Riverwest industrial building to be converted into artist studios

A rendering of the maker/artist studio building at 3728 Fratney St. Courtesy of Dan Beyer Architects.

Last updated on November 11th, 2019 at 12:34 pm

A group of investors and local developers have a plan for the 3700 block of N. Fratney St., a vision that includes artist/maker studios and a sizable event venue.

A former 1920s-era tannery located at 3728 N. Fratney in the Riverworks Business Improvement District will be converted into 17 studios for artists and makers, said Jon Krouse, who’s heading the project for the development group.

“We’ve totally gotten into this idea that Riverworks can be the next creative district for Milwaukee,” Krouse said.

The developers recently peeled back sheet metal siding on the 52,000 square-foot building to reveal windows and the original red brick facade.

Phase one of the project will build out six studios on the second floor, which Krouse expects to be occupied by early 2020. Eleven more studios will be added later on in a second phase.

Amenities in the building include WiFi, 100 amp electrical service, energy efficient LED light fixtures, ceiling fans and concrete floors, according to the developer’s website. Ceiling heights range from 11 to 12-feet high.

Each studio is 655 square-feet to 1,265 square-feet with rent starting at $550 a month.

A different investor group, also involving Krouse, is in the process of securing funding to transform “The Goat Palace” at 3740 N. Fratney into a year-round private event venue. The 14,000 square-foot building was historically an aluminum foundry and more recently, used as an event venue on occasion.

Krouse partnered with developer Carl Nilssen to modernize The Goat Palace to include a bar, commercial kitchen and bathrooms. Krouse estimates the project will cost $1.6 million since The Goat Palace requires plumbing, electrical and HVAC work.

The new venue will be designed to host large indoor and outdoor events with an occupancy of 560. However, that occupancy could double in the summer months with access to a patio and the adjacent 1-acre lawn.

Krouse said the feel of the venue is akin to the Pritzlaff or The Ivy House in Milwaukee. However, a garage door on the side of the building makes the venue unique to others in the city, he added.

“We can pull trucks and equipment into the building that you maybe can’t do at some of these other venues,” Krouse said. “There won’t be anything quite like it in Milwaukee, certainly not in Milwaukee County.”

The developers have secured the zoning, design, engineering and liquor license required for the project. Construction could begin as early as winter, Krouse said.

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Brandon Anderegg
Brandon covers startups, technology, banking and finance. He previously worked as a general assignment and court reporter for The Freeman in Waukesha. Brandon graduated from UW-Milwaukee’s journalism, advertising and media studies program with an emphasis in journalism. He enjoys live music, playing guitar and loves to hacky sack.