Uihlein wants to restore historic buildings on Broadway

Plans to replace false facades

Rendering of proposed facade renovations at 627-637 N. Broadway

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:22 am

David Uihlein has a plan to ensure at least five buildings in downtown Milwaukee’s East Side Commercial District will maintain their historical size.

Four years ago, Uihlein, owner of Milwaukee-based Uihlein/Wilson Architects, purchased three adjoining buildings at 627-637 N. Broadway and the buildings at 227 and 225 E. Wisconsin Ave.

Rendering of proposed facade renovations at 627-637 N. Broadway
Rendering of proposed facade renovations at 627-637 N. Broadway

His plan is to attract retail or office tenants to the buildings that have been vacant for well over a decade, Uihlein said.

“It’s an effort I have undertaken to ensure the East Side Commercial Historic District continues to maintain traditional building scale,” said Uihlein, whose firm’s office is at 322 E. Michigan St.

In December, the city’s Historic Preservation Commission approved a proposal to replace the false façade on the Broadway buildings. Uihlein has revised his proposal and now is hoping to restore the buildings to their original identity.

“Over time these buildings have been substantially modified such that there is no surviving historic fabric to preserve,” Uihlein said.

Uihlein is proposing three facades that will feature new brick with different colors, new aluminum for the store fronts and staircases to provide access to the second floor of the buildings.

According to the city, the buildings date back to the 1860s. The portion of the building at 627-629 N. Broadway was once famous for being a Marble Hall saloon. The top two floors were removed in 1946.

The building at 631 N. Broadway was known as Brodhead’s Building. The third story was removed in 1946. The building at 633-635 N. Broadway was constructed in the 1860s and then remodeled into a three-story building in 1894. It connected with buildings on Wisconsin Avenue.

Uihlein said this year he is hoping to do a complete renovation of the facades on Broadway and an abatement of the hazardous materials inside of the building.

He will then begin looking for retail tenants.

As far as the buildings on Wisconsin Avenue, Uihlein said the previous owner changed the façade and he does not plan on making any updates to it. He is seeking tenants for those buildings as well.

Historic Preservation Commission will review the Broadway proposal May 8.

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