Spectacular new Port views

Condos nearly sold out, restaurateurs taking tours of Newport Shores building that is opening eyes with its striking architecture, sweeping vistas it offers

THE ROOFTOP PUB at Ansay Development’s Newport Shores building on Port’s lakefront hasn’t been built out yet, but the view is the undisputed star of the show. Visiting the space last week were (above, from left) Ansay President Tom Meaux, Director of Operations Kate Ansay and Design/Construction Manager Ian McCain. Photo by Sam Arendt
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

Ansay Development’s Newport Shores project has only been open for a month or so and finishing touches are still being added, but it’s already become a bustling place.

Twenty-three of the 29 condominiums in the building have been purchased and about 10 families have moved into their new homes, Ian McCain, Ansay Development’s design/construction manager said Friday.

The rest of the residents are expected to move in over the next month or two, he said, adding that almost all of them are “local-ish,” adding that about 20% of the residents are people who are returning to Port after living elsewhere.

The units are expected to sell out this summer, McCain added.

Each of the condominiums offers striking lake views, but nowhere are the views better than at the rooftop pub, which has sweeping vistas to the east and south.

On a clear day, McCain said, the view extends south to St. Francis.

A wall of glass doors facing to the south opens up completely to create a seamless indoor-outdoor space that incorporates a rooftop deck.

“This is a view I’m not aware anyone in Port has been able to see and enjoy before,” McCain said. “From here, you can see all the Port landmarks except Mile Rock — St. Mary’s, the Light Station, Franklin Street, Coal Dock Park and Rotary Park.

“Imagine the Fourth of July and the fireworks. You’ll be able to see the fireworks shows all down the lakeshore. And after thunderstorms pass over the lake, you see the lightning all the way from here to Milwaukee.”

“The whole point was to bring people to Port and the water and experience it in a new way, and we think this will do it.”

“You get the best of Port here, all the views,” Kate Ansay, the company’s director of operations, said.

From the rooftop deck, visitors can also see a portion of the building’s green roof, McCain noted, and when the salmon are running, “you can look down and see the salmon in the lake.”

This week, Ansay hosted an open house for restaurateurs interested in leasing the first-floor restaurant space, which include a deck that wraps around the eatery ideal for seasonal dining, Ansay said.

Even though the restaurant is on the main floor of the building, the expansive views to the lake are unimpeded, she noted.

That’s because the building takes advantage of a sloped site so the main floor restaurant is atop the lower level parking for the condo residents, allowing diners to look over the cars parked to the east and enjoy the waterfront.

Ansay noted that the company is hoping to lease both the restaurant and the pub to the same operator, she said.

“We want to see it be successful, whatever shape that takes,” Ansay said.

An announcement of who will run these spaces is eagerly anticipated since the building was constructed on the site of the former Newport Shores restaurant, a beloved local eatery razed to make room for this project.

John Weinrich, who owned Newport Shores restaurant, is a partner in the project with Ansay.

The building is striking, designed by the well-known architectural firm Rinka. Its design is distinctly modern with nods to the waterfront location. It makes extensive use of glass, has sweeping eaves with wood-faced soffits and horizontal lines and makes the most of the lakefront.

“This is a site unlike any other,” architect Matt Rinka told city officials when the project was proposed, noting the property relates more to the water than the rest of downtown. “Creating a building that purposely stands out and ties to the water more than a (traditional) red brick building is really key.”

Rinka took care to align the building in such a way that the views from Lake Street are open to the lake, McCain noted, and matched the building to its surroundings in ways that aren’t obvious but that make it feel like it fits.

Ansay added that the company wanted to connect the city to the harbor in ways that hadn’t been done before.

“Our goal was to bring people to the lake,” McCain added.

He noted that it would have been easy for Ansay to create another condo instead of the rooftop pub, but that would have limited who would get to enjoy the views.

While walls of windows lighten the look of the building, Ansay President Tom Meaux noted that it is solid, built on bedrock.

The building has also incorporated numerous green initiatives, McCain said, including using bird-friendly glass and energy efficiency measures that will save $5.5 million during the next 15 years vs. a conventionally built structure.

Newport Shores also has an office space on the northeast corner of the first floor and a retail space on the northwest corner.

“We have a lot of interest,” Ansay said.

As residents move in, work on the building is continuing. It’s mostly minor touch-up type work, although there are still a few projects remaining. The most significant is a historical imagery wall on the north side of the building that will shield an interior parking lot for the commercial and office space from public view.

The wall will have a series of images of the adjoining breakwater being constructed, McCain said. It will be backlit so it can be seen day and night.

“I’m not sure these are images that have been out before,” he said.

Port Mayor Ted Neitzke said Newport Shores is a structure that makes a statement and will attract residents and visitors alike to the waterfront, especially when the rooftop pub and restaurant are open.

The building, he said, will also help make the downtown a significant residential area with people who will support the shops and restaurants there throughout the year, and the increased tax base is a plus for the community.

And, he noted, Ansay made use of a significant number of local contractors, another benefit to the community.

Newport Shores, Neitzke said, “goes to the renaissance of Port Washington. We are in a really neat time where things are changing.”

The project, he added, will spur additional development in the city’s marina district, something the city is planning for through a downtown master plan.

“We’ll have a better blueprint for the area down there,” he said, adding Newport Shores helped “raise our expectations about what we can look like down there.”

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