Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Cream City Hostel Buys Building

Partners hope to open unique Riverwest hostel for travelers in May 2019.

By - Nov 5th, 2018 11:29 am
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Future home of Cream City Hostel. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Future home of Cream City Hostel. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Milwaukee will soon have its first hostel.

An investment group led by Juli Kaufmann and Carolyn Weber has purchased the former Holton State Bank Building at 500 E. Center St.

Kaufmann is leading the development of the project, while Weber will lead the operation with partners Billie Myhra and Wendy Mesich. The 91-year-old building, most recently used by Milwaukee Public Schools, was purchased from the city for $150,000.

According to a February presentation by the project partners, rooms would be configured to include everything from one- and two-bed rooms for $70/night to 12-bed rooms renting for $15-$25 per bed per night.

The group hopes to open the project, known as Cream City Hostel, in May 2019.

The proposal has been a long time coming for Kaufmann and Weber. Six years ago Weber began the process of attempting to open a hostel. She sought to lease Kaufmann’s house in Walker’s Point and operate it as a bike shop and hostel, but ran into neighborhood resistance. Since then Weber has opened her bicycle shop, Coast In Bikes, and Kaufmann has relocated to Riverwest.

Weber, too, is a Riverwest resident and sees a hostel as a welcome amenity for the city. She told a city committee in February that travelers are able to stay in hostels in Madison and Chicago, but don’t have an affordable option in Milwaukee.

She said that the hostel’s location will not only serve to help foster growth at the intersection of Riverwest and Harambee, but “show people real Milwaukee instead of downtown Milwaukee.”

In advance of the hostel opening, Weber has relocated her bike shop from Walker’s Point to a temporary location at 3334 N. Holton St. It will eventually occupy a first-floor space within the building.

The 7,980-square-foot building has been vacant since 2005. Right Step, a military-style voucher school, was denied a special use permit by the Board of Zoning Appeals to use the building as a school in 2016.

Disclosure: Jeramey Jannene has invested $1,000 in this project since last reporting on the project.

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One thought on “Eyes on Milwaukee: Cream City Hostel Buys Building”

  1. Barbara Richards says:

    Wonderful that this is finally happening! A great vision for a diverse city offering a new level of tourism.

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