At the dedication of 100-unit market-rate apartment building at the former Pabst Brewery, mayor hopeful for continued growth of downtown housing.

By Michael Horne, Urban Milwaukee, August 13th, 2015

MILWAUKEE – There was a time that when you referred to a city’s “Tipping Point,” you were talking about a catalytic event that led to a community’s decline. Today, the phrase, as applied to the City of Milwaukee, has a different connotation, says Mayor Tom Barrett.

“Milwaukee is at a tipping point,” he told a group of 50 people gathered Wednesday at the dedication of the Frederick Lofts, 840 W. Juneau Ave. “Not a negative tipping point, but a positive tipping point.”

The 100-unit apartment building was developed by Gorman & Company, Inc. at the east end of the former Pabst Brewery.

Prior to the purchase of the long-vacant brewery site by the Zilber Group, “there was no reason to come here,” the mayor said. In fact, the place was so desolate that “even the bad guys wouldn’t come here,” he added.

But today, “what is happening literally before our eyes are young people and the young at heart coming downtown. It’s a national phenomenon,” the mayor said. “Downtown is 3.6% of the landmass and 18% of the tax base” of the city, he said.

As if on cue, the sidewalks outside began to fill with workers from downtown office buildings as they left work, heading to their homes, some in The Brewery neighborhood itself. Gorman & Company developed the adjacent Blue Ribbon Lofts apartment building out of the former Pabst Keg House. In addition, Gorman developed the Brewhouse Inn & Suites one block west. The new development is immediately south of the Brewery Point Apartments, a senior living community.

Ald. Bob Bauman, whose 4th district represents that 18% of the city’s tax base, and is the focus of its tipping point, joked that “groundbreakings and ribbon cuttings are getting routine.”

Ted Matkom, the Wisconsin Market President for Gorman, said the site “was the poster child for blight in Milwaukee.” He recounted the failed attempt to turn the area into an entertainment district that would have required the demolition of many buildings. Such entertainment districts did not survive the great recession, he said. After that effort failed, Joe Zilber declared that the Pabst site “was going to be my legacy.”

Things were tough at first, Matkom said. Some 30 restaurateurs turned down a chance to open what is now Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub at the Brewhouse Inn & Suites, including what he called “all the big players.” Today, Jackson’s, run by Mark Zierath, who was in the audience (and who catered the event) “is killing it!” Matkom said. The Blue Ribbon Lofts, dating to 2008, are “100% occupied,” he said. The 90-room hotel has some of the top rates in the city,” and hopes are high for the Frederick Lofts.

As Bauman noted, the location is a success despite being in sight of the County Jail and a state secure detention facility.

John Kersey, the Zilber Group Vice President said “We would not have imagined market-rate housing when we started this thing.”

Today, market rate at the Frederick Lofts starts at $1,350 for studios and $1,790 for a two bedroom unit.

Three models were on display, and I toured them with Gary Gorman, the president of the firm that developed and owns the property. This is 100% new construction, with high-end features like granite countertops and floor-to-ceiling windows. A live-work unit of 696 square feet has a sliding partition that separates the work unit, accessible from the street, from the live unit. For those eager go-getters who like to bound out of the bedroom and straight into the kitchen for a hearty breakfast, there is no door between the two rooms to slow things down.

Gorman noted the floors of the units, which are uniform throughout, and consist of a wood-grain pattern and texture. The material is described in the sales material as “luxury hard surface plank in natural wood,” but it is a vinyl type product. Gorman says from experience, he has to replace carpets every three years, and this material should be more durable. I would rather it express its inner vinylness rather than masquerade as wood, and I found the texture to be unnecessary.

Among the attendees was Jim Haertel, who owns Best Place across the street. He now has 35 employees. His wife Nancy says their facility is nearly completely booked for 2016, including for the wedding of Urban Milwaukee CEO Jeramey Jannene and Alison Peterson and is now taking reservations for 2017. One of the couple’s favorite weddings of 2015 was that of Ald. Nik Kovac and Grace Fuhr in July, where guests arrived by bicycle. Dan McCarthy, who was instrumental in the development of the project, (and was on the wrong side of the Pabst City plan) was there as was banker Jon Mulcahy. Also in attendance was Joy Smith, a resident of the Blue Ribbon Lofts who writes a neighborhood newsletter.

The building has a nice rooftop deck with a kitchenette, and a number of people were gathered there during the event. The building has a partial green roof of sedum that looks in fine shape for a recent installation. The bioswales outside seem to have done their work during recent heavy downpours, as evidenced by the line of silt seen on some of the plants there.

The final word on the tipping point came from the mayor, who said “my wife wants to move downtown!” Barrett says that may happen soon, once the kids are out of the house.

New Life for a Madison Icon: A Celebratory Mass with Bishop Robert C. Morlino marks the groundbreaking ceremonies for the redevelopment of the Bishop O’Connor Catholic Pastoral Center

Gorman DOM Media Release 5-1-2015


Friday, May 01, 2015

For More Information:

Susanne Voeltz, for Gorman & Company, Inc.
(608) 284-0848
Brent King, Diocese of Madison
(608) 821-3033

New Life for a Madison Icon:

A Celebratory Mass with Bishop Robert C. Morlino marks groundbreaking ceremonies for the redevelopment of the Bishop O’Connor Catholic Pastoral Center

Historic renovation preserves on site chapel, maintains Diocesan offices and adds a vibrant new residential community

Madison, WI—May 1, 2015—Bishop Robert C. Morlino celebrated Mass for the feast of St. Joseph the Worker today, marking groundbreaking ceremonies for the redevelopment of the Bishop O’Connor Pastoral Center (BOC). Following the mass, Bishop Morlino, flanked by numerous priests of the diocese, unveiled and blessed a recently uncovered diocesan coat of arms, that embellishes the lobby floor of the BOC and dates from its days as Holy Name Seminary.

The former Holy Name Seminary, a neo-Colonial landmark that welcomed its first students in 1964, has served as the Bishop O’Connor Catholic Pastoral Center since the seminary was closed in 1995. The redevelopment plan for the BOC – which preserves its architectural and sacred legacy and ensures strategic stewardship for the 72.6 acre property – was grounded in years of due diligence and study on the part of diocesan councils, consultors, and leadership to determine the best possible outcome for the future of the aging and underutilized former seminary.

Gorman & Company has been engaged by the diocese to serve as the developer of the $21 million project and will provide architectural and design services for the redevelopment. Upon completion of the apartment component of the project in 2016, Gorman & Company will also manage the property. First Business Bank of Madison, WI is providing the financing for the milestone redevelopment.

In anticipation of today’s event, Bishop Morlino expressed his gratitude to all those who are making this project possible, saying “It is a win-win scenario, where the diocese not only retains this historic building, keeping our presence in this most visible sign of the diocese in the community, and preserving the legacy of Holy Name Seminary, but also where new life is breathed onto the campus, which has served the local Church so well. We are so grateful for the excellent cooperation of Gary Gorman and his expert and visionary team.”

To preserve its architectural integrity, the iconic landmark, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, will be renovated as a “certified historic rehabilitation” in compliance with historic preservation guidelines prescribed by the National Park Service. Whenever possible, the BOC’s significant historic and architectural elements will be preserved, refurbished and sensitively integrated into the renovation design.

Key components of the BOC renovation will be incorporating 53 new apartment homes, updating office space for the diocese, Catholic Charities, and affiliated Catholic organizations, including the Catholic Herald and Catholic Radio, and upgrading office and kitchen facilities for Blue Plate Catering. The project will also allow Catholic Charities of Madison to bring more of their agents under one roof.

The on-site Cletus O’Donnell Holy Name Chapel will be maintained and preserved and will continue to offer daily Mass and Eucharistic Adoration during and after the BOC renovation. The chapel interior   is noted for its 360-piece mosaic, assembled in Germany, that rises three-stories behind the altar, and for its dramatic stained glass windows that were crafted in a palette of blues and pastels by the renowned Conrad Schmitt Studios.

The new residential community at the BOC, to be known as Holy Name Heights, will be comprised of 53 one and two-bedroom apartment homes that will combine contemporary living with a historic setting for a special sense of place. Units will be appointed with granite kitchen countertops and islands, stainless steel appliances, luxe plank flooring throughout, efficient cooling and heating systems, and a high speed Wi-Fi network. A guest suite will be available to rent by residents for visiting family and friends. Each unit will have an enclosed, heated parking stall and availability for bike storage as well.

Residents will have access to a host of amenities that are unique to the architectural landmark, including two interior courtyards with cloistered, arched walkways and a full size gymnasium-prime for pick-up basketball games. A wine lounge with a fireplace, stylish seating and a covered balcony offering panoramic views of the city and the Capitol, a theater room, a dance movement studio and fitness center are planned as well. The richly landscaped grounds of the BOC also feature 2.5 miles of walking trails for leisurely strolls or quick sprints.

To recognize and celebrate the BOC’s historic and cultural significance, Gorman & Company will create a dedicated space for a “History Lounge” on the lower level of the building below the chapel. In partnership with the diocese, Gorman & Company will curate a display of memorabilia and photographs chronicling the history of Holy Name Seminary. On site office tenants, residents, and visitors will have a chance to view the collection and learn about the BOC’s spiritual legacy in a warm and inviting setting.



Renovations bring multifamily affordable housing to W. Valley

By Kaila White, The Republic, September 14, 2014

One of the best things about Elizabeth Maciel’s new apartment is the brand-new playground just steps from her front door, where she can watch her four young children play through the blinds in her favorite part of the house — the spacious kitchen.
With three bedrooms and a renovated bathroom, her home is bigger and nicer than anything she has ever lived in, but the rent is about half as much as her other homes, she said.

Maciel, 26, lives in Ironwood Village, a formerly foreclosed apartment complex in downtown Glendale’s Centerline district that was recently renovated to create affordable housing for low- and moderate-income people.

Monthly rents range from about $570 for two-bedroom apartments to $775 for three bedrooms, utilities included. The complex is among a handful of similar new and planned revitalization projects designed to bring safety and stability to neighborhoods in the West Valley.

The city, state, a non-profit and a developer partnered on the complex’s $9.5 million renovation, with $2.1 million coming from the city via federal neighborhood-stabilization grants.

The developer, Gorman & Company Inc., also has plans for a multifamily affordable-housing project in Avondale. Madison Heights, a public-housing community near Van Buren Street and Dysart Road, will be demolished and rebuilt once the developer secures funding.

Madison Heightsand a complex in west Phoenix were the top two priorities on Housing Authority of Maricopa County’s list of redevelopment projects, according to Brian Swanton, Gorman & Company’s Arizona market president.

They also are the only projects in Arizona approved by Congress for transformation under the new Rental Assistance Demonstration program.

Though single-family homes are the most popular, some West Valley cities are partnering with non-profits and private companies to build multifamily affordable-housing complexes, some to help an area recover from foreclosure, others to improve dilapidated public housing.

Ironwood Village includes 95 units, a pool and many new amenities, including solar panels, a computer lab, a fitness room and a multipurpose room, which houses free before- and after-school programs.

Elizabeth Maciel reads one of her children’s Mother’s Day poems in the kitchen of her three-bedroom apartment at the recently renovated Ironwood Village in Glendale.

Since moving in, Maciel has been able to afford a few luxuries. She recently took her children to dinner and to see “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

“I would love to get a house of my own someday, but I know me staying here, being here, I think I’ll be able to do that. You know, afford this place but save up on the side,” she said.

It’s common for people with low incomes to spend as much as 50 percent of their gross monthly income on rent, which makes it difficult to afford other necessities or save for a home of their own, said Michael Trailer, director of the Arizona Department of Housing.

“It goes beyond just housing,” he said.

“In our community, we like people to be productive and pay taxes; it’s pretty hard to do that when you don’t have decent housing. Simply put, housing creates stability in families and communities.”

Ironwood Village is an example of the new model of multifamily affordable housing, he said.

“We’ve come a long way from the old days of public housing. We’re not just trying to put a roof over people’s heads; we’re trying to build these projects in locations close to jobs and education and services which provide the best access to opportunity.”

In order to be able to receive federal funding, Gorman & Company had to find a foreclosed complex within certain areas that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development deemed neediest and with the most potential for impact, a difficult task that had them looking at about 40 properties before picking Ironwood Village and another one in Phoenix, Swanton said.
Most of the affordable-housing revitalization is in or near Phoenix because of greater access to transportation for work and school.

The lack of light rail has created a challenge for West Valley revitalization, as there are more incentives for developers to buildaround the light-rail area, Swanton said.

But Ironwood Village fell within an approved area by a single block, he said. Gorman & Company, Catholic Charities Community Services, the Arizona Department of Housing and Glendale partnered to revitalize it.

“It was a property that was literally falling apart at the seams. … Physically, it was a nightmare,” Swanton said. “And quite frankly, the existing tenant base was a challenging one.”

About half of the residents moved out during the renovation process — most when they saw the new credit- and criminal-background standards, he said. In other cases, up to eight people were living in a two-bedroom apartment, which is considered overcrowding by federal standards.

Gorman was required to use the federal funding to find more-suitable homes for those families, in some cases giving up to $30,000 for their relocation, Swanton said.

Year over year in August, police received about half as many calls for service from the complex once Gorman took over and began renovation in 2012, according to police logs.

“If we go into a neighborhood like where Ironwood is and rebuild the complex, it starts to revitalize the neighborhood. It’s like dominoes,” Trailer said. “We’ve seen it over and over again where we’ll go into an area that has deteriorated and rehab an existing complex and, all of a sudden, everybody else starts fixing theirs up, too.”

Gorman completed another multifamily affordable-housing project in 2011, the Glendale Enterprise Lofts across the street from Glendale High School in the Centerline district, which runs along Glendale Avenue between 43rd and 67th avenues.

Since then, a gourmet taco shop opened and a shopping center was remodeled down the street, and the high school opened a new culinary building — investments that are related to the Lofts’ improvement, said Brian Friedman, Glendale’s director of economic development.

“There is a positive ripple effect. Once one business starts remodeling, we see others also investing in new projects, improving their properties and new private investment being planned,” Friedman said.

A shopping center, Circle K, McDonald’s and Burger King have been remodeled near Ironwood Village, he said, and Ascent, a data-center company, has planned a new campus nearby.

Both Ironwood Village and Glendale Enterprise Lofts were 100 percent occupied within weeks of reopening.

Most other West Valley cities that receive federal funding for housing aid, such as Peoria, use it mostly for single-family homes through work with Habitat for Humanity and Chicanos Por La Causa.

In addition, the non-profit Native American Connection has bought land in Glendale, near Laurie Lane and 59th Avenue just north of Centerline, and is awaiting financing to build multifamily affordable housing for seniors.


By Cassandra Vinch, Internet Director, WAOW

We’re excited to bring you a brand new series here at Newsline 9. We are opening the doors and giving you the Inn-Side Story to unique and inn-teresting hotels in our state.

“I’d like to welcome you to the Brewhouse Inn and Suites,” said Sue Kinas.

This Milwaukee building has only been a hotel for a little more than a year, but the walls carry a much richer history.

“If you look straight up, you’ll be looking up into one of the six original brew kettles. These were the original kettles. These were put in here in 1882,” Kinas said.

Those six kettles brewed hundreds of barrels of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer a day – but they didn’t always look this way.
“Pabst left town in a very big hurry. They were operating here for many, many years.”

The brewery closed its doors in 1996, leaving an uncertain future for the area. That was until a Milwaukee man bought it in 2006. Then the restoration process began.

“That was part of the preservation project, that as much of the integrity of the original building was kept in tact,” Kinas told Newsline 9.

Many of the walls are part of the original architecture and the columns have been preserved as well. As you can imagine, turning it into a hotel had its challenges.

“It was a huge mix of making sure the original integrity of the building was kept in place, as well as making sure the sustainability of the neighborhood’s needs were met.”

If the brew kettles weren’t enough of an ode to beer, the more than 1,500 bottles on the front desk do the trick.
“All the different beer bottles represent the local breweries in Milwaukee, both old, new, large, small and the craft beers in the area too.”

Construction workers had the tough task of drinking the beer.

Also on the first floor – the Blue Room, which used to be a break room for Pabst employees and their guests.

“The Milwaukee Police Department would come in between their shifts and come and sip the beer and talk to the employees.”
So, it was named the Blue Room after Milwaukee’s finest.

Now, we head upstairs.

“The space you are looking at down here is the original brewing floor. And these were the six brewing kettles that were here.”

Milwaukee visitors who aren’t staying at the hotel say they couldn’t pass up the opportunity to check it out.

“It’s quite awe inspiring to see the original architecture, some of it’s still in place with the brew kettles,” said Curtis Polley from Coerdalene, Idaho.

So we’ve seen the lobby and we’ve seen the former brewery floor. Now it’s time to check out the rooms.

“A lot of the kitchen tables throughout the building are re purposed. And a lot of the headboards in the suites are all re purposed from the building too,” Kinas said.

Pieces of wood left here and there, given new life. There are plenty of rooms to choose from – from standard to king suites – 90 in all.

“One of the things that we always tell everybody when they come for a tour is that they can come and stay here 90 times because we have 90 suites and every time you stay your experience will be great. But it will be different every time.”

The front of the Brewhouse Inn and Suites is no different. The interior may have change, but architects ensured the outside was just as recognizable as it was years ago.

The average room will cost you between $189, up to $459.

Milwaukee Middle School Revived To House Seniors

By Lindsay Machak, Multifamily Executive, July 16, 2014

A building that once catered to a Milwaukee community’s youth has been brought back to life to house seniors.
Gorman & Company recently transformed a former middle school into 68 affordable units of senior housing in a $14.466 million renovation.

The school was originally built in 1926 as Peckham Junior High and was renamed Jackie Robinson Middle School to serve children in the Sherman Park neighborhood. The school closed in 2005 as enrollment declined. Ted Matkom, senior development manager and general counsel for Oregon, Wis.-based Gorman, says the project was part of a larger initiative with Milwaukee Pubic Schools to repurpose schools that had closed.

“We did the senior housing on the land and then subdivided the North side of the parcel to be for the sale of single family homes,” he says.

The adaptive-reuse project, now named Sherman Park Commons, allows residents to stay close to their families and friends who live in the neighborhood. Some residents were even students at the school once upon a time. Many of the original lockers were worked into the new design and some units feature original chalkboards from the school.

“Someone always has memories,” Matkom says. “Those people love the warmth of the hardwood and it reminds them of the glory days of the 50s and 60s.”

Artwork throughout the building is focused on remembering the history of the neighborhood and the significance of the school and includes murals, photo cutouts, and collages that highlight the historical significance of the neighborhood.

The senior living facility is situated on a five-acre triangular plot at a well-traveled intersection and was covered with worn metal fencing and asphalt when the building was purchased in 2009.

To connect the residents with the surrounding community, gardens were also planned into the development. The garden had 28 raised beds installed by a local initiative, the Victory Garden Initiative. All of the plots were accounted for this spring with the hopes of supplying residents and the surrounding neighborhood with fresh, local produce, Matkom says.

The community, which was completed in July 2012 and opened in May 2013, is currently 100 percent leased.

Rebuilding a Dream: America’s new urban crisis, the housing cost explosion, and how we can reinvent the American dream for all

Excerpt from the book by Andre F. Shashaty

In America’s Rust Belt, many communities were hit hard by the foreclosure crises, compounding a long struggle with economic woes. On Milwaukee’s north side, a local real estate developer used the housing tax credit to help address the scars left by foreclosures there.

Gorman & Co., Inc., took a bite out of two prevailing problems in its Milwaukee neighborhood—foreclosures and unemployment. Focusing within a two-mile area, Gorman purchased vacant lots from the city to build 40 single-family homes for rent to lower-income families. This infill development helped restore the vitality and stability of the area.

But the firm did not stop there. It also substantially rehabilitated a series of duplexes that were in dilapidated condition to provide another 40 affordable units and preserve the neighborhood’s character.

“It has stabilized the neighborhood,” said Ted Matkom, Wisconsin market president for the firm. “It has eliminated blight. When you drive down the street it looks like a new subdivision.”

Known as the Northside Housing Initiative, the project also helped address unemployment, which stood at 50 percent for African-Americans. Gorman partnered with the Northcott Neighborhood House to train youths and adults with troubled backgrounds to work in construction. More than 50 full-time jobs were created for graduates of the program during construction, giving them valuable experience on top of their training.

Resident of the single-family homes will have an opportunity to buy their houses at the end of the federally mandated 15 –year rental period.

The new homes are part of a forward-looking decision by the city at the height of the foreclosure crises. City leaders recognized that homes could be acquired inexpensively, giving the city the ability to take control of not just individual homes but entire blocks and neighborhoods. This control would be essential to helping stabilize areas with high rates of foreclosure.

The $16.4 million Northside Housing Initiative is made up of two low-income housing tax credit projects that target families earning no more than 50 percent to 60 percent of the area median income.

It is a prime example of how private developers and corporations looking to reduce their tax liability are working with cities to address local housing and community revitalization goals.

$11 million in renovations at Riverview Towers Complete

By: Bob Dohr, Wausau Daily Herald, June 28, 2014

WAUSAU – The Riverview Towers apartment building on East Grand Avenue in Wausau is looking a whole lot newer.
Eleven million dollars newer.

A recently completed renovation project at the 10-story building spanned 20 months and was accomplished through a partnership between Oregon, Wis.-based Gorman & Co. and the Wausau Community Development Authority, which manages the building.

CDA director Ann Werth said the Authority contributed $2.5 million to the project, a Federal Home Loan Bank grant accounted for $750,000 and the remaining funds came from tax credits obtained through the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority.

“It was completely gutted and it was done by keeping all the tenants in place, as well,” Werth said.
The new-look apartments feature high-grade, planked vinyl flooring, maple cabinets and an open floor plan. An L-shaped kitchen replaces the old galley kitchen.

Achieving that modern, spacious feel within the confines of the budget — and the confines of the small apartments — was the biggest challenge, said Ted Matkom, Wisconsin market president for Gorman & Co.

“The units are about 500 square feet and we really wanted an open kitchen, an open concept that was an updated 21st century-type of design within something that was built in 1969,” Matkom said.

Mission accomplished, according to resident Dale Sutton, 75.

“Even though it’s the same square footage, it makes the apartment seem larger, more open,” Sutton said.
All the kitchens are now wheelchair-accessible, too.

“They’re all designed so someone with a wheelchair will have a turning radius, where before you couldn’t even get a wheelchair in the galley kitchen,” Matkom said.

Werth said they made sure 16 units were vacant prior to the start of the work. The work was done floor by floor, with tenants moving temporarily into the vacant units while their floor was being worked on.

“Every 45 days we did another floor,” Werth said.

Sutton, who has lived in the building for 10 years, said the inconvenience was worth it.

“It’s beautiful, I love it,” Sutton said. “It was hassle while they were doing it that two years. It was noisy and dusty, but the end product turned out beautiful.”

Riverview Towers is open to individuals or couples who meet income requirements and who are at least 55 years of age or disabled.

Werth says there are new finishings throughout, air conditioning in each of the 149 units, a new roof, new boilers, and new plumbing and heating systems.

The building’s hallways and common areas have been dressed up with artwork, a key piece of the improvement puzzle, Matkom said.

“The work that we did in the corridors and common areas to make this an inviting and not institutional living space is really on the top of the list as far as what public housing should look like,” Matkom said. “We really made this an inviting place to live.”

Werth said the upgrades will improve day-to-day life for residents.

“Number one, we did every energy efficiency we could possibly do, including sealing up any leaks, so it’s going to make the tenants warmer in the winter and more comfortable in the summertime, especially by adding air conditioning to the units,” Werth said. “It also supplies a number of additional services — computer labs, an indoor fitness facility, outdoor fitness equipment — all those add to quality of life, as well.”

Bishop Morlino announces ‘news of great joy’: Diocesan offices to stay at Bishop O’Connor Center along with housing community

Written by Mary C. Uhler, Catholic Herald, Friday, Jun. 06, 2014

MADISON — Bishop Robert C. Morlino announced “news of great joy” at a diocesan staff meeting on June 6: the Diocese of Madison would have its diocesan offices stay at the Bishop O’Connor Catholic Pastoral Center (BOC) along with a housing community being developed there.

Bishop Morlino expressed his gratitude to Gorman & Company for their “very, very hard work” in putting together a plan for the BOC. “I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am,” said Bishop Morlino.
Msgr. Mike Burke, pastor of St. Maria Goretti Parish in Madison and a member of the Diocesan Finance Council, said about the decision, “Wow! This is wonderful news. I think the reaction to this plan will be overwhelmingly positive.”

‘Sacred space’

Monsignor Burke lived at Holy Name Seminary, the former BOC, for 19 years. He served as the seminary rector for 13 years. He considers the building “sacred space,” pointing out that the chapel is the central point of the building. “People were hoping and praying that the chapel could be saved,” he said.

“I couldn’t be more happy for the seminary alumni, parents, faculty, benefactors, and many priests who served here that we are able to keep the building, chapel, and grounds intact. There are so many people who identify with this building, Catholics and non-Catholics,” he said.

The spire of the center dominates the west side of Madison, and the regular ringing of the bells can be heard from miles away.

Monsignor Burke said he “can’t thank Gary Gorman enough” for everything he did to save the building. “It’s a great day for our diocese” as we approach the feast of Pentecost on June 8, he said.

Redevelopment of BOC

Last year, the Diocese of Madison announced its entrance into an agreement with Gorman & Company to study the redevelopment of the BOC in order to make better use of the property, provide for capital improvements, and continue to provide for the important ministries of the diocese.

For the past nine months, Gorman & Company has continued to explore various renovation plans and funding options. After numerous analyses and configuration options, a refined redevelopment plan has been proposed for the BOC to fit more closely the needs of the diocese and Gorman & Company.

To both parties’ satisfaction, an updated mixed-use development plan is envisioned for the property, comprised of approximately 54 multi-family residential apartment units, continuation of the current diocesan offices and chapel on site, including Catholic Charities and other affiliated organizations, as well as maintenance of the beautiful grounds that make this a hallmark property on the west side of Madison.

This allows the Diocese of Madison to maintain its presence in the single most visible and recognizable Catholic structure in the 11-county diocese, while enhancing the economic capability of the property by seeking long-term coverage for total expenses. This is accomplished by offering a unique housing community with numerous amenities, at a beloved and historic location on the west side of the city with a picturesque view of Madison. The Diocese of Madison will retain ownership of the property.

Commending Gorman & Company’s refined plan, all their diligent work, and what it affords the diocese, Bishop Morlino said,“From the beginning, this project has been about establishing a firm footing for the future of our diocesan Church. We knew this would require sacrifices, and we were prepared to find a new temporary home for our offices.

“Through the continued work and creativity of excellent and expert lay leaders, we now have a way to maintain our offices in the redeveloped building and maintain a very visible link in continuity with our past. I am more grateful than ever for the assistance of Gary Gorman and his staff in working for a solution that has surpassed even our previous expectations.”

‘Win-win’ plan

Both parties view the plan as a “win-win.” Previously reported expected operating expense savings for the diocese are still anticipated under the refined plan. For Gorman & Company, the cost of the redevelopment, management, and lease of the space makes better sense, while better preserving the already established identity of the building.

Likewise, the residential redevelopment, especially with its proximity to All Saints Neighborhood, a Catholic Charities of Madison senior housing community, will provide a convenient range of options in the immediate area for future residents looking for a distinctive, attractive, and friendly living environment.

Msgr. James Bartylla, vicar general, told diocesan staff about the proposed plan for the building, which is in the “concept stage” at this time. It is expected to include 25 one-bedroom and 29 two-bedroom apartments. The target market would be “empty nesters” — people in their 50s and 60s — but would not be exclusive to this age group.
The chapel will be part of the diocesan space and would continue to be used for Mass and Eucharistic Adoration. The gym and pool are expected to be used, as well as the grounds.

All diocesan offices and other related entities would remain, although there may be some “sacrifice” needed in the use of the office space. “We still have to look at the most efficient use of our space,” said Monsignor Bartylla.

The BOC will no longer have its conference identity, said Monsignor Bartylla. “That will no longer be available.”
Construction of the apartments is expected to begin in late 2014 and take about a year.

“In God’s divine providence, this is a blessing for staff, future residents, and the many who come to the BOC daily to pray,” said a statement from the diocese.

A Brews Cruise of Milwaukee

By Katie Vaughn, Madison Magazine, May 2014


Nine ways and two days to experience the city’s diverse and historic beer culture


Kick off your trip with a walk into the city’s beer history. A tour of the Captain Frederick Pabst Mansion, a Flemish Renaissance Revival mansion completed in 1892, reveals in beautiful detail what life was like for the sea captain turned beer baron and his family during the Gilded Age. A one-hour group tour takes you through entertaining spaces, bedrooms, service areas and more, with stops to delve into stories about the family, the Pabst Brewing Company and turn-of-the-century Milwaukee.


For a festive lunch or afternoon reprieve, head to the Estabrook Park Beer Garden. Located within the scenic, fifty-acre county park on a bluff running alongside the Milwaukee River, the gathering space opened in 2012, modeled after biergartens in Munich, Germany. Order up a brat or giant pretzel, pick a Hofbräu brew—perhaps a lager, amber, bock or wheat served in a heavy glass mug—and take a seat at one of the picnic tables set beneath shady trees. Stick around to enjoy the live music that starts in the late afternoon and continues into the evening.


Best known for its root beer, Sprecher Brewery also turns out European-style beers. A family-friendly tour moves from the brew house to the aging cellar to bottling room to the sampling tent. But beer lovers should upgrade to a reserve tasting. You’re ushered off to a private room, where you stand at small tables while a guide leads you through samples of ten of Sprecher’s brews paired with artisan cheeses. You’ll soak up a lot of beer knowledge—along with some tasty premier suds.


The most raucous brewery tour in the city is at Lakefront Brewery, also renowned for its green and local efforts and diverse array of brews (including organic and gluten-free varieties). A gregarious guide has you laughing out loud as you pass through the expansive facility, pausing at six different stops for samples. Afterward, continue sipping in the beer hall or, if you’re here on a Friday, make the weekly fish fry your dinner. Just be prepared to abandon your beer-battered cod for a spin on the dance floor when the Brew Haus Polka Kings get things hopping.


For a one-of-a-kind pub crawl, consider the Milwaukee Pedal Tavern both your transportation and entertainment for the night. The sixteen-person, bicycle-powered cart tours a handful of bars in the city’s Historic Third Ward or Walker’s Point neighborhoods. With music blasting, your legs pumping and the cart whizzing down a street, you’re almost disappointed when you have to stop—that is, until you enter a tiny dive, belly up to the bar and ask for an old-school Miller High Life or PBR.


A beer-themed trip deserves beer-themed accommodations, and you’ll find just that at the Brewhouse Inn & Suites. Set in the historic brew house of the Pabst Brewery, which shut its doors in 1996, the ninety-room, all-suite boutique hotel opened last spring. Rooms are airy and modern, with an industrial, steampunk edge. But a highlight is opening your door and looking down into the atrium, which houses five giant copper brew kettles original to the building.


Rise and shine the next day with brunch at Café Benelux, a sprawling yet charming eatery in the Historic Third Ward. Named for the intersection of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, the café boasts a hearty morning menu featuring beignets, omelets, cinnamon streusel French toast, quiche Lorraine and more. If you’re ready to imbibe, five beers are recommended for brunch, as is the bier mosa made of fresh-squeezed orange juice and High Speed Wit beer from Lowlands Brewing. Nab a spot on the rooftop patio and ease your way into the day.


Cool, creative and nonconformist—these words describe the beers crafted at the Milwaukee Brewing Company as well as their signature “beer in hand” tours. Sip and sample as a friendly guide walks you through the brewery on this casual tour, explaining the processes and passion that go into Booyah, Louie’s Demise, Hop Happy and Polish Moon. You may get to sample what they’ve literally got brewing that day—perhaps something unique like the O-Gii collaboration beer with Milwaukee’s Rishi Tea.


Grab a beer in the most scenic way—via a cruise along the Milwaukee River courtesy of RiverWalk Boat Tours. Enjoy a pint at the local outpost of Rock Bottom Brewery before boarding an open-air boat that deposits you at the Milwaukee Ale House (a three-brewery tour also makes a stop at Lakefront). Order a brew and lounge on the two-story deck, watching boats and passersby strolling the RiverWalk, before your cruise back to Rock Bottom.