Eleven25 at Pabst

All the right ingredients for revival

Built in phases from 1891 to 1912, the former bottling house of the Pabst Brewing Company occupies three-quarters of a city block. Shuttered in 1996, the property sat dormant for two decades, with a leaking roof and ornate crumbling brickwork, until a developer proposed turning the historic building into student housing.

Transforming the 250,000-SF bottling facility into 150 apartments for college students was no small challenge; what’s more, the developer wished to pursue federal tax credits for historic preservation, limiting alterations to the exterior envelope.

The renovation and restoration included several complex processes. The exterior brick and stone façade was meticulously cataloged, and all restoration treatments developed in concert with preservation authorities; the façade was cleaned, tuck-pointed throughout, and rebuilt in several key areas; and 475 existing windows were replaced or restored.

Over the years the building had seen hard use and haphazard repairs to various structural elements to keep the bottling operation going round the clock; the design team repaired many of these areas and left others as a sign of the life of the building over the years.

The building was restored to its World War I-era appearance and now provides 150 apartments ranging in size from studio to four bedrooms and an extended-stay hotel for visiting professors, parents, and other guests. Additional components include classrooms, a fitness center, and a publicly-accessible food court. Two large atria serve as prominent gathering spaces. Restored skylights allow substantial daylight to permeate the space. All surfaces were sandblasted and brick walls, arches, and wood “tree” columns were exposed. The original three-stair towers were renovated and portions of the existing wood and steel plate flooring were refinished and reused.

Because the building primarily serves international students attending several different universities, public areas are focused on bringing people together to promote cross-cultural understanding, mutual respect, and friendship among residents. By bringing new business and foot traffic into a long-unused portion of the city, the project is also a crucial component in the resurgence of the area.

Portfolio
Location

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Building Type

Student Life

Size

250,000 SF

  • 2017 Engineering News Record, ENR Midwest Best Renovation/Restoration Project
  • 2017 Wisconsin Commercial Real Estate Women Award
  • 2017 Milwaukee 2016 Mayor's Design Award
  • 2017 Milwaukee Historic Preservation Commission Cream of the Cream City Award
  • 2017 Student Housing Business, Innovator Award
  • 2017 Daily Reporter/Wisconsin Builder, Top Projects of 2016
  • 2017 Milwaukee Business Journal, Best Student/Educational Housing Project