Former Pabst brewery complex gets LEED platinum designation

The former Pabst brewery in downtown Milwaukee, which is being redeveloped into a mixed-use urban neighborhood, has received LEED platinum designation from the U.S. Green Building Council.

It is one of only three neighborhoods in the U.S. and one of only five in the world to earn that designation.

Mayor Tom Barrett accepted an award of platinum certification on behalf of the city at a presentation this morning held at the Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health.

“I think it sends a very strong signal first that this is a city that takes sustainability very, very seriously and second that sustainability and economic growth are close partners and if done correctly, which it has been done here, can really be a catalyst to even more growth,” Barrett said.

The Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health also received LEED gold designation from the U.S. Green Building Council, thanks in part to sustainable guidelines it has enacted including stormwater management, reduction of light pollution and the use of regional and recyclable material in its redevelopment. The building runs 24 percent more efficiently than code mandates.

The redevelopment of the former Pabst brewery was started by Zilber Ltd. founder Joseph Zilber, who formed The Brewery Project LLC to take on the project.

The LEED designation supports Zilber’s emphasis on historic preservation and sustainability, according to Mike Mervis, vice president, The Brewery LLC.

“His vision was real simple,” Mervis said. “There are some great buildings here. It’s a great neighborhood. And we’ve got to look at the development as restoring a neighborhood and utilizing buildings that were used for manufacturing to create a neighborhood.”

Zilber died in 2010 and executives of his company are continuing the Pabst brewery redevelopment project. Several of the buildings in the complex have been sold to other developers that have redeveloped them into apartments, office space and a hotel (which is under construction).

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