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Developer wants new plan for condo parking

Alderman Zielinski not OK with less parking or seeking city subsidy

June 6, 2007

A groundbreaking ceremony for the $7 million five-story Mod Lofts residential/retail complex on East Lincoln Avenue and South Allis Street was tentatively scheduled for this month, but the project appears to have hit a major snag.

Alderman Tony Zielinski, once a primary proponent of the project, said developer Vetter Denk Properties is now asking that either city money be used to help pay for the building's parking spaces or that the number of parking spaces be reduced.

Zielinski's answer is an emphatic "no."

He pointed out the city has already approved the Mod Lofts plan, which included 53 loft residential units, 52 parking spaces for residents and 38 public parking spaces.

"I feel this is disingenuous on their part," Zielinski said. "I don't think this type of behavior should be rewarded. Everything's all approved. They told me they were looking at breaking ground in June."

Officials at Vetter Denk did not return phone calls prior to press time.

The site at 2254 S. Allis St. is currently a public parking lot with about 50 spaces.

Initial plan maintained parking

When the city issued a request for proposals for the L-shaped parking lot behind Wild Flour Bakery last year, one of the primary requirements was that the number of public parking spaces be retained by the developer and that no city tax dollars be used toward the development, Zielinski said.

The alderman said Vetter Denk is "on record" as agreeing to preserve public parking spaces and "no taxpayer dollars would be involved."

He pointed out that parking spaces are now at a premium in the South Kinnickinnic Avenue area of Bay View.

Approval had contingencies

At a neighborhood meeting with about 50 residents last September, Vetter Denk officials presented plans for Mod Lofts. At that time, residents made it clear their support of the project was conditional on maintaining parking spaces and not using city tax dollars toward the development, Zielinski said.

At that meeting, a number of Bay View business owners spoke in favor of Mod Lofts, noting that increasing population density in the area would benefit local retailers.

At that time, the project was praised by the Department of City Development, Mayor Tom Barrett and Zielinski for its "green" or environmentally friendly features, including a "green" roof to absorb storm water, use of recycled materials and water-efficient fixtures and appliances.

Zielinski said he will not support any effort to reduce the number of parking spaces at Mod Lofts, nor will he support any move by the Milwaukee Common Council to provide a city subsidy for Vetter Denk to create parking spaces.

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