West St. Paul Avenue added to state register of historic places

1741-1825 St. Paul Ave.

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 04:54 pm

The West St. Paul Avenue Industrial Historic District in Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley has been added to the state’s register of historic places by the Wisconsin Historical Society.

The district, which consists of 22 industrial buildings between 11th and 21st streets, has been a focus of Menomonee Valley Partners and the city of Milwaukee.

1741-1825 St. Paul Ave.

Over the last 15 months, four new businesses have moved to the street’s historic industrial buildings and three buildings are currently being restored, soon to become home to three additional businesses, said Corey Zetts, executive director of Menomonee Valley Partners.

The new businesses include BrewCity CrossFit, Plum Media and Third Space Brewing. Menomonee Falls-based architectural firm Christopher Kidd and Associates is opening a second location at 15th Street and St. Paul Ave.

“The historic district listing is an exciting part of building St. Paul Avenue’s identity and positioning the corridor for further redevelopment,” Zetts said.

The designation makes the 22 properties now eligible for historic tax credits, which help offset costs associated with restoring historic buildings.

In September, however, the historic preservation tax credit program was weakened when Gov. Scott Walker reduced the per-project cap from $5 million to $500,000. The change takes effect July 1.

State lawmakers have circulated a bill in the state Legislature that would restore the per-project cap to $3.5 million. They are waiting to introduce the legislation pending the outcome of the federal tax cut plan, which could eliminate the Federal Historic Tax Credit and impact how state tax credits are administered.

The West St. Paul Avenue Industrial Historic District was built by manufacturers between the 1880s and 1950s. Companies, including Cutler-Hammer, National Enamel and Stamping Company (NESCO), and Geuder, Paeschke & Frey, built a wide range of products there including tin ware, heating supplies and electronic controls.

The district will now be recommended for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, which is expected by the end of January.

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