Proposal to convert historic Koeffler house into boutique hotel may receive MEDC loan

The historic Koeffler House
The historic Koeffler House

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 10:54 am

The proposed conversion of the Charles A. Koeffler, Jr. House in Milwaukee’s East Town neighborhood into a 14-room boutique hotel could receive $750,000 from the Milwaukee Economic Development Corp.

A group consisting of Juli Kaufmann, of Fix Development LLC, Andy Braatz, of Braatz Building Inc., and Patrick Jones, of Ramsey Jones Architects, plans to acquire the more than 120-year-old building at 817-819 N. Marshall St. and turn it into a 14-room hotel to be called the Historic Koeffler Inn

The redevelopment project also calls for a new roughly 2,000-square-foot event space and cocktail lounge, Braatz said. The event space, which Braatz estimated would be able to accommodate between 50-75 people, will be located on the north end of the building’s first floor.

The MEDC Loan Committee on Wednesday morning will consider providing a $750,000 grant to partially fund the $2 million project. The other $1.25 million would come from a private bank loan, Braatz said.

Specifically, the $2 million project costs include $600,000 for purchasing the building and the remaining $1.4 million for construction; furniture, fixtures and equipment; and other soft costs. The property is currently owned by Boulder, Colorado-based C.J. Taxman Interests Inc.

Braatz said renovation work will include new water plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems, plus the restoration of the existing woodwork in the building. A commercial kitchen would also be added.

The project is expected to result in two new full-time and seven new part-time jobs within two years of its completion, according to MEDC documents.

Milwaukee’s Historic Preservation Commission is also scheduled to consider the redevelopment plans later this summer. Braatz said the plan is to close on the deal in September and begin work immediately. The renovations will take about 7 or 8 months, which would have the hotel open sometime late next spring.

Similar plans to transform the Koeffler house were revealed back in 2017. At that time, Dale Stenbroten and Katy Rowe had proposed opening a 20-room boutique hotel there.

Braatz said others had expressed interest in the project since then, though ultimately nothing had moved forward. That is, until the current ownership group, who had been involved with previous plans, finally decided to move forward with the project themselves.

“I think we just kind of fell in love with the building and the historic significance of it,” he said.

The two-and-a-half story Koeffler House was built in 1898 by Ferry & Clas in English Renaissance Revival Style.

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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.