New apartments at Pabst win approval

The Milwaukee Plan Commission approved a proposal Monday to develop a 100-unit high-end apartment building at the former Pabst brewery.

As I reported last week, the $20 million four-story building would be at the northeast corner of W. Juneau Ave. and N. 9th St. The vacant lot is just east of the parking structure at the Pabst site, now known as the Brewery.

Gorman & Co., based in the Madison area, plans to begin construction next spring. Known as the Frederick Lofts, it would include underground and surface parking, a fitness center, clubhouse and rooftop deck.

The prospective monthly rents would range from $990 for efficiency units to $1,750 for two-bedroom units.

By Tom Daykin of the Journal Sentinel



100 Essential Travel Experiences: 99 – Milwaukee: Boutique brew by Air Tran Magazine

Pabst Blue Ribbon is a symbol of Milwaukee’s entrepreneurial past. Thanks to recent transformations, it’s becoming emblematic of the city’s future.

BY Jeanette Hurt —

Once the world’s second largest brewery, a bustling place that employed as many as 5,000 employees and churned out 10 million barrels of beer each year, the Pabst Brewing Company fell onto some hard times in the ’90s and the facility shuttered its doors (though the company still exists in LA, with different owners and beer brewed by contractors). The site of the old facilities is a prime example of the power of innovation and the organic combination of old and new, as the former  Pabst HQ was recently reinvigorated and transformed into a bustling neighborhood, simply called “The Brewery,” that boasts luxury condos, a boutique hotel, restaurants, bars and even two university centers.





City and Developers Complete Union Corners Agreement

Medical clinic, library branch and housing part of new development

Union Corners has been vacant for quite some time but the City sees its redevelopment as one of the crown jewels of resurrecting the Capitol East corridor. The red bricks (at right) from the French Battery Company plant will be incorporated into the new development.

Union Corners has been vacant for quite some time but the City sees its redevelopment as one of the crown jewels of resurrecting the Capitol East corridor. The red bricks (at right) from the French Battery Company plant will be incorporated into the new development.

The City of Madison and Gorman & Company of Oregon, Wisconsin have signed a Letter Of Intent to proceed with developing Union Corners. District Six Alder Marsha Rummel announced the successful negotiations with Gorman to purchase the City-owned property in an email to constituents. When completed the development will include a health clinic, Madison Library branch and 50-100 housing units.

Rummel, whose district includes the Union Corners property, will introduce a resolution approving the Union Corners Selection Committee’s recommendation of Gorman & Company as the developer and authorizing the City to execute a purchase agreement for the property in the sum of $1.

The project will commence in four phases, the first being a 60,000 square foot University of Wisconsin Health System medical clinic with parking. Phase 2 will feature 50 to 100 residential units with parking, Phase 3 and 4 may include a public library branch, more residential units, other retail spaces and of course parking. The last two phases may be developed out of order based on market conditions.

The Union Corners Master Site Plan. Courtesy: City of MadisonPer the agreement the developers must demonstrate the entire project requires $6 Million in Tax Incremental Financing (TIF), provided by the city, to earn the public assistance. The LOI notes that Phase 1 may be developed without the financing. At the time of closing Gorman must have a signed lease for a medical clinic tenant and secured through private financing at least 15% of the cost of the entire project.

Read the LOI here

The push to develop the site has been going on for a decade starting with McGrath Associates which had an approved plan with neighborhood support for mostly residential buildings in 2004 but the economic downturn derailed the project by 2007. Union Corners had been dying a slow death for decades as businesses struggled to exist on that corner and Ray-O-Vac’s manufacturing plant faded away. In 2010 the city purchased the site for $3.57 million and issued an RFP in June 2012.

Gorman Associates' mix of commercial and residential is highlighted by their "Townhomes at Union Corners" neighborhood concept.

Gorman Associates’ mix of commercial and residential is highlighted by their “Townhomes at Union Corners” neighborhood concept.

Four developers and one community group submitted RFPs but one by one before the committee took any action each of the groups dropped out until only Gorman remained.

“My thanks to all the stakeholders who worked for so many years to create a new Union Corners neighborhood!” Marsha Rummel said in the email.

The resolution to be introduced by Rummel has a few stops to make before the Common Council. It must be approved on July 8 by the Board of Estimates (4:30 in Room 260 of the Madison Municipal Building), and the Plan Commission (5:30 in Room of the City-County Building) as well as the Economic Development Committee which has not set a meeting on the matter.

Assuming all the hurdles are cleared the Common Council could adopt the resolution as early as July 16.

A Night at Milwaukee’s Brewhouse Inn & Suites

 Milwaukee's Brewhouse Inn & Suites at night

Milwaukee’s Brewhouse Inn & Suites at night

There are a lot of hotels in Milwaukee, but the newest one is the Brewhouse Inn and Suites. It’s barely a month old, yet already making a splash – in a giant copper brew kettle, of course – as one of the most interesting places to stay in Milwaukee. After all, how many other hotels can say they were once one of the world’s largest breweries?

A comfortable area in the lobby

A comfortable area in the lobby

The Hotel

The Brewhouse Inn and Suites, which is located just outside downtown Milwaukee, remembers its fantastic past through preservation. The sitting area in the lobby gives a subtle hint of this with its domed ceiling, but visitors need to go up another level to get the full effect. There you’ll find the old copper kettles from the brewery days. Preserved just as they were, the old Pabst kettles are the centerpiece of the hotel and can be seen from all of the floors.

The old Pabst Brewery copper kettles

The old Pabst Brewery copper kettles

As I came and went during my Visit Milwaukee stay, I loved being able to look down on the giant reminders of the hotel’s brewery days. It doesn’t stop there, though. The historical markers are everywhere, even right in…

The Room

As the name suggests, the Brewhouse is an inn and suites-style hotel. Think of it as a bigger and better boutique hotel. This means the rooms are incredibly spacious, and equipped with kitchenettes. Some even have extra rooms, and other amenities. Mine was one large room on the sixth floor of the hotel, and was complete with a small bar area to sit and eat or, as I did, set up your computer to get some work done while sipping on a beer. Pabst, of course.

My room in the Brewhouse Inn & Suites

My room in the Brewhouse Inn & Suites, complete with a beer ice bucket

The high ceilings of the old brewery floors remain in the rooms. But the brewery references don’t stop there. Ice bucket? Think beer bucket. Yep. Get your ice in a Pabst beer bucket. The toilet paper holders? Old piping. And the view? A panorama of the old Pabst brewery complex. Heck, even the complimentary breakfast is served with a  reminder of the old days.

Smelling the lovely flowers at breakfast

The Food

Smelling the lovely flowers at breakfast

The complimentary continental breakfast was better than I had expected. I assumed, as I’ve experienced at other hotels recently, it would be a simple bar with juice and toast. But there were a lot of good choices, which ranged from cinnamon rolls to fresh fruit and juices to toast and coffee.

Dinner at Jackson's

Dinner at Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub

Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub, which shares the building with the Brewhouse Inn and Suites, is also recently opened. And it’s a hot spot, as a result of being a new spot. I stopped in for an early dinner mid-week, and the restaurant and bar were already busy. It’s obvious as to why, too, considering the food – which is standard bar fare consistent with the upper Midwest – is quite tasty.

Learning about beerLearning about beer at Milwaukee's Best Place at Milwaukee’s Best Place


The fun doesn’t stop there, though. Several of the other old Pabst buildings surround the hotel, which preserves the great history of the area and atmosphere of the neighborhood. Some are offices, others are now residences, but one is the Best Place in Milwaukee. Seriously. It really is the Best Place in Milwaukee.

In the courtyard at the Best Place

In the courtyard at the Best Place

Milwaukee’s Best Place is named for the original owners of the brewery – the Best family. Captain Frederick Pabst bought it from his father-in-law, and, during the course of his ownership, changed the named to Pabst. Now his old office building is home to Milwaukee beer history tours and a full bar. But why, when in Milwaukee, would you get anything other than beer? And why, when you’re at the old Pabst Brewery, would you get anything than some cheap suds? Yep. The beer here is more than affordable – it’s a steal – so drink up. And when you’re done, walk back over to one of the most interesting hotels I’ve ever stayed in – The Brewhouse Inn and Suites


Jackson’s pub at Brewhouse Inn opens for lunch and dinner; brunch starts in June

A month after the Brewhouse Inn & Suites opened in a reclaimed building in the Pabst brewery complex, its restaurant, Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub, is open for business, too.

Jackson’s opened late last week at 1203 N. 10th St. after extensive renovation of the Cream City brick building. The restaurant’s 24-foot ceilings, for example, are covered with tin like that of the original ceiling.

The restaurant still is ramping up: The initial menu was due to expand this week, a week after Jackson’s opened. A late-night menu, served 11 p.m. to midnight weekdays and until 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, starts this week.

Father’s Day will be the restaurant’s first Sunday brunch, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The holiday brunch will be a buffet, but Sundays regularly will have an a la carte brunch menu, said Mark Zierath, who operates the restaurant with his brother, Dan. They also own Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub in Wauwatosa.

The restaurant at the Brewhouse is open daily at 11 a.m. It has a pub menu, with appetizers ($4.99 to $11.99) like fried cheese curds, chicken wings and jalapeño poppers with chile marmalade; salads such as Cobb ($9.99) with jalapeno and bacon; and sandwiches and wraps ($8.99 and $9.99), including a burger and a chicken sandwich on focaccia.
The bar has about a dozen taps, including some state craft beers (as well as Pabst, naturally) and about four dozen brews by the bottle.

Jackson’s has a beer garden seating around 100; musicians will play from 7 to 10 p.m. Fridays on the patio, starting this Friday.

To contact: (414) 276-7271.

Old Milwaukee school building gets new life


MILWAUKEE (WITI) — From the outside, it looks like an old school. Inside, lockers are still intact, a lunchroom and library still stand in the old Jackie Robinson Middle School.  But behind the doors, this is not a school.  Classroom are transformed into affordable housing units.

“I just love it,” resident Annie Black said.  “It’s gorgeous.”

She’s one of the first residents at the Sherman Park Commons.

“I’m just proud of my home, I’m just proud of it,” she said.

Black is one of dozens of people 55-years-old and up living in the affordable housing complex.

The transformation was made possible through a public-private partnership.  The Milwaukee Public School District, the city of Milwaukee and Gorman development company helped make it happen.

“This is an important transformation,” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said.

The building was paid for through historic building credits and low-income tax credits.

Video: http://player.ooyala.com/iframe.js#pbid=f7575286f810429a979346d9a69caaef&ec=d1dDkwYzoBbgnghVfMfd295vBh2AnSsO”></script>

Closed Milwaukee school building opens up to seniors


Milwaukee County

Closed Milwaukee school building opens up to seniors

Dorothy Barns, a tenant at Sherman Park Senior Living Community, talks about her new digs while in the community room at the new apartment complex. The former Jackie Robinson Middle School has been remodeled into senior housing.

Mike De Sisti

Dorothy Barns, a tenant at Sherman Park Senior Living Community, talks about her new digs while in the community room at the new apartment complex. The former Jackie Robinson Middle School has been remodeled into senior housing.

Sherman Park center provides affordable housing for those 55 and older

By Bill Glauber of the Journal Sentinel
May 28, 2013

Photo Gallery

Once, the hallways were filled with the frenetic energy and excited sounds of children headed to class.

Now, those same hallways are navigated by a group of older adults who bring renewed life and purpose to a stately school building that still bears the name of baseball great Jackie Robinson.

Sherman Park Senior Living Community is up and running, an old Milwaukee Public Schools building converted to affordable rental housing for those 55 and older.

The first residents arrived in September, the 68 units were leased by Christmas, and the facility at 3245 N. 37th St. will have its grand-opening celebration Wednesday.

But already, a community has formed, the newcomers melding into a tightknit group.

“This is heaven for older people,” says one of the residents, Henry Evans.

A $16 million housing development overseen by Gorman & Co. has transformed the old Jackie Robinson Middle School, which was closed in 2005. The 118,754-square-foot school building was constructed in 1926 and served for decades as Peckham Junior High School.

Gorman & Co. purchased the property from MPS for $600,000. Groundbreaking for the rehab occurred in September 2011, and it took nearly a year to complete. The project was financed with the help of federal affordable housing tax credits. Developers that receive those credits agree to lease apartments at below-market rents to those who earn no more than 60% of the area’s median income.

Rents are based on income of the tenants and range from $499 to $694 a month.

Ted Matkom, Gorman’s Wisconsin market president, is delighted with the reception the building has received. He still recalls his first walk-through.

“What stood out was the building was in impeccable shape,” he says. “I couldn’t believe it had been vacant for five years. It was heated, maintained in amazing condition. I thought the entire campus provided an unbelievable opportunity to put a shot in the arm for the community.”

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett called the project “a welcome addition to the neighborhood,” and he lauded Gorman & Co. for adding “homes for seniors in a part of Milwaukee that is a great residential neighborhood.”

“It makes sense to repurpose school buildings that are no longer needed by MPS, and this new use, senior housing, converts this building into a new community asset,” the mayor said in a statement.

Byron Thompson, the property manager, is accustomed to showing people around the building.

“When people are looking for an apartment they bring everyone with them,” he says.

Even though it’s fully rented, the building still pulls in a lot of visitors, only this time, they are officials from other cities, like Chicago, who are keen on seeing the development.

“In American cities there are a lot of schools that have closed,” Thompson says. “You have all this space. What do you do with a school?”

MPS owns 11 empty school buildings, officials say. In addition, one building was transferred to the city and four others were identified as surplus.

In recent years MPS has sold four buildings, leased 13 and reused seven.

Gina Spang, director of facilities and maintenance at MPS, says the old Jackie Robinson school building had the perfect blend of size, location and configuration for a successful resident rehab.

“I think it’s wonderful, a great use of a really solid, functional building,” she says.

The rehab is impressive. Art Burgess, a resident, calls the building “a jewel” and says the atmosphere is “peaceful.”

The living spaces resemble loft units, with hardwood floors, high ceilings, open kitchens and spacious bedrooms.

“The apartments are gorgeous and you have your own washer and dryer,” says Joann Bentley, who moved in with her mother in September.

The old gym has been converted into several apartment units, as well as a hair salon, nurse’s station and arts and crafts room.

There are an exercise room and business center.

And there are fine details that embrace the building’s historic character, with old school lockers and clocks along with display cases filled with school items like film projectors, musical instruments and vinyl records.

The attention to detail includes a wall of historic photographs of the Sherman Park neighborhood and other sites around Milwaukee along with large photos of Robinson from his glory days with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

The main gathering place is the old library, turned into a community room, where bingo games are played on Wednesday nights.

And the bookshelves are being filled in book by book, the project overseen by resident Francine Smith, a former MPS employee.

“It’s nice here, the kind of place I’m used to, a school,” Smith says.

The children may be gone, but the building survives with new tenants and a new lease on life.


Rockford celebrates new era at Jane Addams Park Apartments

(photo) JANE ADDAMS TOUR 05/09/2013 2


Ald. John Beck (left) tours a unit in the Jane Addams Park Apartments in Rockford with James Busse (right), regional manager for Gorman & Company, during an openThe Bridge Rockford Alliance celebrated the completion of Phase 1 of Jane’s Nobel Village.

Community leaders and the public were invited to attend an open house Thursday at the 38-unit disabled supportive housing complex, 502 Seminary St.

The site features a playground, community room, exercise room, computer lab, community garden and a library named for Steve Anderson, a former Rockford Housing Authority director who died in January.

The Bridge Rockford Alliance is a partnership between the housing authority and developers Gorman & Company.

House and dedication Thursday, May 9, 2013.


Newly Constructed Jane Addams Park Apartments Now Open

Newly Constructed Jane Addams Park Apartments Now Open

By: Sabrina Santucci

Updated: May 9, 2013

Rockford- Hardwood floors, brand new appliances and a community center. The new Jane’s Nobel Village offers community style living for mixed-income residents with disabilities.

It was built on the grounds of what was Jane Addams Housing Project, a building plagued by crime in a neighborhood recently rated one of the 15 most dangerous in the entire nation.

Rockford Housing Authority’s Ron Clewer insists this project will reduce blight and not bring more.

“We made significant promises throughout this process that we would not only develop a high quality residential living facility, but we would operate it in a very high quality manner and that we would continue to maintain it that way,” said Clewer.

Clewer points out that the new apartments located at Seminary Street and College Avenue are near construction meant to revitalize the neighborhood.

Rockford’s Mayor Morrissey says this project is only the beginning.

“The public investments that we’re making in South Main and the Morgan Street Bridge, as well as the Riverfront, the new river pathways, that will be done in conjunction with some of the public works projects. This is all how we take advantage of the assets we have. And build a really strong foundation for a great neighborhood,” explained Morrissey.

That also includes renovating the nearby Brewington Oaks Apartment complex for seniors. Still some don’t agree with building public housing in neighborhoods already struggling with crime.

Clewer disagrees. “It’s happening in many neighborhoods it’s not just here. But we can serve as a catalyst to reverse those trends and that’s exactly what we want to do,” he said.