￼If the old saying “the devil is in the details” holds sway, then the proposed renewal of the former Walker Manufacturing site on the city’s Lake Michigan shore is beginning to look devilishly good.
A bare-bones announcement of the renewal project made just a month ago by Mayor Cory Mason and Milwaukee developer Royal Capital Group was fleshed out this week and it is an impressive package that calls for the $50 million construction of 242 market-rate apartments with two main structures, a seven-story apartment building with a two-story parking facility and a five-story apartment building with one story of parking.
About 4,400 square feet of retail space is also in the plan.
The project, dubbed @ North Beach, is just the first phase of the development envisioned by Royal Capital Group, which has been a key player in the $1 billion downtown Milwaukee redevelopment that features the new Fiserv Forum. In announcing the new details for the project, Kevin Newell, president of Royal Capital Group, said, “We came to Racine, out of all the other opportunities we could have chased after in the local market, based upon the leadership here. Being able to work with a mayor and council and staff that gets it, that share the same values that we share, made this partnership viable.”
If plans proceed apace, construction of phase one, which will take about half the Walker site, will begin in the spring with completion 18 months later. @ North Beach is an ambitious plan that could create a new neighborhood on the city’s near North Side and transform a neglected brownfield site into a vital and attractive part of the community.
￼The holiday season is in full swing with Christmas concerts, tree lightings, singalongs and open houses across the area in the coming days. And, of course, in keeping with the holiday spirit of giving, there are benefits to help the needy. One of the unique events along that line is “BlankFest Wisconsin,” which returns to McAuliffe’s Pub, 3700 Meachmen Road tonight and Saturday night at 8 p.m. both days. The price of admission for the four-band show each night is one blanket — a new or slightly used blanket that will be distributed to area shelters and organizations serving the homeless.
Donations of gloves, socks, coffee, cases of water, toiletries granola, linens and other items are also acceptable. If you don’t have any of those items, the admission will be $10 — and that, too, will go to aid the homeless. Your ears will hum and your heart will glow.
￼Despite the upheaval in Green Bay with the impromptu firing of coach Mike McCarthy, the Green and Gold continued to spread some green around the state this week with the announcement of $800,000 in grants to 230 civic and charitable groups. Here in Racine County, the Green Bay Packers Foundation donations will benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Racine and Kenosha counties, Cops ‘N Kids Reading Center, Inc., Junior Achievement of Wisconsin Inc., The National Alliance on Mental Illness — Racine County, and SME Education Foundation. Glad tidings indeed, even if our playoff hopes have faded.
￼Bah, humbug! Wall Street has shown little of the holiday spirit the past couple of weeks and this week in particular the Dow deserves a thumbs down. Mute the mid-day stock reports and don’t check your iPhone until January.
￼“Steamboat a-coming!” The glorious days of yesteryear got dusted off this week when President Donald Trump signed legislation that will authorize the Delta Queen riverboat to once again ply the waters of the Mississippi River along Wisconsin’s western shores. The 1920s-era riverboat had been docked for the past decade by a federal law prohibiting overnight excursions on wooden vessels. Under the legislated exemption, the riverboat — which already has a steel hull — will have to modify wooden portions of the vessel before it heads upriver.