Groundbreaking planned in August for office building at former Pabst brewery

Blue Ribbon Management LLC plans to break ground soon on two developments at the former Pabst brewery in downtown Milwaukee: an office building and an apartment building for international college students, said Blue Ribbon CEO Tom Gehl. Financing from foreign investors is in place for the office building but federal approval for similar financing for the apartment building has been delayed.

The new five-story, 73,100-square-foot building with 42,000 square feet of office space and two floors of interior parking, will be built on a vacant lot northeast of North 11th Street and Juneau Avenue, just west of the new Blue Ribbon Inn & Suites hotel. Construction for the office building is expected to begin in early August, Gehl said. It will take about a year to build, he said.

The apartment building for international students, which will be called the International House, will be built in the 240,000-square-foot former Bottling House building at the brewery, located north of Highland Avenue between 9th and 10th Streets. The building will be able to accommodate up to 450 students and will have an English as a second language learning area on the first floor, Gehl said. International students attending Marquette University, UW-Milwaukee, Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE), Cardinal Stritch, Concordia University and Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC), could live in the building. Some American students could also choose to live there, Gehl said.

Both of the projects will be finacined by the federal EB-5 program which provides green cards to foreign investors that invest in project that create jobs in the United States. The EB-5 funding for the office building has been approved and approval for the funding for the international student housing project is expected soon, Gehl said. But that approval process has been delayed by the federal government and it is unclear when it will be completed. Once the financing is approved the project will be able to move forward quickly, Gehl said.

The International House project will begin once the funding is approved, he said. Construction for that project will take 12-14 months, he said.

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