Dominion Developing Green Community on Milwaukee’s East Side

A project intended to be a model for future sustainable design, development and construction in Wisconsin is rising on Milwaukee’s East Side.
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Milwaukee—A project intended to be a model for future sustainable design, development and construction in Wisconsin is rising on Milwaukee’s East Side.

Milwaukee-based Dominion Properties is developing sage ON JACKSON, a 20-unit rental community at 1509 North Jackson St. in the city. The project’s site selection, structural design, materials, waste management, geothermal HVAC system, solar PV, green roof and rain water recycling all reflect a desire by the developers to set a precedent in sustainably-designed multifamily communities. The project is in the process of being certified as a LEED for Homes market-rate mid-rise apartment building with a preliminary Platinum certification.

Slated for completion in late summer of next year, the development is being constructed on a vacant urban in-fill parcel just north of downtown Milwaukee and adjacent to the Park East Corridor. Studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units at sage ON JACKSON are available for lease.

“We started our business almost 14 years ago, and we’ve been renovating apartment buildings and trying to add green elements to each over that time,” Dominion Properties’ principal and co-owner Christopher Adams tells MHN.

“But we realized to do something super sustainable, we needed to start from the ground up. We are going for LEED certification, and the LEED certifiers say you can have the greenest building ever, but if it’s out in the middle of the woods as many are, you’ll never gain LEED Platinum certification. Big aspects of LEED certification are density, an urban environment and a small footprint of land, as well as reasonable and well laid-out floor plans for each apartment.”

The Park East Corridor was the site of a six-lane, mostly-elevated freeway once intended to loop downtown Milwaukee, but torn down more than 10 years ago, Adams says. The corridor is currently attracting commercial development, and is only now being released by the county for multifamily development, he adds.

Among challenges in developing sage ON JACKSON are the effort and time necessary to incorporate sustainable elements into the building. For instance, if not for the need to drill wells for geothermal heat, the building’s footings and foundations could be far more expeditiously installed.

To the best of Adams’ knowledge, there currently exist no LEED Platinum market-rate multifamily developments in either Wisconsin or neighboring Illinois.

“This project is really designed to set the bar higher for sustainable multifamily housing in the area,” he says. “We’re trying to raise awareness that you can build sustainably. And we are in the preliminary stages on two more sustainable projects on the east side of Milwaukee.”

Adds Dominion Properties’ principal and co-owner Mike O’Connor: “sage ON JACKSON will be home to residents who truly care about the future of our planet, residents who want to make a positive impact on the way they live in their community.”