Local breweries will be re-established

Two properties that once helped make Milwaukee famous may be active again.

The Jacob Obermann Brewery, 502-504 W. Cherry St., and the Pabst Brewery are currently in different stages of the redevelopment process, according to Roseann St. Aubin, communications director for the Department of City Development.

The Pabst Brewery is surrounded by West Winnebago Street on the north, West Highland Avenue on the south, North Eighth Street on the east and North 11th Street on the west.

The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee will vote on a resolution accepting a proposal for mixed-use development of the Obermann Brewery today, St. Aubin said. The city owns the Obermann Brewery — it does not own the Pabst — so developers need city authorization to purchase and redevelop the land.

John Doherty of Transit Express Inc. is attempting to buy the land for residential and commercial use, St. Aubin said.

"It's probably a little premature to go into much of any detail" about redevelopment plans, Doherty said Wednesday. He said he would present a "rough plan" to the RACM that offered two tracks for possible redevelopment.

One track, he said, hinged on cooperation from the property owner directly to the west of the brewery for possible expansion. That property owner has not been contacted yet, he said. The other was a plan for redeveloping only the brewery property.

St. Aubin said RACM commissioners would vote after hearing from Doherty and any community members who attend the 1:30 p.m. public meeting on the issue.

"The staff here (at the DCD) will recommend to the commissioners that (Doherty's proposal) be approved, but we'll have to see what the commissioners think," St. Aubin said.

The city bought the 12,000-square-foot building years ago when its owners went bankrupt, St. Aubin said.

Redevelopment efforts at the Pabst are currently underway, according to Jerry Franke, president of WisPark LLC, a real estate development company.

"It's meant to be a city within a city," said Jim Haertel, president of the Brew City Redevelopment Group LLC, one of the partners involved in the project. Pabstcity will also be a mixed-use development, Haertel said. Condos and apartments as well as businesses and offices will open in spring 2006 along with the rest of Pabstcity.

Haertel said his group has been working to redevelop the Pabst land since 1999.

"I'm like a kid waiting for Christmas from 1999 to 2006," Haertel said. "That's a long time to wait to see your dream come true."

Demolition of a Pabst warehouse will begin over the summer, Franke said. The warehouse, located between West Juneau Ave. and West Highland Ave. on the north and south, respectively, and North Eighth Street and North Ninth Street on the east and west, will be the site of a parking structure and condominiums, he said.

Franke said a total of five buildings of the 27-building complex will be demolished before Pabstcity is constructed. Three of the buildings to be demolished are newer buildings that clash with the turn-of-the-century style of the other buildings, and the other two are an old grain silo and a smaller building next to the silo.

Sega Game Works, an adult video game spot with a restaurant and bar, and the House of Blues bar and night club have signed on to open locations in Pabstcity, Franke said. A 14- to 18-screen movie theater will also call Pabstcity home, Haertel said.

There will also be a microbrewery, Haertel said.

The Hofbrau Haus, a brewery from Munich, Germany, has signed on to open a bar, restaurant and microbrewery at 901-917 W. Juneau Ave., he said.

"So we'll be brewing beer at the Pabst again," Haertel said. Above the Hofbrau Haus, Haertel said he would like to see the Museum of Beer and Brewing, currently a traveling museum he started about four years ago.

St. Aubin said although the city does not own the Pabst land, the DCD will help with infrastructure concerns, such as fixing old cobblestone and asphalt streets currently in disrepair.