CRE Spotlight: Pabst progress report


It is going to be a busy fall at the former site of the Pabst brewery in downtown Milwaukee. And in less than six months, people will be living, working and perhaps playing at The Brewery. Zilber Ltd. founder Joe’s Zilber’s redevelopment projects will take some major steps forward in the coming months.

In November, the first tenants will move into the neighborhood, which Zilber calls The Brewery. Inland Companies Inc., AMB Development Group LLC and Albion Group Architects will move into the former Boiler House building, located southwest of McKinely Avenue and North 10th Street, which is being redeveloped by a joint venture of Milwaukee developers Charles Trainer and Max Dermond, who purchased the building from Zilber.

Those three tenants will occupy 63 percent of the three-story, 44,000-square-foot building. Inland will occupy the entire third floor and AMB and Albion will occupy the first floor. The second floor is available for tenants to lease.

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Work on the interior of the building is coming along. The office space will feature cream city brick, numerous windows on all four sides of the building and large wooden timbers similar to those in the Third Ward’s historic buildings.

“It’s a wonderful historic building with a huge amount of glass (windows),” Trainer said.

The wooden timbers are “drop dead gorgeous,” said Daniel McCarthy, vice president of The Brewery Project LLC.

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One corner of the building’s first floor, that was once part of a chimney, may be leased to a coffee shop, Trainer said.

Other features of the Boiler House building will include an elevator with windows facing downtown and 25 underground parking spaces.

Zilber will complete paving of several road segments in time for the completion of the Boiler House building, McCarthy said, including 10th Street between Winnebago Street and Juneau Avenue, plus McKinley Avenue and portions of North 9th Street and North 11th Street.

Demolition work has been completed of several tank buildings north of Juneau Avenue and between 9th and 10th streets. On that block, construction of an 800-car parking structure with 9,000 square feet of first floor retail space will begin this fall and be completed next year.

Also this fall, Zilber will complete a parking lot to the west of the Boiler House building and a neighborhood park, which will be located to the south of the Boiler House building, McCarthy said.

The park has been designed by Charlottesville, Va.-based landscape architectural firm D.I.R.T.

“The pocket park we hope will win national awards because of its beauty,” Trainer said. “The (Boiler House) building is in an exciting neighborhood, with the pocket park next door and is in a campus-like setting of historic buildings.”

A storm water holding area will be built underneath the park, which is just one of several green initiatives that are part of The Brewery project. Other green features include reflective rooftops, porous street crossings, bio-swales and sustainable vegetation. The project is part of LEED’s new neighborhood development program and Zilber is seeking a platinum certification.

The completion of the Boiler House building will provide a major boost for Zilber’s efforts to redevelop the entire brewery complex, McCarthy said. For the first time the project will have a real place to take prospective tenants, instead of drawings on paper, to show them the neighborhood’s potential.

“To have people be working here in a couple of months and to have a place to bring (potential tenants) to show them what can be done here and how cool it can be is going to be a tremendous asset to our efforts,” McCarthy said.

Meanwhile, Brew City Redevelopment Group LLC is completing roofing work and is renovating the interior of the former gift shop, visitor’s center and corporate offices at 901-17 W. Juneau Ave.  Jim Haertel, president of Brew City Redevelopment Group, says the buildings may be opened to host catered events by the end of the year.

“We’re trying to get this area open to give people a taste,” he said.

Brew City is still negotiating with Cincinnati Restaurant Group Inc., which may open a Hofbrauhaus microbrewery and restaurant in the buildings. The Hofbrauhaus would open in February of 2010, Haertel said.

In another sign of progress at The Brewery project, residents are expected to start moving in January into the former keg house building, 925-945 W. Winnebago St., which is being converted into a 95-unit apartment building, called Blue Ribbon Lofts, by Madison-based Gorman & Company.

“Early next year we will have people living at The Brewery,” McCarthy said.

Updating other parts of The Brewery project:

The idea for an international trade center in the two-story, 176,000-square-foot, 38-year-old former shipping center building southwest of North 8th Street and Juneau Avenue, never took off, McCarthy said. The building remains available.

The 237,000-square-foot former bottling building, located north of West Highland Avenue and between 9th and 10th streets also remains available. Johnson Controls Inc. considered putting a training center in the building, but that now appears unlikely, McCarthy said.

“There is still interest from a group of corporate entities in doing a shared training facility,” he said. “It’s not totally dead.”

The Bando Chmura Group LLC is making progress on its renovations of the 28,000-square-foot former research lab building, located southeast of McKinley Avenue and North 11th Street, and has also purchased the three-story, 14,000-square-foot building next door.

The Brewery Project is in discussions with several potential tenants for all of the buildings and vacant sites in the former Pabst complex, McCarthy said.

“I’m very thankful for the amount of prospects we have in the pipeline,” he said.

That includes restaurateurs that have toured the top of the former grain elevator building. From that vantage point, perched 150 feet high on a hill overlooking downtown, Holy Hill is visible on a clear day.

“We’ve had some of the top restaurateurs in town (tour the building),” McCarthy said. “We’re on their radar screen.”

Potential developers and tenants for The Brewery are considering office, residential, hotel and retail space. The retail space, which will mostly be located along Juneau Avenue and North 10th Street, may be the last to fill up.

“The retail program needs body heat,” McCarthy said. “But with everything that’s going on here the retailers and the restaurants know if they wait too long the best spots will be gone, so things are getting interesting on the retail front.”

After years of discussions about redeveloping the former brewery complex, the fact that people are now seeing work actually progress is driving up interest from potential tenants, McCarthy said.

“This is happening,” he said. 


Weldall Manufacturing Inc., a metal fabricating firm, plans to build a 92,904-square-foot addition to its 99,000-square-foot facility at 2001 S. Prairie Ave. The company also owns 43,500 square feet of space in the building next door. The company is doing well, mostly as a result of strong sales to the mining, construction and power generation industries, Weldall owner and president Dave Bahl said. “I think most metal fabricators are pretty busy,” he said. The expansion project is in the planning stages, but construction could begin next year, Bahl said. The company has 140 employees and would probably add about 50 to 60 more with the expansion. “We could add 15 more immediately if we could find the right people,” Bahl said.

Urethane Systems Plus Inc. plans to build a 18,040-square-foot industrial building at the northwest corner of Corporate Drive and Corporate Court in the Waukesha Corporate Center.

New Berlin

New Berlin-based Zabest Commercial Group Inc. plans to build three retail buildings on a vacant, 3.8-acre site at 4905-25 S. Moorland Road. The site is near the I-43 and Moorland Road intersection, an area that already has several stores, including a Target store. Zabest plans to build a 12,000-square-foot multi-tenant building, an 8,500-square-foot multi-tenant building and a 3,000-square-foot gas station and convenience store building.


Bliffert Lumber & Fuel Co. is building a new building on its lumberyard property at 1014 E. Chambers St. in the Riverwest neighborhood. The building will have an 8,000-square-foot hardware store and additional space for a rental center and new lumber yard office. “We have been here for over 100 years,” said vice president Eli Bliffert. “We figured if we were going to build a new lumber yard office we might as well add a hardware store. A lot of neighborhood hardware stores went out of business when the first wave of big box stores came in. plus there are no rental shops on this side of town.” The company has two other locations in Milwaukee and one in Oak Creek.

Midwest Hospitality LLC plans to open a Church’s Chicken restaurant in a 1,500-square-foot building at 1635 W. North Ave. Church’s Chicken is a chain of southern-style chicken restaurants owned by Atlanta-based private equity firm Arcapita Inc. There are about 1,500 Church’s Chicken locations, including two in Milwaukee at 242 E. Capitol Dr. and 8111 W. Brown Deer Road.

Oak Creek

A Dunkin’ Donuts franchise will open in a multi-tenant building at 8750 S. Howell Ave. The space was formerly occupied by a Bruegger’s Bagels restaurant, which closed last year.


Commercial Real Estate Transactions


Dickman Company

Quality Contracting leased 3.0 acres on Arcadian Avenue in Waukesha from Arcadian Waukesha LLC.

Gerald Nell

Z2 Marketing Ltd. leased 8,370 square feet of industrial space and Ellison Technologies leased 7,270 square feet of industrial space at W237 N2889 Woodgate Road, Suite F, Pewaukee, from SSS-TIC.

Inland Companies

Accutrans leased 7,500 square feet of industrial space in the West Allis Commercial Center at 2006-2142 S. 55th St., West Allis.

Square One Restoration leased 13,802 square feet of industrial space at 2152 S. 114th St., West Allis.

My Big Back Yard leased 10,649 square feet of industrial space at 2855 S. 106th St., New Berlin.

Southern Lakes Spine Center leased 1,217 square feet of office space, Na’Amat USA-Milwaukee Council leased 313 square feet of office space, Stephen F. Emiley Ph. D leased 433 square feet of office space and Stifel, Nicolaus & Company leased 2,790 square feet of office space at Bayshore Town Center, 5800 N. Bayshore Dr., Glendale.

SSP-BPI Group leased 3,043 square feet of office space in the Liberty I Building at 11414 W. Park Place, Milwaukee.

Home Instead Senior Care leased 4,329 square feet of office space at Oak Pond Office Park, 9875 S. Franklin Dr., Franklin.

Blair’s True Value leased 22,000 square feet of retail space at Richfield Plaza, 1313 Highway 175, Richfield.

Asian Taste leased 1,162 square feet of retail space in the Shoppes at Prairie Ridge located at Highway 50 and 104th Avenue in Pleasant Prairie.

Laguna Nails leased 1,121 square feet of retail space at Highway 31 and Highway 20 in Mt. Pleasant.

Mid-America Real Estate

Oilerie Brookfield leased 2,353 square feet of space at V. Richards Plaza, 17135-H W. Bluemound Road, Brookfield, from Inland Commercial Property Management.

Buffalo Wild Wings leased 5,505 square feet of space at 8171 Howell Ave., Oak Creek, from River Valley One LLC.

Papa Murphy’s leased 1,760 square feet of space at Mequon Court II, 1330 W. Mequon Road, Mequon, from Concord 37 LLC.

Office Max leased 18,000 square feet of space at Franklin Center, 76th Street and Rawson Avenue, Franklin, from The Crown Group.

Spirit Halloween leased temporary space at The Brownstones, 17680 W. Bluemound Road, Brookfield.

Spirit Halloween leased temporary space at Westgate Square in Racine.

Taco Amigo renewed its lease in the Silvernail Shopping Center in Pewaukee from Waukesha Retail LLC.

RFP Commercial

The Aris Corp. leased 2,863 square feet of office space and Robertson Ryan and Assoc. leased 1,444 square feet of office space in the Plaza East Building at 330 E. Kilbourn Ave., Milwaukee, from Tishman Speyer.

Wild Impact Marketing leased 18,000 square feet of industrial space and The Big Backyard leased 12,000 square feet of space at 2800 S. 160th St., New Berlin, from First Industrial Realty Trust.


Dickman Company

J.M.E. LLC purchased a 49,846-square-foot building on a 4-acre site at 8700 W. Bradley Road and 8725 W. Tower Ave., Milwaukee.

Arcadian Waukesha LLC purchased 5.33 acres on Arcadian Avenue, west of 1505 Arcadian Ave., in Waukesha, from Waukesha Foundry Inc.

Inland Companies

Bradley Way Partners LLC purchased the 41,065-square-foot industrial building at N106 W13131 Bradley Way, Germantown, for $2.6 million.

Ogden & Company

Velcheck & Finger Roof Consulting & Service purchased a 36,844-square-foot office/warehouse building at W231 N2844 Roundy Circle East, Pewaukee, from JMC Properties LOC100. The company will remodel and then occupy 14,762 square feet of space in the building. The remaining space continues to be occupied by Capital Electric Wire & Cable.

RFP Commercial

The Bruce Company purchased 5.86 acres of land at 520 S. 92nd St., Milwaukee, from Allan-Knox Inc.

New construction

The construction division for Milwaukee-based Inland Companies was recently awarded: an 88,000-square-foot lighting retrofit for the Executive Center IV building at 235 N. Executive Dr., Brookfield; a 5,500-square-foot tenant improvement/build-out project for HSA Bank at 5055 N. Lydell Ave., Glendale; and a 4,500-square-foot tenant improvement/build-out project for Extensions Inc. at 7500 W. State St., Wauwatosa. Inland also recently completed construction of a 11,969-square-foot building for Eddie Z’s Blinds & Drapery at 14640 W. Capitol Dr., Brookfield.

Wauwatosa-based Selzer-Ornst Construction Co. was selected by Ambassador Enterprises LLC to build a new 350-vehicle parking structure for the Ambassador Hotel at 2308 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee.

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