Hotel, brewery proposed for Pleasant Prairie site near I-94

Hotel to have 124 rooms, brewery to have 250-person event space overlooking river

A rendering of the Kings & Convicts brewery in Pleasant Prairie. (Rendering: Allen Olsen)

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:21 pm

Development plans to be considered by the village of Pleasant Prairie call for a new high-end hotel and a brewery just south of the Interstate 94 interchange with State Highway 50.

A rendering of the Kings & Convicts brewery in Pleasant Prairie. (Rendering: Allen Olsen)

On Monday evening the village’s Plan Commission will consider a master conceptual plan from Branko Tupanjac, the owner of 7.4 acres of vacant land at 7821 120th Avenue, for the development of two commercial buildings and related site improvements.

According to a village staff report, the northern lot at this site would be developed as a hotel with a banquet hall and restaurant. On the southern portion of the property would be built a new Kings & Convicts brewery and restaurant. The development site includes 1.7 acres being purchased from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

The hotel would have 124 rooms with an 8,214-square-foot private suite with three rooms on the fifth floor. The hotel would employ 10 full-time and 6 part-time workers, according to the staff report.

M. Brad Slavin, project consultant for the proposed development, said the hotel would be a Hyatt Place or something similar. He said they are currently in talks with Hyatt, but nothing has been made final as far the hotel brand.

The brewery will include an automated brewhouse with large fermentation tanks situated directly behind the taproom bar; a 250-capacity event center on the second floor overlooking the Des Plaines River; a dining area, lounge area and patio with fire pits and outdoor seating; an Australian barbecue; a 50-person capacity room to be used for corporate and smaller events. The brewery will employ a total of 83-115 people.

Allen Olsen, the project architect, noted that village officials requested the buildings be designed in a way that honored the history of the development site.

“They wanted us to respect the distant history of this site, which was a powder factory,” Olsen said. In designing the building, he reviewed historical records and decided on a brick facade and arch-top window openings for both structures.

Olsen added that the brewery will include large glass windows, “so even driving on the expressway, you can see the brewery operations and so forth within.”

Highwood, Illinois-based Kings & Convicts Brewing Co. was looking to expand somewhere in northern Illinois or southeastern Wisconsin, when they were approached by the developer to consider the Pleasant Prairie site, said Brendan Watters, co-owner of Kings & Convicts.

The name Kings & Convicts comes from the fact that one of the two owners is English and the other is Australian, Watters noted.

The brewery owners had been considering existing buildings before being shown the potential development site. Its proximity to the interstate is what sold them, said Watters, an Australian and the “convict” of the Kings & Convicts ownership.

“We thought, bugger, we’ll build new and go from there,” he said.

Slavin said the two businesses combined make the project much more viable, as each will benefit from the others’ visitors.

“It was the right property with the right developer at the right time with the right business,” he said.

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Alex Zank
Alex Zank covers commercial and residential real estate for BizTimes. Alex previously worked for Farm Equipment magazine and also covered statewide construction news at The Daily Reporter. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he studied journalism, political science and economics. Having grown up in rural western Wisconsin, Alex loves all things outdoors, including camping, hiking, four-wheeling and hunting.