The Hopping Brewery
Four apartment buildings, two new breweries and a hotel coming to former Pabst brewery.
There is no shortage of activity at the former Pabst brewery. Located on the northwest edge of downtown Milwaukee, the massive complex is hitting the home stretch in its ongoing redevelopment. Four apartment buildings are under construction, including one in the brewery’s massive, former malt house. Staying true to the complex’s heritage and new name, The Brewery, two new breweries are opening in the complex, including one by Pabst itself. And finally, a hotel is under construction at the east end of the complex.
The new developments join the many other projects developed in the area since the late Joseph Zilber acquired the abandoned complex in 2006.
Let’s go through each project one-by-one:
Vim and Vigor Apartments
The biggest project underway in the former brewery is the construction of two apartment buildings. Indiana-based Milhaus is developing the two buildings, known as Vim and Vigor, totaling 274 units. The words vim and vigor have long been associated with the Pabst brand.
One building, which will include 7,000 square-feet of retail space, 110 apartments and 130 parking spaces, is being developed on the northeast corner of N. 10th St. and W. Juneau Ave. The second building, for which foundation work is just getting underway, is under construction at the northwest corner of N. 10th St. and W. McKinley Ave. That building will include 164 apartments and 170 parking spaces.
Joseph Lee & Associates is serving as the project architect. Greenfire Management Services is leading the construction of the buildings. Blair Williams‘ WiRED Properties is consulting with Milhaus on the project.
The buildings are scheduled for completion in summer 2018. The project has an estimated cost of $45 million.
Malt House Apartments
Whitestone is converting the former malt house and malt elevator buildings into 118 market-rate apartments. The project, which was originally approved in 2014, has been anticipated for years, with the development team originally proposing it as senior housing. Global Builders Inc. is serving as the project’s general contractor. Goldenholz & Associates of Florida is serving as the project architect. Preserve, LLC is consulting on the project.
The buildings date back as far back as 1882 and contain a combined 158,500 square-feet of space. They’re instantly recognizable to many as Building 24 (the malt house) serves as the southern anchor of the gigantic Pabst sign that straddles W. Juneau Ave. Building 25, the malt elevator, is a narrow building that stands between the former church and the significantly larger malt house.
The project is receiving federal and state historic preservation tax credits. A building permit lists the estimated cost at a very precise $15,526,420.
These two aren’t the only apartment projects underway in the area. Developer Joshua Jeffers is redeveloping the two former Pabst research lab buildings at 1037 W. McKinley Ave., most recently occupied by Cardinal Stritch University, into the BrewLab Lofts. The redevelopment, which will include 43 rental units, is expected to be completed by March 2018. Permits have recently been filed for the project by Galbraith Carnahan Architects with Horizon Develop Build Manage listed as an affiliated party.
Milwaukee Brewing Co. Expansion
The Milwaukee Brewing Company is turning a former Pabst shipping facility at 1131 N. 8th St. into a brewery. The brewery is leasing 58,000 square-feet in the 170,000 square-foot building. Plans for the new brewery include a rooftop beer garden.
The brewery will not close their 15,000 square-foot Walker’s Point brewery, which as of 2016 was operating at capacity.
The former distribution center is one of the newer buildings in the Pabst complex. City records indicate it was constructed in 1977.
Underneath the brewery, in the building’s large lower level, will be 1,000 self-storage units operated by Extra Space Storage. Above the brewery developer Scott Lurie intends to create 50,000 square-feet of office space and an event venue that will have a view of the brewery.
Rinka Chung Architecture is serving as the project architect.
New Pabst Brewery
The 7,000 square-foot, two-level building, known in company records as building 23, was built 144 years ago as the First German Methodist Church. Pabst acquired the church in 1898 and used it for everything from the Forst Keller restaurant to an employee training facility. Since 1996 it has sat empty, the last historic building to be rehabbed at the 20-acre Brewery complex.
Today it’s the home of a 10-barrel brewery for Pabst in the basement and a taproom in the former church sanctuary upstairs.
This project is virtually complete, but a new mural overlooking Interstate 43 will seal the deal. The mural, 14-feet in diameter, is a massive painting of the Pabst logo. Not the blue ribbon on their flagship beer, but a massive B (for the brewery’s former name, the Best Brewery) in the middle of a red circle. It’s painted on brick, but not the Cream City brick from the church.
Building owner Blue Ribbon Development may have put the cart before the horse when it comes to the mural. While it appears complete, an application is pending for a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Historic Preservation Commission. That should be an interesting hearing.
Hyatt Place Hotel
A new Hyatt Place hotel is under construction on the eastern edge of the The Brewery. The hotel will eventually contain 150 rooms spread over six stories. The project is being developed by the Janko Group of Deerfield, Illinois.
The hotel will include a “sleek and modern bar and lounge,” according to the developer’s website, as well as 2,000 square-feet of meeting space, an outdoor terrace and “oversized” fitness center.
The hotel is being designed by Norr Architects, Engineers and Planners. WM. A. Randolph, Inc. is serving as the project’s general contractor. Janko will operate the hotel for Hyatt.
The new hotel will undoubtedly find a niche with the many weddings and other events that take place at Best Place at the Pabst Brewery. Aside from the Brewhouse Inn & Suites, it is the only hotel in the area. The developer’s website also boasts of the immediate proximity to the Wisconsin Entertainment & Sports Center, which will be home to the Milwaukee Bucks.
The parcel has an address of 821 W. Winnebago St., but access to the hotel is planned via W. Juneau Ave. at N. 8th St. The parcel is just west of the roundabout where W. Juneau Ave. and W. Winnebego St. converge. Janko bought the parcel from Zilber’s Brewery-affiliate for $1.35 million in April. The hotel has an estimated cost of $27 million.
Frequent Hyatt Place guests will find the building looking like many other Hyatt Place hotels. Unfortunately for city residents the project is a rectangular building on a triangular lot. A marquee location and uniquely-shaped lot with such a run-of-the-mill hotel design is an opportunity missed.
The project is expected to be completed in the spring of 2018.
For more on the project, see our coverage from May.