Cream City Hostel Buys Building
Partners hope to open unique Riverwest hostel for travelers in May 2019.
Milwaukee will soon have its first hostel.
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 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.
If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits, all detailed here.