Sentinel Building apartment conversion will create two-story lofts on top floors

Developer planning 33 total units, aims for summer opening

Credit: Google
Credit: Google

The conversion of the Sentinel Building in downtown Milwaukee is moving forward, with the developer proposing two-story lofts on its top floors to address an access issue.

Milwaukee-based investors group Mason St Ventures LLC recently purchased the historic office building, located at 225 E. Mason St., for $2.1 million.

At the time, Adam Gollatz of Mason St Ventures said the plan was to convert the historic office building to other uses. The group was then leaning toward apartments.

Recent building permit applications filed with the city’s Department of Neighborhood Services shows that to indeed be the case.

Gollatz said the plan is to have the first floor remain commercial space. The remaining floors will contain 33 residential units.

Floors two through eight are to contain 29 units. This would include 10 studios and 19 one-bedroom units.

Four penthouse-style lofts are planned for the top to floors. Each unit would be two stories, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, Gollatz said.

This is being done in part because the elevator does not go up to the top floor.

“When the building was built in the 1890s the (tenth) floor was an attic/mezzanine space, so the elevator actually doesn’t have a (tenth) floor stop,” Gollatz said in an email.

The studios will be around 460 square feet, the one-bedroom units will be between 650 and 700 square feet, and the two-bedroom units will be 850 to 900 square feet.

Gollatz said the basement might be used for bike and general storage, a pet spa, a small getaway space or work-from-home area.

“Our goal would be to have construction completed and be ready to lease by summer of 2022,” he said.

The 10-story building was constructed in 1893 for The Milwaukee Sentinel. The newspaper occupied a three-story building on the same site before that, starting in 1864. The taller building was constructed as the newspaper grew in circulation.

The Milwaukee Sentinel operated at the building until 1930.

The Sentinel Building is only the latest older downtown office building being converted to other uses. There’s the Drury Hotel for instance, which opened in late 2019 in the former First Financial Centre building at 700 N. Water St. Another example is the Underwriters Exchange Building at 828 N. Broadway, which is being converted into the 75-unit Street Car Flats.

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Alex Zank, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.

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