Brew House Inn preps for opening at former Pabst complex
Mike De Sisti
The Brew House Inn & Suites, at W. Juneau Ave. and N. 10th St., is the second extended-stay hotel in downtown Milwaukee.
Milwaukee’s hotel growth continues with extended-stay option
By Tom Daykin of the Journal Sentinel
March 2, 2013
After downtown Milwaukee’s former Pabst Brewery closed in 1996, the bottom portions of its big copper brewing kettles were removed – likely sold as scrap.
But what remains of the kettles has been cleaned and polished, and is now part of the lobby and atrium décor at the new Brew House Inn & Suites, a 90-room hotel created within the former Pabst brew house and adjacent mill house. The extended-stay hotel opens April 25, and its restaurant, Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub, is to open May 16.
Along with the six brewing kettles, the hotel’s features include the atrium’s restored stained glass window featuring King Gambrinus, the unofficial patron saint of beer; stone and brick arched doorways in the lobby; a spiral staircase connecting the lobby to the second-floor atrium; guest rooms with exposed brick; and tables and other furniture in guest rooms made from the brew house’s old floor joists.
The Brew House Inn has strong advanced bookings from both business and leisure travelers, including wedding parties, said Laura Narduzzi, regional manager at Oregon, Wis.-based Gorman & Co., the hotel’s devel oper.
“There’s a lot of excitement about this building,” Narduzzi said during a recent tour.
The six-story hotel has five two-bedroom rooms, some with rooftop terraces offering views of downtown’s skyline. The remaining rooms are divided roughly 50-50 between studio rooms and one-bedroom rooms. All rooms include kitchens.
The Brew House Inn will include a fitness center and two small meeting rooms, and guests will park at the nearby parking structure in the center of The Brewery, the 20-acre redevelopment of the former Pabst complex.
The hotel, at the northwest corner of W. Juneau Ave. and N. 10th St., is part of a surge in new downtown hotel development, including the 128-room Hilton Garden Inn, which opened in November; the 200-room Marriott, opening this fall, and the recent announcement that Kimpton Hotels will open a 158-room hotel in summer 2015.
The Brew House Inn will be one of only two extended-stay hotels in downtown Milwaukee. That will help it better compete with other downtown hotels with well-known brand names that are tied to national reservation systems, Narduzzi said.
The building’s history also will help attract guests, she said.
Downtown’s other extended stay hotel, Residence Inn by Marriott, has a strong business, and Brew House Inn will have to do a good job of marketing itself, said Greg Hanis, who operates Hospitality Marketers International Inc., based in New Berlin.
The Brew House Inn’s lack of a national brand name will affect the hotel’s competition for guests who aren’t seeking extended stays, he said.
“Its location will be unique,” Hanis said, “but its service to the guest and overall product it offers will have to also be exceptional to overcome the lack of brand to position it.”
Gorman financed the hotel through the EB-5 program. That program allows foreign citizens to obtain U.S. residency visas by investing in job-creating projects. The two-year visa can be converted into a green card, which provides permanent U.S. residency privileges for the investor, the investor’s spouse and children.
Opponents of the program say it distorts the market by providing the green cards as an investment incentive.
The hotel will be the second of three developments Gorman has at The Brewery.
Gorman operates Blue Ribbon Lofts, a 95-unit apartment building, and plans to begin construction this spring on a 60,000-square-foot office building just west of the Brew House Inn.
The Brewery also is home to the newly opened Brewery Point senior apartments, with 48 units; the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Zilber School of Public Health; office buildings; Cardinal Stritch University’s College of Education and Leadership; and Best Place, which includes the restored Blue Ribbon Hall and tavern.
Also, New York-based White stone Realty Capital LLC is raising $37 million to convert the former malt house and grain warehouse into 127 assisted living apartments.
The hotel’s opening is welcomed by Jim Haertel, who operates Best Place. He anticipates that additional business generated by the Brew House Inn and other new developments will allow him to keep the tavern open beyond its current Thursday through Sunday schedule.
“I think the more things we have going on at The Brewery, the more people will come, and park and visit all the establishments here,” Haertel said.