F Street Group has purchased the Dubbel Dutch hotel on Milwaukee’s East Side.
Mike Doney, vice president of marketing for F Street Group, said the company, which is known largely for apartment developments, plans to keep operating the historic building as a hotel and hopes to capitalize on a resurgence in the hospitality industry.
“Obviously, it a beautiful property,” Doney said. “We want to take it to that next step, and see it flourish.”
Doney declined to say how much F Street Group paid for the property.
Located at 817 N. Marshall St., the 124-year-old side-by-side, or double house/mansion designed by architecture firm Ferry & Clas, had been in disrepair when local developer Juli Kaufman of Fix Development teamed up with Andy Braatz of Braatz Building Inc., and Patrick Jones of Ramsey Jones Architects in 2019 to transform the building into a 17-room boutique hotel.
At the time – nearly a year before the COVID-19 would paralyze the hospitality industry – the trio had plans to have the hotel ready for the Democratic National Convention, which had been expected to draw thousands of people to the city in July 2020.
The hotel did end up opening that July despite the pandemic that reduced the DNC to a mostly virtual event and kept most other travelers at home.
Plans for a restaurant never materialized, but a bar at the property – the Dubbel Dutch Tavern – did, and the hotel has stayed afloat hosting mostly non-business travelers and events like weddings where guests have had the option of renting out the entire double-home or just half of it.
Efforts to reach Kaufmann, Jones or Braatz were unsuccessful, but Doney praised the developers for the renovations that have made the hotel what it is today.
For now, Doney said there aren’t plans to make any major changes to the way the hotel operates, but the new owners do plan to spend the next 30 days observing those operations.
“Initially, it is kind of business as usual as we get our bearings,” he said. “In the short-term there will be some minor updates and updates to the rooms. More long term we’re looking to enhance the cocktail bar experience, and potentially add in some more event and business-focused initiatives to drive more daily activity.”
F Street Group has purchased hotels in the past, but those properties – extended stay properties in New York, Ohio, Texas, Milwaukee, and Mississippi for instance – were ultimately converted into apartments.
Speaking about the decision to acquire the Dubbel Dutch, Doney said F Street Group employees spent some time at the hotel doing their due diligence, and saw the purchase of the property as an opportunity to grow the brand.
“This is our first boutique-type hotel,” he said. “We felt like there was an opportunity to grow this new brand and hotel experience. We are certainly coming out of a very difficult time coming out of the hospitality industry, but we are hoping that those tourism numbers rebound.”