Central Standard owners buy downtown building where they plan to open tasting room

The new Central Standard Craft Distillery will be located at 320. E Clybourn St. Rendering courtesy of HGA Milwaukee.

Milwaukee-based Central Standard Craft Distillery is the new owner of the historic former Wisconsin Leather Co. building in downtown Milwaukee.

The distillery last year announced its intentions to open a tasting room and events venue in the 11,700-square-foot, three-story building at 320 E. Clybourn St., near where downtown meets the Historic Third Ward neighborhood.

Central Standard co-founders Evan Hughes and Pat McQuillan said at the time they reached an agreement with the building’s owner to purchase the building.

The deal finally went through this week. According to state records, Wisconsin Leather LLC, which is registered to McQuillan, purchased the building from Lorette Russenberger for $930,000.

“We’ve been looking to expand our tasting-room footprint for quite some time, and we finally found the ideal location,” Hughes said in announcing the project last year.

Plans include the first-floor tasting room and welcome center, distillation and production space in the basement, a second-floor private event venue, third-floor office space and outdoor rooftop area with views of Lake Michigan.

Built in 1874, the Historic Edward Townsend Mix-designed building has housed many tenants, including the Wisconsin Leather Co. and most recently exotic art and furniture store From Afar.

It is assessed at $689,700, according to city records. Central Standard in December applied for a building code variance for the property. The Milwaukee Department of Neighborhood Services is reviewing the application, according to city records.

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Alex Zank
Alex Zank covers commercial and residential real estate for BizTimes. Alex previously worked for Farm Equipment magazine and also covered statewide construction news at The Daily Reporter. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he studied journalism, political science and economics. Having grown up in rural western Wisconsin, Alex loves all things outdoors, including camping, hiking, four-wheeling and hunting.

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