Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin
Architect: HGA Architects and Engineers
Owner: Mandel Group Inc.
Contractor: Greenfire Management Services, LLC
Beaumont Place is located in the heart of the North Shore suburb of Whitefish Bay. It was developed on a property that represents perhaps the only opportunity for new luxury apartment development within this mature, fully built-out community. The development offers a perfect blend of convenience and high-end amenities set in a walkable neighborhood, immediately adjacent to the Silver Spring Drive business district. Beaumont Place features 83 luxury apartment homes in 3 unique buildings with floorplans that are among the largest rental designs constructed in the metro area. Thoughtful consideration was given to providing a home-like atmosphere, including features such as pantries, extra-large storage closets within units and built-ins throughout. Beaumont Place is a wonderful high-quality addition to an existing historic community and blends in seamlessly between single family homes and the Village’s main street shopping district.
The site for Beaumont Housing is a former municipal surface parking lot located in the back of the main street of the village. This gigantic surface lot, which filled half of a large city block, allowed retail customers to park behind the theater and stores and walk to the main street by means of a pedestrian passage. To the north of the site was a residential district with primarily apartment buildings directly across the street.
The Village of Whitefish Bay wanted to develop the vacant parcel into apartment housing, while at the same time asking to maintain the existing on-grade surface parking essential to supporting their main street retail and theater. The developer of the project asked for around 80 large, luxury apartments aimed primarily at empty nesters who wanted to sell their large homes but remain in the village. In addition to maintaining the existing municipal surface parking, new structured parking for the residents had to be developed.
The design solution raises a series of 3-story apartment buildings on top of a second-story green roof terrace in order to maintain virtually all of the municipal on-grade parking, which is now rain and snow covered. New parking for residents is placed in a basement underneath the municipal on-grade parking, allowing residents to ride elevators directly up to their apartment floors.
Two of the new apartment buildings rise three stories above the ground floor municipal parking, while the third building, which fronts on an important residential street to the west, has housing down to the ground floor (elevated just above grade) to maintain a sense of life along the street edge.
The existing pedestrian passageway from the parking to the main street was maintained, and continued through the new development. This allows pedestrians from the residential neighborhood to the north to walk through (and under) the apartments to reach the theater and shops of the village. A common entry for two of the buildings takes the form of a tower, relating closely to a significant number of historic towers in the nearby village. Glass bridges span over the pedestrian passage below. The fire stairs of the new housing are also articulated as picturesque towers, lending a poetic character to a typically mundane architectural feature and enhancing the village skyline.
Each of the 83 apartments in the development has a dedicated outdoor space in a variety of forms ranging from on-grade terraces elevated slightly above the street, to balconies hung out from the facades, to balconies recessed and integrated into the building, to private terraces and lawns on top of the 2nd floor roof terrace. The extent of the roof terrace allows the municipal parking below to be completely concealed from the residents above. A shared space for residents spills out onto the second floor roof terrace, allowing for roof garden parties complete with outdoor grilling.
In a neighborhood almost entirely made of brick masonry buildings, the new housing was clad completely in 16” long clay bricks of several different colors. With attention to the making of deep window returns, segmental arches, stone string courses and diapered brick patterns, the new project has a level of quality directly comparable to nearby historic buildings. The high quality level of the architecture assisted the developer in winning approval for a controversial project in a village that has seen virtually no new development in recent decades.
Photos: Darris Lee Harris Photography & Lacy Landre Photography