Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:32 pm
Construction workers recently began work to remove the facade of an eight-story building at 211 W. Wisconsin Ave., including its distinctive clam-shaped arches on the first floor.
The building, owned by Milwaukee-based Wispark LLC, is in a key location adjacent to the middle of The Shops of Grand Avenue. Wispark, which purchased the building earlier this year from Towne Realty Inc., hopes to attract a retail tenant to the first floor and is renovating the interior of the building and its facade.
Milwaukee-based Eppstein Uhen Architects, which is designing the new facade, released a rendering of what the building will look like when the project is complete (see images below). The new facade will include new windows, red brick and pre-cast, white decorative concrete.
"It’s basically re-skinning the building," said T.J. Morley, senior design architect for Eppstein Uhen. "Wispark is looking to improve the performance of the building, from an energy standpoint as well as aesthetically. They are thinking it looks a little tired."
Butler-based Berghammer Construction Corp. is the general contractor for the facade project, which will be completed next year.
The colors of the new facade were chosen so the building will fit in with others nearby, Morley said. The red brick is the same color as the brick on the Milwaukee Center, 111 E. Kilbourn Ave.
"We’re going to bring the store (window) closer to where the pedestrians are," Morley said. "I think it’s going to enhance the life of the street significantly."
The building was originally constructed nearly 100 years ago. The current facade, including the clamshell arches, was added in 1965. That facade was not as aesthetically appealing as the original, Morley said.
"It’s a shame they took it that route," he said. "The original building was so rich in (architectural) detail."
The Internal Revenue Service plans to move its Milwaukee offices from the Reuss Federal Plaza, 310 W. Wisconsin Ave., to occupy most of the 211 W. Wisconsin Ave. building.
November 12, 2004, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI