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Downtown Vision 'moving forward," big projects ahead

Downtown Vision 'moving forward," big projects ahead

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A $400 million vision is becoming reality.

Mayor John Antaramian’s Downtown Vision Project — an eight-square block (25 acres) redevelopment to include a new city hall, performing arts center, public park and hundreds of private residences — was designed to reshape the downtown lakefront and accommodate years of expected local growth.

Brindisi Towers, a $79.5 million apartment/condominium high-rise, is in line to become one of the first major undertakings of the project. The mixed-use structure is slated for a 1.6-acre parcel located directly north of the Kenosha Municipal Building on 52nd Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues.

“It’s moving forward,” Antaramian said. “It’s a lot of development that is going to take many years. The Brindisi (Towers) will likely get started in the spring or summer. City Hall is next. Then I believe we will look into building the performing arts center. I think that’s going to go in sooner than later, but nothing is set in stone. In the end, all of these additions will change downtown dramatically. I think our downtown is going to really thrive.”

Construction is expected to soon begin on an $8 million downtown parking structure. The five-story, 364-spot ramp is slated for a 0.75-acre, city-owned parcel just east of the Kenosha Post Office on Eighth Avenue between 56th and 57th streets.

It is one of three parking facilities planned for the downtown area.

A new, 80,000-square foot City Hall and 300-space public parking ramp is proposed for the northeast corner of Sheridan Road and 56th Street. The current building, which is on a 1.51-acre parcel, is set to be demolished, housed the original Kenosha Police Department and most recently the Kenosha Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Kenosha Public Library’s Administration and Support Center.

Lake Terrace LLC, an Illinois-based development company, acquired vacant, city-owned property at the southeast corner of Fifth Avenue and 59th Street with conditions of development for the $17 million Lake Terrace Apartments. The $100,000 deal also included a vacant city lot directly west of the property to be used for additional parking.

As numerous downtown projects get underway in 2020, planning continues for a major facelift of the Uptown neighborhood and redevelopment of the former Chrysler Engine Plant site.

The Uptown Neighborhood Streetscape Design Project, which will take place along the 22nd Avenue corridor between 60th Street and 64th Street, will create 38 additional parking spaces, a landscaped median (similar to 56th Street in HarborPark), upgraded LED lighting, entry columns, pavement designs and improved pedestrian walkways.

The revitalization project is intended to fuel what Antaramian describes as the beginning of what will become a “renaissance” of Kenosha’s older neighborhoods.

The 107-acre Chrysler site, located east of 30th Avenue between 52nd and 60th streets, was demolished in 2012. It underwent years of soil remediation and soon will be ready for development.

City officials hired a Texas-based consulting firm to help transform the site into a future technology hub, including an education/research/technology center focused on jobs of the future, public and private partnerships and on-site education and training.

A goal of the technology hub is to provide high-paying jobs and attract young professionals to Kenosha, according to Antaramian.

“We haven’t done a good enough job of keeping our young people here,” Antaramian said. “We have a lot of bright, young folks who can do so many different things. We don’t keep enough of them. Part of that is type of jobs and cultural activities offered. We have to create an ecosystem where young people want to be here.”

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