Jeramey Jannene
Plats and Parcels

Sober Living Facility Will Replace Hostel

Big change for distinctive Riverwest building. Plus: A busy week of real estate news.

By - Apr 25th, 2021 12:13 pm
Cream City Hostel in 2019, 500 E. Center St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Cream City Hostel in 2019, 500 E. Center St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

There is new life for the former bank building at 500 E. Center St., but not as a hostel.

Cream City Hostel, which opened in 2019, fell victim to the global travel downturn triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

RiverBee LLC, which owns the property, pivoted to seeking a new tenant in 2020. The investment group owns many of the fixtures, including the beds, in addition to the property.

A proposal was introduced to turn the complex into a cooperative housing complex, but tenants were never identified.

Now 4th Dimension Sobriety, already based out of Riverwest, stepped forward as a logical partner to use the facility.

Led by Jason Gonzalez, the 501(c)(3) organization offers an aftercare facility at 2838 N. Weil St. with three-month and six-month programs. The non-institutional operation provides safe housing for those wishing to remain sober.

Gonzalez also operates a for-profit care facility, 4th Dimension Recovery Center, at 1216 N. Prospect Ave. providing clinical treatment.

The nonprofit organization will lease the facility, with an intent to eventually purchase the building.

Gonzalez told Lauren Anderson in an interview that his intent is to have up to 25 residents in the former hostel, half the former hostel’s capacity.

“We’re in a phase where, after COVID, we wanted to look at a more sustainable model,” said Gonzalez. He connected with real estate developer Juli Kaufmann, head of the RiverBee investment group, and a new home was found.

The organization is hoping to raise at least $10,000 by May 5th to fully leverage a matching grant.

The 7,980-square-foot building was built in 1927 as Holton State Bank according to city records. MPS acquired the facility in the 1990s, but the property sat vacant from 2005 until its sale in 2018.

The hostel, Milwaukee’s first, opened in June 2019 following an approximately $1 million redevelopment. It served thousands of travelers from over 38 countries in its sole year of operation before the pandemic took hold. The hostel business, as of mid-2020, is not expected to recover as quickly as the general travel business.

June 2019 Photos

Disclosure: Jeramey Jannene is one of more than 40 passive, minority investors in RiverBee LLC.

Weekly Recap

Barrett Pushes Council To Accept Milwaukee Tool Deal

Next week the Milwaukee Common Council will begin its review of the Milwaukee Tool financing proposal that would bring up to 2,000 jobs to the Westown neighborhood in exchange for $20 million in city cash as part of a complicated, performance-based tax incremental financing district.

But it’s not what’s in the deal that has raised concern from council members, it’s what is not in it. A labor group is pushing for a community benefits agreement to establish pay assurances and job protection for the contracted service workers that will support the office facility at 501 W. Michigan St.

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Construction is underway on Kinn MKE Guesthouse, a 32-room hotel being created in the four-story office building at 602-606 N. Broadway.

Charles Bailey is developing the hotel, a scaled-up version of his successful Kinn Guesthouse in Bay View. That eight-room hotel, with restaurant Sorella on the first floor, is located at 2535 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.

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Governor Tony Evers and Foxconn are both calling the new terms a win.

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State Home Sales Up in 2021

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Element Apartments’ Construction Begins

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