The first phase of Machinery Row, a $65 million multi-phased development project along the Root River, received preliminary approval from the City’s Plan Commission Tuesday for a three-story commercial and residential building.

Part of the former Azarian building at 900 Water St. is slated to be razed in the next two weeks to make way for 150-unit residential apartments and 29,520 square-foot commercial space.

Rodney Blackwell, an Iowa-based development firm Financial District Properties, MR LLC, asked the city to rezone the property from a general industrial district to a central business district and conditional use permits. The Plan Commission unanimously approved the request.

This project is part of a larger project that will include residential, commercial, professional, recreational, dining and entertainment facilities. The 50-acre property Machinery Row includes a 20-acre parcel that encompasses 712, 820, 800, 900, and 101 Water St., which will become the first phase of the project.

The remaining 20-acre parcel will including building at least four new buildings, keeping two historic buildings and demolishing the rest.

A public hearing is expected to be scheduled at the Common Council’s next meeting, and staff are expected to create an ordinance and a conditional use permit.

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.