Hotel planned for Button Block building

94-room Homewood Suites planned

Button Block building in downtown Milwaukee

Kenosha-based Bear Development LLC plans to convert the historic Button Block building in downtown Milwaukee into a 94-room Homewood Suites by Hilton hotel, an extended-stay hotel flag.

The 7-story, 66,913-square-foot building, constructed in 1892, is located at 500 N. Water St. Bear Development purchased the building last year for $1.55 million.

Button Block building in downtown Milwaukee
Button Block building in downtown Milwaukee

The building is today best known for Joey Buona’s Restaurant, which occupies the first two floors. At one time that space was occupied by Brett Favre’s Steakhouse. Other prior tenants in the building include Park Avenue and Mad Hatter.

The third through seventh floors of the building are currently vacant. Last year Bear Development indicated that it planned to convert those floors to apartments. But now the firm has submitted plans to bring a hotel to the building. The project to convert the building into a hotel will cost $17 million, according to information submitted to the city.

A representative for Bear Development could not be reached for comment.

The Homewood Suites hotel would be the latest of several new hotels that have opened in recent years and are planned to open in upcoming years. The downtown Milwaukee hotel market has shown considerable strength of late. The occupancy rate through August at the 28 downtown hotels is 67.9 percent, according to Hendersonville, Tenn.-based STR.

The Button Block building is in a tax incremental financing district that includes the historic Mackie Building at 225 E. Michigan St. The Common Council approved $900,0000 in TIF funds for the redevelopment of the Mackie Building, converting office space into apartments.

The Common Council will also review a request for an additional $1.96 million in TIF funds for streetscaping, traffic signal upgrades, lighting improvements and bike amenities along North Water Street, East Michigan Street, East Clybourn Street and North Broadway.

Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.

No posts to display