Jeramey Jannene

New Building On Tap For Brewery

Gorman & Company's third building at the former Pabst Brewery will target law firms as tenants.

By - Aug 2nd, 2012 06:29 pm

Gorman & Company is seeking city approval for an office building at The Brewery on the edge of downtown Milwaukee. The firm’s third project at the former Pabst Brewery, and the second to be financed by Chinese nationals, will be called The Professional Center, with four stories and 60,000 square-feet. Gorman hopes to break ground on October 1st, which is to be located at the northeast corner of 11th Street and Juneau Ave. Financing for the $11 million project has been raised through the EB-5 program, which allows foreign investors to make targeted investments in exchange for a green card.

The Professional Center is being designed by Gorman’s in-house architecture team. The current plan calls for a unique mixture of exterior materials including steel, metal, and brick. The site was previously the power plant facility for the Pabst Brewery, but was cleared in anticipation of future development when the Zilber Property Group acquired the site. Gorman & Company Wisconsin Market President Ted Matkom said he anticipates having publicly available renderings in a few weeks.

The building’s plan will target one floor for start-up law firms, and will be more affordable by sharing common spaces and staff resources, similar to how national firm Regus operates. Gorman also hopes to lease other floors to larger firms looking to take advantage of the site’s proximity to the Milwaukee County Courthouse. The proposed building will have 88 parking stalls on-site, and is located a block from the 900-stall, LEED Gold parking garage the Zilber Property Group built.

Gorman & Company redeveloped a former keg house into the Blue Ribbon Lofts, an apartment building with a name inspired by the site’s former use. They are currently building The Brewhouse Inn & Suites, an extended stay hotel at the corner of N. 10th St. and Juneau Ave. The Brewhouse Inn & Sites is located immediately east of the proposed office building, and will include 90-hotel rooms as well as a brew pub.  In addition, Gorman built and operates the Park East Enterprise Lofts on Dr Martin Luther King Drive just a few blocks east of the former Pabst Brewery.

When asked about the Gorman’s focus on projects at The Brewery, Ted Matkom cited the Zilber Property Group’s vision for the the neighborhood, as well as their patience and willingness to accept creative financing solutions. Matkom noted the compatible uses the projects will have, noting that the brew pub in the hotel will serve not only hotel guests, but Blue Ribbon Lofts residents and Professional Center tenants.


The Professional Center is being financed by Chinese investors through the EB-5 program. The program creates a method for foreign nationals to obtain a visa, and ultimately a green card by investing at least $500,000 in a project that creates at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers. Gorman was able to raise the funds by using Chinese contact Ying Chan.

The EB-5 program is becoming an increasingly common financing mechanism in Milwaukee. Gorman used the program on their Brewhouse Inn. The controversial Marriott Hotel on Milwaukee Street is also being financed primarily through the program.

Approval Process

The project’s site plan will go before the City Plan Commission on Monday, August 6th. Though it’s new construction, because of its location within the Pabst Brewing Company Historic District, the project will also need to go before the Historic Preservation Commission to obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA). Following a hearing before both bodies, the site plan and COA will advance to the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee, and ultimately to the full Common Council. If approved by the council, the two pieces of legislation will head down the hallway to the Mayor’s desk for a signature.

The files could fail to win approval of the City Plan Commission and Historic Plan Commission, but still be approved by the full Common Council.  The project seems unlikely to face opposition given that it’s new construction on a currently empty lot.  Odds are it will be approved.

Photo Gallery of Site Before Demolition

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Categories: Real Estate

10 thoughts on “New Building On Tap For Brewery”

  1. Jack Kirgen says:

    Gorman makes all their money off tax credits and manipulating the system. All they build is garbage. Why does nobody look into these guys?!?

  2. GT says:

    @Jack c’mon man this looks like a good thing for MKE –

    …and EB-5 is not a tax break. Can we get behind good projects and not greet everything with skepticism?

  3. Chris says:

    Has anyone seen renderings yet? I too worry a bit about the quality of design. Hopefully I’m wrong…

  4. Dave Reid says:

    @Chris We are working on getting them soon..

  5. Ester says:

    A study just recently published by Progressive Urban Management Associates, Inc. states that the vacancy rate for Downtown office space is 19.7%. Just something to chew on.

  6. Jesse Hagen says:

    Hey Ester, what classes of office space does that include? I don’t see lawyers moving into class c space, also without any context the number loses meaning.

    Not really much to chew on at all…

  7. Tyrell Track Master says:

    Good stuff…. but isn’t “LEED Gold parking garage” a bit of an oxymoron? 🙂

  8. Dave Reid says:

    @Tyrell Yes a LEED certified parking garage is pretty ridiculous.

  9. Dan McCarthy says:

    Dave – I have to take exception to your comment on LEED Parking Structures. Parking Structures are a very efficient way of storing automobiles. What would any downtown look like without them? Between how this site was redeveloped (to many environmental friendly attributes to mention in a short comment), the complete use of LED lighting, the covered bicycle parking provided within the structure and many other components the LEED Gold status was certainly earned and in my humble opinion not “ridiculous” at all.

  10. Dave Reid says:

    @Dan I’m not questioning the structure itself, more LEED. Because certainly the structure itself can be efficient and is definitely better than surface lots in dealing with parking cars. But the problem is the use, parking cars.

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