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BMO Tower, Bradley Symphony Center Among 2021 Mayor’s Design Award Winners

June 7, 2021

This year’s crop of 2021 Mayor’s Design Awards announced Monday by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett ranged in scale from the 24-story BMO Tower to a Near West Side oasis with produce stands and picnic tables on Vliet Street.

This is the 24th year of the program intended to recognize projects completed throughout the city, but the first in which the winners opened into a world shut down by a pandemic. Barrett on Monday recognized that, saying it is the first year where he hadn’t had the opportunity to personally tour all of the winning projects over the course of the year.

“What gave me hope and optimism was seeing that even through the pandemic we were seeing investments in neighborhoods throughout the city,” Barrett said. “Even in the most difficult year that this city, this state, this nation, this world has faced probably since World War II, we continue to see individuals, organizations and businesses that are investing for the future.”

Walnut Way Conservation Corp. hosted the virtual awards event on the green roof of its Innovations and Wellness Commons on West North Avenue. That project’s second phase was among this year’s design award winners.

Here’s a full rundown of the other 2021 winners broken down by the category:

Filled-in projects that redevelop properties that often are gaps in otherwise active neighborhoods

  • Clarke Square Apartments, 40 low-income apartments at 2330 W. Mineral St. and 918 S. 24th St., by Cardinal Capital Group and Journey House
  • Royal Capital Group’s 550 Ultra Lofts market-rate apartments connected to the parking structure adjacent to Fiserv Forum
  • The Timber Lofts in Walker’s Point at 300 W. Florida St., where Pieper Properties restored historic industrial buildings and constructed a timber-framed addition

Spaces and Places that recognize public amenities

  • Light the Hoan color-changing, programmable LEDs on the west-facing side of the Daniel Hoan Memorial Bridge
  • The Milwaukee Christian Center’s Youth Artists United Mural with a design by Tia Richardson at 1320 W. Burnham St.
  • Vliet Street Oasis green space with produce stands and picnic tables at 3743 W. Vliet St. on the Near West Side
  • Southgate Playfield renovation at 3350 S. 25th St., which converted an asphalt parking lot into a public playground, splash pad, basketball court and field.

Small Gems were recognized for renovating smaller commercial buildings and improving the pedestrian experience of their surrounding areas

  • The Legacy Co-working and Innovation Space at 1920 N. Martin Luther King Drive that converted a storage building into space for entrepreneurs, a commercial kitchen and offices for the African American Chamber of Commerce
  • 5 Points Art Gallery & Studios at 3514 N. Port Washington Ave. that converted a funeral home into a studio and gallery for local artists of color. It also includes two apartments where artists can live
  • Paloma Taco and Tequila at 5419 W. North Ave. conversion of a former storage building into a restaurant with outdoor seating along the sidewalk
  • The Bindery at 347 E. Ward St. converted a Bay View book bindery building into a gathering space and lab for people in the writing and printing industries
  • Urbal Tea at 3060 S. 13th St. converted a foreclosed building into a neighborhood café and tea production and packaging facility.

Test of Time projects that restore or reuse older properties

  • The National Block at 425 W. National Ave. in Walker’s Point restored a condemned building for apartments and an event space operated by Saz’s Hospitality Group
  • Duet Resource Group Experience Center that renovated a long-vacant building at 224 S. First St. for the furniture company and its showroom
  • Wheel & Sprocket converted an old industrial building at 187 E. Becher St. for the bike company’s headquarters and flagship store
  • 3728 N. Fratney St. tannery building converted into 17 studios for artists and makers in the Riverworks neighborhood
  • A former bank on 3338 N. Martin Luther King Drive converted by Bader Philanthropies into a new health clinic and space for Sam’s Place jazz café
  • Warner Grand Theatre’s restoration and expansion on West Wisconsin Avenue to become the Bradley Symphony Center and main home of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

Design That Grabs You projects recognized for their architecture

  • Villard Commons mixed-income apartments with first-floor retail spaces at 3621 W. Villard Ave.
  • Good Hope Library and Fortitude Apartments at 7717 W. Good Hope Road with 65 affordable apartments and a new public library branch
  • The Yards market-rate apartments at 205 W. Oregon St. in Walker’s Point
  • New Land Enterprises’ Kinetik market-rate apartments at 2160 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. with a food hall planned for its ground floor
  • Huron Building offices at 511 N. Broadway developed by J. Jeffers & Co. on a former parking lot surrounded by historic structures
  • BMO Tower at 790 N. Water St., a 24-story multi-tenant building developed by Irgens across from Milwaukee City Hall.