based Gatehouse Capital: "Even with the highest level of support and community backing, the deteriorating macro conditions of today's market could not be overcome. In the final analysis, the project is simply impractical in this new business climate."
This may not come as a huge surprise, considering the land that was home to the former Park East freeway has been plagued with start and stop issues since the road was knocked down. But last week I attended a Spreenkler meetup featuring Mayor Tom Barrett at the offices of Hotel Palomar.
While Barrett didn't say anything we haven't already heard, the representatives from the Residences at Hotel Palomar were very vocal about the plans they had for their mixed-use building. It was to be a luxury apartment/condo/hotel building where residents could make their escape, even from their children, to make life more enjoyable.
They gave presentations about how hard they were fighting to promote the Palomar as well as Milwaukee as a city on the grow. There were 3D animated virtual tours and promotional give-aways. There were talks about housing 2016 Olympic officials for months at a time. There was a pumped up game plan. Hotel Palomar, it seemed, was to be the catalyst for the long-awaited redevelopment of the long dormant Park East area. It was so enthusiastic it almost had me wondering how I could personally chip in to help them move their project forward.
All of this enthusiasm without an ounce of looming doubt. So it comes as a bigger shock that the project is coming to such a sudden end. But between the sagging real estate market and the downturned economy it's easy to imagine what may be the problem.
"As the residential and credit markets worsened to historical levels, Gatehouse Capital attempted to obtain a higher level of assistance from the City of Milwaukee, which unfortunately failed to materialize," says Collins.
Now it's back to the drawing board. Do you, our readers, have any new ideas to get that area moving again?
Jason McDowell grew up in central Iowa and moved to Milwaukee in 2000 to attend the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.
In 2006 he began working with OnMilwaukee as an advertising designer, but has since taken on a variety of rolls as the Creative Director, tackling all kinds of design problems, from digital to print, advertising to branding, icons to programming.
In 2016 he picked up the 414 Digital Star of the Year award.
Most other times he can be found racing bicycles, playing board games, or petting dogs.