Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Brady Street Building Being Rehabbed, Expanded

Former home of Waterford Wine could become retail store, cafe or restaurant.

By - Sep 23rd, 2019 02:09 pm
Rendering of redeveloped 1327 E. Brady St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Rendering of redeveloped 1327 E. Brady St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Work is underway to redevelop the former home of Waterford Wine & Spirits on Brady Street into a large commercial space for a future tenant.

Jeno Cataldo secured approval from the Historic Preservation Commission earlier this month to build a rear addition on the building at 1327 E. Brady St. “I think we have a tasteful design,” said Cataldo. The one-and-a-half-story addition would house bathrooms and other flexible space to make the building more marketable to a future tenant. He said the space could be used by a retailer or a restaurant. “We’re trying to attract a tenant,” said Cataldo.

“It doesn’t lend itself to much now,” concluded Cataldo about the 1,663-square-foot building. Waterford moved to a larger, 3,000-square-foot space at 2120 N. Farwell Ave. this spring. The wine store had been in the building since 2006.

Built in 1893, the structure was likely first built as a house according to the commission’s staff, with a small backyard. “This appears to be amongst the least photographed buildings on Brady Street,” said Tim Askin in the staff report. As a commercial space, the small backyard has little to no use said Catalado and instead creates opportunities for vandalism. The addition meanwhile would provide more flexibility in designing the space for a future tenant. A new handicapped-accessible entrance, directly accessible from E. Brady St., would also be incorporated.

Cataldo is no stranger to the area, or even the block. His family owns Jo Cat’s Pub at 1311 E. Brady St. and Cataldo owns and operates Dorsia restaurant at 1307 E. Brady St. He’s also an investor in the new The Easton apartment building located a few blocks to the south at 1632 N. Franklin Pl.

“One of the reasons we bought is to control the use. We want to keep Brady Street really nice,” said Cataldo at a hearing in August. As part of the redevelopment, historically sensitive repairs would be made to the building’s storefront, vinyl siding would be replaced with cedar and a new roof installed. Despite support for Cataldo’s conceptual improvements, the commission held the proposal in early August, requesting Cataldo come back with refined exterior plans in September.

Cataldo was prepared to come back in September with a new architect, Dan Beyer, replacing Waterborne Design of Chicago and a refined plan. But before that could happen the project encountered a snag.

The Department of Neighborhood Services issued a stop-work order with regard to on-going interior repairs. “He didn’t like the shoring,” said Cataldo of an inspector’s review of the building’s foundation. A condemnation case was opened and an emergency shoring permit was issued. “It became a much bigger job than we originally thought,” said Cataldo. That growth includes a large hole at the rear of the site, which took the project from an interior job exempt from commission oversight to an exterior one overseen by the Historic Preservation Commission.

“I certainly don’t want to hold up work any longer,” said area Alderman Nik Kovac at the September hearing a week later. “There’s clearly been some miscommunication.” The alderman expressed support for the Cataldo family’s history of investing in Brady Street.

The commission unanimously approved Cataldo’s revised plans. The new design, with an approximately 550-square-foot footprint, includes a full first floor and a partial mezzanine level. An open-air equipment platform would be included behind the mezzanine addition, but hidden on the exterior by a raised wall.

Things are once again moving on the project. A construction crew was on-site Monday morning working on the building’s foundation and interior and any violations have been abated.

JC Capital 1327 Brady LLC acquired the former Waterford property on April 30th for $387,000 from James and Ellen Callahan according to city records. Cataldo estimated that he would likely spend over $500,000 improving the property.


Rendering and Site Plans

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Related Legislation: File 190577

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