River Place Lofts replaces former Pfister Vogel tannery in Walker’s Point

Development made possible with creation of Freshwater Way

River Place Lofts apartments

The former Pfister Vogel Tannery in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood has been redeveloped into the River Place Lofts apartment complex.

River Place Lofts apartments
River Place Lofts apartments

The 64-unit apartment complex, known as “The Beam House,” is located at the south end of the Sixth Street Viaduct. The $7.9 million project was developed by Peter Moede and designed by Madisen Maher Architects.

“River Place Lofts represents a unique opportunity to bring an 1870s-era industrial building back to life,” said Erik Madisen, principal of Madisen Maher. “The design highlights the cream city brick, exposed columns and beams, arched-top windows and other industrial elements of the building.”

The project would not have been possible without the construction two years ago of Freshwater Way, the main street going through Reed Street Yards and the Global Water Center.

Before its addition, the Tannery building was virtually impossible to access because of railroad tracks.

“You could get to it from Virginia Street, but you had to cross over two tracks,” Madisen said. “Freshwater Way was a catalyst for making this happen.”

The project had other obstacles as well. A five-alarm fire in 2001 during rehab work at the former tannery left the building almost completely destroyed.

“Design challenges included overcoming non-aligning floors, a variety of structural systems and repair of damage from a major fire,” Madisen said. “We also guided the design and project through the Historic Tax Credit process.”

River Place Lofts is comprised of four different buildings constructed between 1871 and 1874.  The project is located at 625 Freshwater Way. The one- and two-bedroom apartments range in size from 750 to 1,570 square feet.

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