By Tom Daykin of the Journal Sentinel Oct. 18, 2011
It’s not every day when you see one politician praising another politician in connection with a commercial development. But that happened at Monday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the Brew House Inn & Suites at the former Pabst brewery, in downtown Milwaukee’s northwest corner. Mayor Tom Barrett said Ald. Bob Bauman, whose district includes downtown, deserves credit for talking to developer and real estate investor Joseph Zilber about the 21-acre Pabst site, now known as The Brewery. That conversation “planted a seed” with Zilber, which resulted in his 2006 purchase of the Pabst complex, Barrett said. The Common Council and Barrett later that year approved $29 million in city financing to help pay for demolition, environmental cleanup work, and new roads, sewers and other public improvements at The Brewery. The money will be repaid through property taxes from new and renovated buildings at the project. Zilber, who died in 2010, got involved at the former Pabst site after an effort to create an entertainment and retail-oriented project, led by Wispark LLC, the development subsidiary of Wisconsin Energy Corp., failed to obtain city financing. The Brewery has developed slower than expected because of the recession. But it now has five completed projects, and three more that are under construction or about to begin construction, including the Brew House Inn. Oregon, Wis.-based Gorman & Co., which is developing the Brew House Inn, expects the 90-room extended-stay hotel to open by November 2012, said Ted Matkom, Gorman development manager and general counsel.