Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Nunemaker Buys UWM Alumni House

Price is $1.8 million for one of city's largest homes and finest Tudor mansions.

By - Jan 6th, 2021 04:01 pm
3230 E. Kenwood Blvd. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

3230 E. Kenwood Blvd. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

One of Milwaukee’s largest homes has a new owner.

Andy Nunemaker purchased the UW-Milwaukee Alumni House, 3230 E. Kenwood Blvd., for $1.8 million. According to a press release from the university, Nunemaker will renovate the home for use as a private residence. It would be the third time Nunemaker, a healthcare entrepreneur and philanthropist, has purchased and renovated a home on the East Side, each larger than the one before it.

The three-story house sits on a 3.9-acre property with 175 feet of Lake Michigan frontage. It has 14 bedrooms and six bathrooms according to assessment records.

How big is it? That depends. In a press release announcing the sale, the university said the house has 18,000 square feet of space. The request for proposals said it had 25,553 square feet of gross space and 20,517 square feet of net living space.

Built in 1923 to the specifications of architect Fitzhugh Scott, the mansion has been owned by the university since 1949. What was then the Milwaukee State Teachers College purchased the building for $75,000 for use as a woman’s dormitory before it was converted to a conference center in 1964. The university listed the house for sale earlier this year, deeming it surplus to its needs as part of a cost-cutting move.

“The Myron T. MacLaren House is architecturally significant as one of the city’s finest Tudor style mansions. It displays a fineness of materials and craftsmanship nearly unequaled in Milwaukee,” says the city’s 1991 historic designation report. Any exterior changes to the property will require Historic Preservation Commission approval.

The only owners of the property other than the university were Myron and Gertrude MacLaren (nee Schlesinger), though the couple divorced less than four years after the home was finished. Myron worked for the Schlesinger family business, the Milwaukee Coke and Gas Company (the site of which is currently being redeveloped), as an executive. They remarried in 1936 and resumed living in the home together until Myron passed away in 1941 at the age of 54. Gertrude married, for a fourth time, in 1947 and moved out of the city.

Architectural historian H. Russell Zimmermann has been retained to design a garage situated to the west of the main house according to a statement from UW-Milwaukee. Gardener Ellen Irion has similarly been hired for extensive landscaping work.

Nunemaker has previously restored two mansions on N. Terrace Ave. The first, at 2239 N. Terrace Ave., was the 2017 Wisconsin Breast Cancer Showhouse. Nunemaker has spent much of the past decade in a bigger house at 2221 N. Terrace Ave., site of many events and parties, that he restored. It includes a Schlitz-themed bar in the basement and museum-quality art on display on the upper floors. He listed the home for sale earlier this year for $2.19 million.

Nunemaker is currently vice president of product management at Applied Systems, a role he started when the company acquired his health insurance startup Dynamis Software. He previously served as CEO of EMSystems, which was sold to Intermedix in 2010. Nunemaker previously worked as an executive for GE Healthcare. He was appointed to the board of Northwestern Mutual in November, adding to his long list of board positions with non-profits in town. He also is part of an investment group that acquired Sprecher Brewing Co. in early 2020.

Most notably, Nunemaker has been one of the leaders in raising $130 million for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra‘s new music hall and establishing an endowment. At the 2018 groundbreaking, he joked that no one would accept his lunch invitations anymore for fear of being asked for a donation.

As part of the sale, the university retains an easement for access to Lake Michigan water for cooling campus buildings. The Wisconsin Historical Society has an easement on the facade.

Photos

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One thought on “Eyes on Milwaukee: Nunemaker Buys UWM Alumni House”

  1. Virginia Small says:

    This is indeed good news:

    “Architectural historian H. Russell Zimmermann has been retained to design a garage situated to the west of the main house according to a statement from UW-Milwaukee. Gardener Ellen Irion has similarly been hired for extensive landscaping work.”

    I visited and appreciated this historic residence while it was part of UWM and it will be great to see it restored. I have also greatly admired the “bones” of its exceptional historic landscape. Little has been published about the original landscape architect for this home, Nonetheless, landscape remnants include an elegant stone staircase, stone walls, and the perimeter brick work around the original pool., plus many venerable trees. Having a restored or reimagined garden there will add to Milwaukee’s worthy list of landscape legacies. I suspsect that the City of Milwaukee has info and perhaps photos and original drawings.

    Good luck to Mr. Nunemaker and his team of professional consultants!.

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