Jeramey Jannene
Friday Photos

Malt House Lofts Prepares To Open

118-unit apartment building opening in The Brewery District once owned by Pabst.

By - Apr 2nd, 2021 05:35 pm
Malt House Lofts (Building 25) at The Brewery. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Malt House Lofts (Building 25) at The Brewery. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

It’s been a long time coming, but one of the largest remaining Pabst Brewing buildings is set to open as apartments in the coming months.

Originally approved in 2014, the conversion of what was known as Building 25 (the malt house) and attached Building 24 (the malt elevator) into apartments was one of the earlier projects approved in the redevelopment of the former brewery. It’s going to be one of the last to be completed after a lengthy work stoppage, change in general contractor and reconfiguration of the development team delayed its completion.

June is now the target month for the opening of the Malt House Lofts, 1009 W. Juneau Ave. The 118-unit market-rate apartment complex anchors the southern edge of the iconic Pabst sign visible from well outside The Brewery District.

The malt house buildings date back as far back as 1882 and contain a combined 158,500 square feet of space. Abandoned by Pabst when the company abruptly closed the brewery in 1997, by the time Whitestone Realty Capital released plans for its project in 2014 there was a tree growing in the roof of the nearly-windowless complex.

Whitestone, which at one point contemplated senior housing as the use, secured a construction permit in 2016 after purchasing the property for $1.9 million and began work on a historically-sensitive redevelopment that included inserting windows and rebuilding every floor to line up with the newly-inserted windows.

Originally slated to be known as The Brewery Lofts, work stopped in 2017 during a period when the buildings appeared to be reduced to four walls. WDG Construction took over as the general contractor. Virginia-based attorney Robert Lubin became the new leader of the development team.

Work as proceeded slowly since, with windows being inserted in previously bricked-over bays and the ability to see through the building fading as floors were reinserted. The Cream City brick structure was substantially cleaned.

The final result will be a mix of one and two bedroom apartments. A permit is pending before the Historic Preservation Commission to add a Malt House Lofts blade sign to the building.

Workers can still be spotted on site finishing up the project. A line of sizable historic artifacts, including removed staircases, line W. Juneau Ave.

But the impacts of the lengthy construction process weren’t confined to just the property itself. A construction crane forced the closure of the east-bound lane of W. Juneau Ave. for years between N. 10th St. and N. 11th. The lane closure wasn’t the sole reason the adjacent Captain Pabst Pilot House or Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub closed, but it certainly didn’t help either business. The city eventually declined to renew the street closure permit in 2020, at the request of neighbors, but at that point the crane and other equipment was largely gone.

As the Malt House Lofts project slowly progressed, a neighborhood has emerged around it in accordance with the vision of the late Joseph Zilber. Two new apartment buildings, Vim and Vigor, were constructed in the neighboring blocks. Eleven25, a student housing complex in a former brewery building, opened to the southwest of the Malt House. Preservation Park was created directly south of the Malt House. Pabst restored the former church to the north of the complex into a brewery before pulling the plug in December amidst the pandemic. The Pabst Professional Center office building opened to the northwest. A newly constructed Hyatt Place Hotel opened at the east end of the former brewery campus. The Forty Two, an office building and brewery complex carved out of the 1970s shipping facility, was completed. Jim Haertel has expanded his offerings at Best Place, the former visitors center, steadily since the Malt House project began.

A number of other projects, including the Brewhouse Inn & Suites and Frederick Lofts, were completed before Malt House project began.


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