Trocadero Sold; Eitel No Longer Lowlands Group Manager
Dramatic change means owners of Red Lion also own Trocadero, giving them both bars on "Tannery Row."
Just a week after opening 1850 N. Water St., the four partners behind Red Lion [see review] have made a surprise purchase of Trocadero Gastropub, 1758 N. Water St. on Thursday December 18th.
At the same time, Mike Eitel, the co-owner of former Trocadero parent Lowlands Group, LLC. announced he was stepping down from active management of the company, and will turn his duties over to Eric Wagner, his co-owner.
Partners David Price and Chris Tinker (Three Lions Pub) along with Drew Deuster and J.J. Kovacovich (Red Rock Saloon, McGillycuddy’s Bar and Grill), will each own 22.5 percent of Trocadero with the remaining 10 percent of stock in Trocadero MKE LLC being held by silent partner Mike Materna.
The group paid $1,500,000 for the building and the business. The real estate is currently assessed at $805,000. The licensed tavern portion is about 4,400 square feet of the 6,184 square foot 1890 building. It is located immediately across from the Swing Park at the Holton Marsupial Bridge. Eitel’s Golden Arrow LLC bought the property for $394,000 in 2001.
Eitel opened the Trocadero in 2001, after his early success with the Nomad World Pub on E. Brady St. After an amicable parting with Leslie Montemurro and Scott Johnson, Eitel’s remainder of the restaurant group expanded to include Cafe Benelux, Cafe Hollander, Cafe Centraal, along with variations of the “Grand Cafe” theme open or planned for Madison, Wauwatosa, Brookfield and Mequon.
The transition comes at an interesting time for Eitel, who was married this year, and held a reception Saturday at the home he bought on the East Side of Milwaukee earlier this year.
New Riverwalk Lobby, Bar for Marcus Center; New Name for Vogel Hall
Workers from Giles Engineering were on site at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts this week doing drilling just feet from the walls of the building. Their work is preparatory to the construction of a new riverwalk entrance to the entertainment venue’s 495-seat “Jewel Box” space, which will be renamed the Wilson Theater at Vogel Hall. The first interior restoration of the space in over 40 years was underway this year, and the remainder of the work will be completed in time for the 2015 season.
The newly refurbished Wilson Theater opened on November 15th. The space is named for its benefactors, Donald S.Wilson and Kate Wilson. Donald Wilson is a co-founder of Fiduciary Management Co.His wife Sharon Lynn Wilson died in 1995. In 1997 he married Kate, and the next year they announced plans to create the Sharon Lynn Wilson art center in her memory.
According to the Marcus Center:
“In 2015, the lobby will be expanded and transformed into a gorgeous atrium with a new Riverwalk entryway, a permanent bar will be installed, new restrooms will be added, and the entire theater will be more accessible to patrons of all abilities.”
Design of the project is by La Dallman Architects. The work will take place at the northwest corner of the building. Meanwhile, up by the La Dallman-designed Holton Marsupial Bridge, the Milwaukee River was still flowing after a weeklong warmup. The river should be gelled by the weekend if the current low temperatures prevail, so keep your yacht in drydock for now.
Drilling at Marcus Center
Artist Studios and Gallery Space Set for Riverfront Building
A narrow and deep 5-story riverfront building just across the river and downstream from the Marcus Center is being renovated into artist studios and a gallery space.
The transformation of yet another building that had long faced its back to the river is a welcome change on the riverwalk at 810 N. Plankinton Ave.
Planet Development Co, owned by Sharon and Keith Seib, is the owner and contractor for the changes, announced in 2012. The 12,500 square foot building is currently assessed at $354,000. The couple bought it for $160,000 two years ago this month. They also own Planet Bead.
Tavern Drive Drive Nets 300 Toys for Journey House Kids
For the last couple of years, Germaine Bowers, who works at Coffeetails, 1506 N. Van Buren St. on the early morning shift, (6 a.m. – 11 a.m.), has invited her customers to contribute toys and money to provide gifts for community children.
Each year, the pile of donations gets larger and larger, with this year’s bounty providing sufficient goodies to keep 300 kids happy.
But that is just one third of the number of children who are expected to receive toys at the Journey House Winter Wonderland, to be held Saturday, December 20th at 2110 W. Scott St.
The kids on hand will be able to listen to a live performance of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra while they tear into their gifts.
The group will also go door-to-door bringing gifts to families in the area later that day.
Bowers shopped for many of the gifts herself, using funds raised at the bar over the course of the past few weeks. As always, the mound of gifts was carefully displayed in the bar and photographed by John Richards prior to being sent to the children.
Her generosity and that of her customers is quite modest — she refused to allow her name to be included as a donor in the Journey House annual report.
“We were crying when they came for the gifts,” Bowers said Thursday.
“I was invited, but I have to bring cookies,” she said.
“What — aren’t 300 gifts enough to get you in the door? You need to bake cookies too?” I asked.
“No, but I am expected to go to my aunt’s house and bake cookies with her.”
Let’s hope aunt can put off the cookie baking for a day so Germaine can watch the children’s faces as they open their gifts.
Work at Van Buren’s Whiskey Bar & Grill Reveals Old Stone Heart
The renovations continue at Van Buren’s Whiskey Bar & Grill, 1680-82 N. Van Buren St. Sergio Sandino and his crew have been working on the space that had been Libby’s Lounge for over 40 years. It had its last significant remodeling in 1983.
Work uncovered an old terrazzo floor, mostly of green. In one part of the bar, at what had been a “soft drink parlor” when built in 1928, a red terrazzo heart was uncovered. Unfortunately much of the original flooring had been disrupted by plumbing excavations over the years and patched with cement. But all in all, it might be best just to put a coat of sealant on the whole thing and let the old surfaces show, like patched mosaics in a museum. The tavern also now has floor-to-ceiling windows, some clever wall treatments and a rebuilt bar with what appears to be quality tile work. Sandino says he is working on a press release with more information, including an opening date for the place.
There is a 30-percent-off sale on canine accessories at Zoom Room, 1701 N. Humboldt Ave. The dog training and canine social center, part of a national franchise, will have its last day of business on January 22nd, 2015, says owner Gretchen Kabler.
She regrets having to close the place she has operated for about 3-½ years at the northwest corner of of Humboldt and E. Brady St., she said.
The 2,720 square foot shop sits on a 9,000 square foot lot, with an annual estimated rent of $47,700.
The one-story 1949 building is assessed at $357,000 and is owned by John, Eric and David Levendusky.
The Levenduskys are in the coin-operated machine business; prior to the Zoom Room, the place was for many years a laundromat. Earlier it was a fish market. A fire in the late 1940s destroyed an earlier mixed-use commercial property on the location.
Kabler says there is a chance the owners may opt to sell the property rather than renting it anew.
The prominent location, directly across from Three Holy Women Parish’s St. Hedwig Church, shares the intersection with Art Smart’s Dart Mart and Sciortino Bakery. The property certainly could be developed to a higher and better use, if the owners chose to sell it for redevelopment.