Jeramey Jannene
Friday Photos

Civil War-Era Building Becoming Apartments

Cream City brick building in Walker's Point receiving historically-sensitive redevelopment.

By - Sep 3rd, 2021 08:02 pm
235 S. 2nd St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

235 S. 2nd St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

One of the oldest buildings in Walker’s Point is getting a new lease on life.

Developer Robert Chandler is redeveloping the Borger Building, 235 S. 2nd St., into apartments.

The four-story, 16,487-square-feet structure was, at least partially, constructed before the Civil War.

City assessment records say the building was constructed in 1890, but a Wisconsin Historical Society survey concluded the building dates back to 1858. The 2016 city historic designation report, which established the historic district, says only the north half of the building is that old. The building was built as two separate structures, and long operated as such, with the southern half first showing up in tax records in 1859.

In May, the Historic Preservation Commission approved Chandler’s plan to redevelop the upper floors into 12 one-bedroom apartments while maintaining the first floor as commercial space.

The Cream City brick building will receive new windows, masonry repairs and a new rear stairwell. Chandler is leveraging federal and state historic preservation tax credits to finance the project.

Dan Beyer Architects is leading the design on the project, while Kelly Construction & Design is leading the general contracting.

John Borger, for whom the building is named, operated a general store out of the northern half from the time of its construction into the 1870s. Henry Meirose ran a business in the southern half of the building from 1868 through the early 1900s. Drake Brothers, a drug store, occupied the southern half of the building for an extended period. “Drugs” appears written atop the structure’s outline in multiple historic fire insurance maps.

It was home to Phoenix, a popular gay bar, in the 1980s and 1990s. The Milwaukee LGBT History Project website offers more details on the series of LGBTQ+-friendly establishments that occupied the building.

The last tenant in the space was Likkle Jamayka restaurant which closed in 2018 after opening a year prior.

Chandler acquired the property, through Borger Building LLC, in October 2020 for $805,000. Developers Josh Krsnak and  Tony Janowiec had purchased it in January 2020 for $509,000 from long-time owner Michael Spooner.


Pre-Construction Photos and Renderings

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5 thoughts on “Friday Photos: Civil War-Era Building Becoming Apartments”

  1. NieWiederKrieg says:

    More apartments? More destruction of Milwaukee’s identity? More taxpayer money to replace beautiful architecture with eyesore, look-alike buildings that resemble prisons?

    No wonder why people are fleeing the City of Milwaukee in such great numbers.

    Tom Barrett is getting out just in time.

    Congratulations on your move to Luxembourg, Tom. Most of the buildings in Luxembourg are 200 to 800 years old. Some of them date back to the first century B.C.

  2. Polaris says:

    Many cities and neighborhoods were blessedly saved from post-WWII redevelopment, which largely meant demolishing historic buildings like this in the name of “progress.” That cities like Milwaukee have entire areas such as the Third Ward and Walker’s Point to now renovate is wonderful. Kudos to the developer and to the availability of historic preservation tax credits!

  3. Johnstanbul says:

    Milwaukee needs more 800 year old buildings. Tax dollars are going to rebuild buildings that should be several hundred years older. Men wear pointed hats in Luxembourg which is where Tom Barrett is going to become mayor of. Time travel is one of the many options Tom Barrett should be exploring. Tax dollars should go to the construction of ancient ruins.

    No wonder why people are fleeing the City of Milwaukee in such great numbers.

    I remember when men wore red hats on Sundays.

  4. NieWiederKrieg says:

    The Daniel Hoan Bridge was built in 1977. Con artist real estate developers fought to get the Hoan Bridge torn down only 30 years later, in 2009. They wanted the land under the bridge.

    Taxpayer money built the bridge. Taxpayer money would have financed the demolition of the bridge. Taxpayer money would have been given to the con artist developers to purchase the land. Taxpayer money would have been given to the con artists for their new makeshift projects.

    Everything built in downtown Milwaukee by these con artists is designed to last only 30 years. Then they bribe politicians to get taxpayer money to demolish their cheap structures. Then the politicians take another bribe in exchange for taxpayer money for the con artist’s next taxpayer funded project.

    Germany, France, and Luxembourg design buildings to last over 1,000 years. I visited beautiful villages in the Italian Alps that dated back to the Roman era. Milwaukee taxpayers are financing con artist real estate developments designed to last only 30 years.

  5. NieWiederKrieg says:

    Milwaukee’s Bradley Center was built in 1988. It was demolished 31 years later, in 2019.

    Milwaukee County Stadium was built in 1953. It was demolished 47 years later, in 2000.

    Here’s a short list (with pictures) of Milwaukee’s Architectural Crown Jewels and Treasures recently demolished for con artist real estate developers.

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