Bay View- Stable Urban District in Milwaukee’s Southside

Bay View was established as a company town when the Milwaukee Iron Company, led by Eber Brock Ward, opened a steel rolling mill south of the original Milwaukee River Outlet in 1868. Bay View existed as an independent village for eight years but was eventually annexed into the City of Milwaukee in 1887.  Much of the original company footprint is preserved in the Bay View Historic District. The southern third of Bay View (south of Oklahoma Ave) is much newer and built up in the 1920s-1940s

The Business district that runs along W-32 or S Kinnickinnic Ave is the longest cohesive historic biz district in the City and full of a diverse array of retail and cultural amenities. There is also some retail along Clement Ave, Oklahoma, and Howell Avenues. Chase Ave contains very autocentric strip centers and big box stores, helpful in the retail amenities it provides but awful for the district’s urban form. Bay View’s best homes are along the lake but there are also some nice pockets west of Kinnickinnic Ave and attractive 1920s-1940s homes south of Oklahoma Ave. Bay View also excels at providing its residents excellent park amenities, great variety of for-sale housing options, good access to Dwtn among all modes of transportation, quality walkable schools, and a high level of safety. I consider Bay View a top 5 district in Milwaukee. In order to become an elite district it needs more multi-family infill, more density, better ADA infrastructure, new streetscape and a complete re-design of the suburban looking Chase Avenue.

Click here to view my Bay View Album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Overall good public transit. It varies a lot throughout the district depending on how close you are to arterial corridors.
* Good bike infrastructure with several dedicated bike lanes and a couple of bike share stations.
* Convenient to Dwtn among all modes of transportation.
* Good # of walkable schools and generally rated well.
* Good variety of for sale options. Healthy number of condos and SF homes selling btwn 150K-400K, lots of variety with 2-bed homes selling btwn 150K-600K, 3 & 4 beds range btwn 175K-800k. Some mansions sell above 1 M.
* Okay # of rentals but go price ranges. 1-beds lease btwn $800-2K, more 2-beds leasing btwn 900K-the low 2Ks, decent amount of 3-beds leasing btwn 1.5K-3K. Decent # of dedicated affordable hsg too.
* Great park amenities starting with the expansive Humboldt Park & Baran Park, and extensive lakefront park. Also many small-medium sized parks too.
* Great culturally amenities including a wonderful array of food & beverage bizs, lots of live music venues & night clubs, a historic theater, a community theater, several art galleries, and a couple museums.
* Good retail amenities as well include 2 supermarkets, a couple drug stores, a target, home depot, plenty of banks, great variety of boutiques/consignments stores & bookstores, lots of creative stores, plenty of gyms and dessert joints, a public library & post office, & lots of churches.
* Overall a very safe place.
* Decent pedestrian connections esp. along the main commercial corridor (Memorial Hwy).
* Historic architecture ranges from 1870s-1940s getting newer the further south you go. Also gorgeous newer mansions along the cost.
* Generally very good urban massing along  S Kinnickinnic Ave and decent urban massing through the district except for Chase Ave which is lined with big boxes & strip malls.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Underwhelming density thanks to all the park and industrial space in the neighborhood.
* Overall good sidewalk and ADA infrastructure but more than 1/2 of the curb cuts are out of date.
* Most of the in-fill bland autocentric but some good mixed-use infill on the northern edge of the district.
* The streetscaping is pretty tired and warn but works.

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