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Wauwatosa approves extended-stay hotel at Innovation Campus

Four-story Residence Inn by Marriott will have 127 rooms

March 12, 2014

Work on a hotel in Innovation Campus should begin in May if all goes according to plans laid out before a city committee this week.

A four-story, 127-room Residence Inn by Marriott will be built just east of the roundabout on Discovery Parkway. The L-shaped hotel was modified from a standard hotel design to complement the architecture of other buildings at the campus; it more resembles Wauwatosa's urban apartment complexes, with varied exterior materials and outside walls with varied depths.

The plan was approved unanimously Tuesday by the Community Development Committee. The Common Council will consider it March 18.

The hotel site is on a rise, with the ground sharply falling away on two sides, and committee members expressed concern about a road that will circle the hotel, possibly requiring changing the contour of the slope.

David Gilbert, of the University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin Real Estate Foundation, which owns the campus, said some details of the site were yet to be worked out.

Additional attention was given to the hotel's surface parking lot, which surrounds the structure on three sides. Native plants will be sprinkled around the lot and on its islands, and, in response to a question from Alderman Dennis McBride, architect Chris Meyers of Meyers & Associates said a berm would reduce the view of parked cars from outside the lot.

Gilbert said a construction cost figure was not available.

The residence hotel will offer guests free hot breakfasts, and the rooms come with fully-equipped kitchens. The hotel is designed to accommodate professionals and others who make extended visits to Innovation Campus for research there or at the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center, across Watertown Plank Road. It will have a pool and an outdoor basketball court, Meyers said.

Plans for the hotel were thrown into doubt last year when members of the Milwaukee County Board sought to impose a employee wage requirement on the facility, a provision that some said would kill the project. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele vetoed the proposal.

Other features coming to Innovation Campus include an apartment complex built in a semi-circle around the Eschweiler Buildings by developer Mandel Group and a parking structure next to the hotel parking lot.

Construction of a regional headquarters for the Swiss firm ABB Inc., and a business accelerator for UWM are well under way.

UWM also plans to build a new engineering school at the campus.

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