Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 04:53 pm
A former Milwaukee Public School building in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood could become the city’s first hostel-style hotel.
Milwaukee developer Juli Kaufmann, owner of Fix Development, is partnering with Riverwest business owner and neighborhood leader Carolyn Weber to purchase the former Centro del Nino School, 500 E. Center St., at the northeast corner of Center and North Holton streets.
The two-story, 7,980-square-foot building was constructed in 1927 as the Holton State Bank. It was remodeled in the 1990s for MSP Head Start program use.
The property has been vacant since 2005 and in 2012, declared a surplus property by the district. In July 2017, it was listed for sale for non-education operators.
Kaufmann, who has done several neighborhood developments including the Clock Shadow Building in Walker’s Point, the Tandem Restaurant at 1848-50 West Fond du Lac Ave. in the Lindsay Heights neighborhood and is working on the Sherman Phoenix project at 3536 W. Fond du Lac Ave. in Sherman Park, decided to pursue it.
“I live in Riverwest and am very active in Riverwest and seeing local businesses thrive in the neighborhood,” Kaufmann said. “I knew a few entrepreneurs in Milwaukee wanted to get a hostel open for the last five years so I contacted Carolyn and this has worked out beautifully.”
The hotel will have between 40 and 60 dorm-style rooms with between two and six beds.
“It will be a social model where travelers can engage and share each other’s stories,” Kaufmann said.
The city’s Neighborhoods, Zoning and Development committee will review the proposal for Cream City Hostel on Feb. 22.
Kaufmann estimates he project will cost about $1 million to complete, which includes the purchase price of $150,000 for the building.
She said the location, between Riverwest and the Harambee neighborhood will allow visitors to experience the unique local flavor while elevating both neighborhoods.
“Riverwest welcomes diversity and international travelers,” Kaufmann said. “And for travelers, this too is the ideal location. We are along major transportation lines, we are working on getting a bike sharing station and travelers are looking for authentic true-to-place places off the beaten path.”