The City of Kenosha held kick off celebration for the Kenosha Harbor District development

The City of Kenosha held a kick-off celebration Thursday for the first phase of the nine-block redevelopment of Downtown Kenosha, named the Kenosha Harbor District.

The first phase of the multi-phase, $450 million redevelopment will be two apartment buildings.  The first building, at 5506 7th Ave., will be five stories and have 158 apartments – a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units. The second building will be a ten-story tower with 188 apartments, ground-floor retail and coworking, and seven townhomes. It will be on the site of the former LaMacchia Travel Agency at 618 55th St. The two buildings will be the first to be built as part of the redevelopment of Downtown Kenosha which will add a total of 1,000 new housing units as well as retail, office buildings, and a hotel over the next decade according to plans.

“The redevelopment of the downtown will provide much needed housing as well as bring residents and visitors to the current businesses in the downtown area,” Mayor John Antaramian said.  “This project will transform downtown as the development team brings a fresh perspective to this public/private partnership and eventually provides a much needed new city hall.”

Construction on the first building will begin this summer and last through early 2026. Construction of the ten-story building will begin after the first is complete.

The city is partnering with Cobalt Smith on the development, which is a collaboration between Milwaukee-based Cobalt Partners and Fond du Lac-based general contractor C.D. Smith. Cobalt Smith will be overseeing the downtown redevelopment.

“The Kenosha Harbor District redevelopment will transform this well-situated, but underutilized area into a vibrant, urban waterfront that will simultaneously provide benefit to – and derive benefit from – the surrounding districts that currently constitute the downtown area, “ said Scott Yauck, President/CEO, Cobalt Partners. “A project of this significance will surely strengthen the shared sense of community and growing momentum in downtown Kenosha.  We are honored and privileged to work in partnership with the City of Kenosha to accelerate that momentum.”

When complete, these two buildings will be the first in the nine-block redevelopment outlined in the comprehensive Downtown Vision plan unveiled in May 2023.  The plan was developed by Cobalt Smith with design assistance from SBC, an architecture, planning, and urban design firm based in Chicago. The development area is bordered by Sheridan Road on the west, 52nd Street on the north, 56th Street on the south and Lake Michigan on the east. It calls for over 1,000 living units in several new structures, along with condominiums on the eastern-most block to complement the existing Harbor Park district.

A central park and laneway are planned to connect residential buildings with a market hall, food kiosk, and retail space. Plans also call for a full-service hotel at Sheridan Road and 52nd Street, along with two office buildings.

The comprehensive plan utilizes the existing Tax Increment District No. 27 to assist in funding needed public improvements, parking, and the central park space. The plan also leverages the area’s significant transportation infrastructure, including a historic streetcar trolley, a central bus transfer point, and a Metra train station, and will strengthen pedestrian and bike mobility.

Strategically located adjacent to many unique character districts, including the HarborPark /Marina District, Civic Center Historic District, and 6th street, this new district presents a transformative opportunity to reconnect and infill the urban fabric commercial corridor. This downtown redevelopment plan will help to reposition Kenosha and revitalize its urban center.

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