By Sean Ryan, Milwaukee Business Journal, March 21, 2014
Developer Gary Gorman said he now knows the market for apartments in The Brewery in Milwaukee because there is a waiting list of people trying to get into his existing Blue Ribbon Lofts there.
That’s a good confidence builder as Gorman & Co. Inc. prepares to break ground on 100 additional market-rate apartments in The Brewery campus north of downtown Milwaukee.
But it wasn’t always this way, said Gorman, CEO of the Oregon, Wis.-based company. Development of the 95-unit Blue Ribbon Lofts, which opened in 2009, was a “white-knuckle ride,” he said, because the redevelopment of the large former Pabst Brewing Co. campus was just starting.
“I thought that was a pretty high-risk thing,” he said of the Blue Ribbon Lofts. “I didn’t know how the market would react.”
Blue Ribbon Lofts, which has a mix of market-rate and affordable apartments, is performing well, driving the follow-up Frederick Lofts project that will open in July 2015. Other buildings at The Brewery will be converted into housing for seniors and foreign college students.
“We were the pioneer in terms of residential,” Gorman said. “People will move into challenged or new neighborhoods if you give them an interesting place to live.”
Whitestone Realty Capital, New York City, is planning an up to $46 million restoration of buildings in The Brewery to create 124 senior housing units. Construction is expected to begin in April for a July 2015 opening.
Blue Ribbon Management LLC plans to renovate a different building in The Brewery into 360 housing units for foreign students attending Milwaukee colleges. That project also includes a 40-room extended-stay hotel.