Garrison Partners Real Estate Consultants
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Not a bad view.
By Jeff Sherman Staff Writer

In my more than 15 years of Downtown living I've toured many homes, countless developments and lived in three different buildings. This doesn't make me a housing expert, but I do think I have a decent eye for what's good, design-friendly and marketable.

In general, the Downtown housing market is still rather young so buzz about new developments, density and perceived saturation is still aplenty. Indeed, like any neighborhood, there are countless options, many price points and several different looks, feels and amenities. I've seen many of them and am going to start regularly blogging about my tours and visits to the different developments. I'll handle each in a similar manner: a general overview, photos and six key observations.

Last week, I had the chance to tour the "new," Point on the River. The condominium homes located in the Historic Third Ward and Fifth Ward neighborhoods are a combination of new and existing buildings that provide striking views of the city. Originally known as First Place on the River, the more than $60 million development at 106 W. Seeboth St., overlooks both the Milwaukee and Menomonee Rivers.

Now led by the Mandel Group and marketed by Garrison Partners Consulting, Point on the River delivers one of the most innovative and stunning sales centers that I've ever seen in Milwaukee. I loved the Residences at the Palomar's presentation in it sales center, but this one takes the cake. Interactive maps, floor plans and more are all at the touch of your fingers at the sales center. The kiosk there also has every design in the building so you don't have to personally tour the 50-plus floor plans. It's a great space and the views from its massive patio are breathtaking.

Here are six observations about this striking riverfront development:

  • I loved the storage spaces in the parking areas. Easy to get to, close (obviously) to your car, they are very convenient and resident friendly. Great call.

  • While the Downtown views are stunning, the views from the back of the building also are great. Many of the back units have views of the Harley-Davidson Museum and some offer sight lines all the way to Miller Park.

  • The prices start at $149,900. The loft styles are customizable and, if you want, loaded with options. There's a ton of variety here. Nearly 150 "soft" lofts and more than 50 unique floor plans in one-bedroom, one-bedroom-plus-den, two-bedroom, two-bedroom-plus-den, and three-bedroom designs. Measuring 700 to 4,000 sq. ft., the lofts incorporate up to three baths, 10-ft. ceilings, huge, oversized private balconies or terraces, and heated, indoor parking.

  • The community rooms are very well done. There's a private screening theater with 100-inch viewing screen, a Wii entertainment system, and full wireless connectivity. On the same floor, there's another resident room with a Texas hold'em table, professional pool table that has a ping-pong top (if needed), 14-ft. shuffleboard table, 50-inch flat screen TV, stereo system with iPod dock, and full-service kitchen for entertaining. Both rooms are very nice.

  • The location is a bit funky. By this, I mean, the views sell the place but its location isn't the most walkable. You walk out the front door and, yes you can access the Riverwalk but not its best side and to get to Alterra or the Third Ward -- it's not totally direct. This isn't a bad selling point, but until the Point's footprint and surroundings grow there are some minor blind spots.

  • Too many developments don't focus on the hallways and public space design. Point on the River does this well with interesting artwork, unique lighting, a well-designed concierge area and even a Chihuly-knock off that welcomes you as you enter the building.

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