Blue Ribbon Loft Apartments
Developer: Gorman & Company
Location: Milwaukee, Wis.
When the famous Pabst Brewery closed its doors in 1996, all 26 buildings stood vacant and the site became a source of blight in the community. In 2005, a local developer attempted to revitalize the building as an entertainment and retail destination. The attempt foundered when the Common Council rejected the requested TIF of $41 million. In 2006, Milwaukee real estate investor and developer Joseph Zilber purchased the entire Pabst site, and obtained $29 million in TIF from the city for demolition, environmental cleanup and construction of new streets, sewers and other public improvements. The TIF money was used to reconnect the property to the street grid and to turn over clean buildings to the sub-developers that would develop individual buildings.
Even with an experienced developer as the master developer and strong city support for the site, there was no development activity for two years. Gorman & Company purchased the building known as the Keg House, a functionally obsolete building in need of extensive environmental clean-up. The Keg House became known as Blue Ribbon Loft Apartments, a 95-unit mixed-income apartment building with 69 available to income-qualified families and individuals making 50 to 60 percent of the area’s median income. As the first completed building on the site, Blue Ribbon Loft Apartments helped jump start the redevelopment of the entire parcel.
Project Team: Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority; Great Lakes Capital Fund; City of Milwaukee; Gorman & Company; Mohs MacDonald Widder; Suby Van Haden and Associates.