Monday, April 10, 2017

Solvay Coke, the ideal fuel

... and the land can be yours for $4,200,000

The Solvay Coke & Gas plant originally opened in 1906 and closed its doors in April, 1983. Plans to demolish the expansive site have been in the works for years, but the intensive cleanup efforts mandated by the EPA have put this plant in limbo. It is, after all, a Superfund site: arsenic, lead, asbestos, and a whole host of other chemicals have been mixed into the ground.

The 46-acre Solvay Coke & Gas site is privately owned, and discussions over its future have centered on whether it should become a light industrial park or mixed-use commercial and housing development. It has been tied up in a bankruptcy lawsuit for years, and is contaminated.

A federal bankruptcy judge in Illinois last month signed off on a plan to sell the land this spring. Wisconsin Gas, a subsidiary of WEC Energy Group in Milwaukee, is the leading bidder to buy the property with a $4 million offer. WEC Energy has said it wants to work with the city and Harbor District to revitalize the property, but hasn’t released any specific plans.

The court-appointed receiver overseeing the property has hired Hilco Real Estate LLC of Northbrook Ill., to market the property to other potential bidders. Other companies must submit offers of at least $4.2 million by March 21. If any competing bids emerge, an auction will be held April 3.

“This site could essentially be the keystone for any future development of Milwaukee’s harbor area, especially given its proximity to the interstate and public transportation,” said Joel Schneider, senior vice president of Hilco Real Estate.

HERE is the source and some history…

HERE is a collection of images from the past…

These images have been digitally processed in Lightroom, MacPhun Software and have a texture overlay.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons... building the future

Northwestern Mutual is investing in a signature development that reflects a financially strong and growing company in a flourishing city with growth potential. The success and growth seen in the design of our new building will help lead the way in attracting and retaining top talent and new business to Milwaukee.

Check out the building designs HERE

A few progress images:

November 2015

2016 from the MAM Lakefront Festival of the Arts

April 3, 2017

The original Northwestern Mutual on the left...

More details from URBAN MILWAUKEE

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Cedarburg Settlement, Cedarburg Wisconsin

See the YouTube video HERE

Current events HERE

Cedar Creek Settlement is housed in a mid-19th century stone woolen mill, making it a visually delightful place–indoors and out–doors in which to shop.

Becoming the Cedar Creek Settlement
During the war years the mill was a major supplier of wool blankets for the war effort. In 1945 the mill stopped it’s weaving operation and stopped making blankets. After World War II the mill continued specialty hand weaving yarns and other items like caps and tassels for the wholesale trade.

In 1969 the mill ceased operations and was put up for sale. The Wittenberg family, headed by Carl Wittenberg, accepted an offer from developers who wanted to tear the mill down and put up a gas station. Stephen Fischer, the mayor of Cedarburg at the time, was a preservationist and asked Carl Wittenberg to allow him 6 months to find an alternative buyer to preserve the buildings. That 6 month period ended in February of 1972.

In 1972 the mill had been empty for almost two years and the roof leaked, many windows over 800 were broken and the mill was a cold dank place.

In May of 1972, the wine shop and tasting room were opened to the public. In 1973, shops on the first floor were added, and in 1974 shops were added on the second floor and in 1978 completed the 3rd floor as artists’ studios and limited retail.

The mill in those years became a major tourist destination and helped bring vitality to downtown Cedarburg.

As part of the marketing effort, festivals were decided on as a major focus. In September of 1973 we held our first Wine Harvest Festival. In February of 1974 we added the Winter Festival. In June of 1986 we added the first Strawberry Festival.

Notes on the history of the Wittenberg Woolen Mill from Jim Pape

Festivals seen HERE

See the YouTube video HERE

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Essence of the Brady Street Neighborhoods...

See the video slide show HERE

Milwaukee’s Brady Street neighborhood, bounded by the Milwaukee River, Lake Michigan, Ogdon Avenue, and Kane Place, is arguably the most densely-populated square mile in the state of Wisconsin. A mix of historic shops, single-family homes, apartments, and condos. Brady Street boasts of great diversity that draws from many distinct eras. It began in the mid-19th century as a crossroads between middle-class Yankees from the East and early German settlers. Polish and Italian immigrants soon followed, working the mills, tanneries, and breweries that lined the riverbank. After these groups had assimilated and many of their descendants moved to the suburbs, the hippies in the 1960s arrived with their counterculture to fill the void. By the 1980s, the area fell into blight, neglect, and decay; now, a true model for new urbanism, the Brady Street neighborhood is in the midst of a renaissance.

Named in 1840, Brady Street has been the Lower East Side’s main drag since the late-19th century. Early on, the neighborhood mostly attracted working-class residents and its main street always blended commerce and housing. St. Hedwig’s Catholic Church, the street’s towering landmark, was built in 1886 to anchor the Polish community. It’s one of several buildings faced in the city’s distinctive Cream City brick.

See the video slide show HERE

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Art of Winter

The first snowfall

How majestic are the trees
Painted with pure white
They are so beautiful and bright

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A fine Fall Day on the Menomonee River Parkway. I had spent a lot of youthful Summers at "Menomonee". To me, too much of this parkway has been left to go natural.

Projects along the parkway during the last two years, included dredging the lagoon, which had deteriorated with algae and stagnant water over the years; tearing out invasive species of trees and preparing to plant replacements; and performing sewer work prior to having the parkway repaved. They had created four bays in the lagoon so that storm sewer water will flow into them and be cleaned naturally before flowing into the Menomonee River.

The project relies on the course of nature. It takes a lot of time to have the soils and the vegetation just right.. The project has been supported by a $100,000 grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan. The area will require maintenance as new oak and maple trees replace invasive species such as buckthorn and honeysuckle

 Parkway south of Burleigh...

 In the middle of Center Street as it ends at the Parkway.