Ambassador owner plans to convert former MPS school into hotel

Extended stay hotel will operate in conjunction with the Ambassador

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Rick Wiegand, the owner of the Ambassador Hotel in Milwaukee, is planning to redevelop the former Wisconsin Avenue School on Milwaukee’s west side into a 23-room extend stay hotel, operated in conjunction with the Ambassador Hotel.

The $15 million project, at 2708 W. Wisconsin Ave., will also include meeting and banquet space, a restaurant, and an outdoor beer garden, according to documents submitted to the city of Milwaukee.

Wiegand owns substantial property in the Avenues West neighborhood, including the former Milwaukee County City Campus which is just to the north of the former school.

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“I need to create a cohesive, secure campus there,” Wiegand said. “These will be very high-end, luxurious suites.”

In the mid-2000s, he dramatically renovated the Ambassador Hotel at 2308 W. Wisconsin Ave. and later, the Executive Inn across the street at 2301 W. Wisconsin Ave, into the Ambassador Inn.

Wiegand said he has been interested in the Avenues West neighborhood because he sees its potential to rebound.

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“The time is right,” he said.

Map of the area

Built in 1919, the former Wisconsin Avenue School has been vacant since 2007 and was declared a surplus property in 2009. In July 2017, a request for proposal was issued for the 92,600-square-foot property.

Wiegand is planning to purchase the former school for $100,000. He is hoping to complete the project by spring or summer of 2019, according to city documents.

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Wiegand has also asked that the property be placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“The project will preserve the character-defining features of the building,” Martha Brown, deputy commissioner, with the Department of City Development said in a report to the Common Council. “The hotel will support the redevelopment of the adjacent City Campus buildings, previously owned by Milwaukee County, as office space.”

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