Pabst Village Planning
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The Milwaukee Renaissance is anchored by the transformation of Pabst City, a 32-building complex in the northwest corner of Downtown Milwaukee. Joseph Zilber has taken the option to purchase this property and develop it to leave a legacy for the city. This is a unique opportunity for community organizations to participate in a transformative effort for the good of our city!

The Brewery Project LLC

Michael Mervis and the Zilber Group are very happy to offer our community an opportunity to review their TIF application. This came in yesterday:

TIF application for the Pabst project is up on our website at, for all to see. If anyone has any questions, they should direct them to the website.

To have a public conversation about TIF applications is a good thing!

Here is Donna Schlieman’s summary of what has crystallized in the Save the Pabst movement as of October 2006.

Subject: Pabst Brewery Historic Site

The TIF for The Brewery Project LLC was approved by the city of Milwaukee Redevelopment Authority 5–1 on Thursday, October 19, 2006. The one alderman on the committee, Willie Wade, objected. $15 million or so will be spent on environmental clean up and demolition. $11 million on streets, sewers and other public improvements. $12.5 million would be charged in interest. It is expected it would be a 21-year TIF. The property will be developed in stages and the TIF moneys will be spent in stages.

Joseph J. Zilber purchased the former Pabst Brewery National Historic Site from Wispark in August, 2006. Mr. Zilber was born in Milwaukee, raised in and attended school in Milwaukee, studied business administration at Marquette University and graduated top of his class from Marquette Law School. After serving in the Army during WWII he founded Towne Realty in 1949. His business contributions and personal contributions to the city have been numerous over the years. At the age of nearly 89 years he has publicly stated that the redevelopment
of the former Pabst Brewery site “will be my legacy to the city that has given me so much. I will make it the best it can possibly be.”

The 21 plus acre site will be divided and sold off to individual developers. Mr. Zilber plans to develop parts of it himself. It is in the plan for Johnson Controls, a Milwaukee company, to develop the 2nd floor of the former bottling house. It will be used as a corporate training center. It is also in the plans for Gorman and Company, from Madison, to develop 90 loft style apartments in the former keg house. Gorman has developed 12 sites in the city of Milwaukee, some of those in historic designated buildings.

Jim Haertel, a real estate investor, owns 3 of the historic buildings. He plans to establish a brew pub in the former Blue Ribbon Hall, offices and gift shop. Jim had originally owned the 3 buildings and partnered with Wispark for the first development.

Brewery Project LLC is proposing to serve as master planner of the site. The Brewery plans call for sustainable and high performance redevelopment strategies. LEED certification on new and existing building construction and renovations is expected. Various strategies will be used to enhance storm water management and storm water drainage. Neighborhood parks, roof top gardens and canopy trees will enhance the site.

For which buildings will be preserved and adaptively reused and which will be demolished I refer you the six pages of Demolition and Abatement Budget Summary, Updated 9/14/06. There will be selective interior demolition at buildings 9, 10, 20, 21, 23 and 29. There will be selective interior demolition at buildings 1, 6, 7, 14, 15 and 16a. Building 11 was discussed at last week’s HPC meeting to save or demolish it. A final decision will be made at Nov.’s meeting. The 1960′s buildings and attached sheds will be demolished.

Look for The Brewery neighborhood to be completed in stages as individuals buy into the concept. Office buildings, housing, restaurants, hotel and parks will appear on the landscape at the highest point in downtown Milwaukee.

You may download information on The Brewery from

Information for parts of this article were from The Brewery Plans.

Donna Schlieman
Secretary, MPA

How to get Involved

  • Join the mailing list. Send an email to This will keep you ‘in the loop’ on changes to this part of the Milwaukee Renaissance website, as well as other developments.

  • While reading these pages, Click Edit! You can change this website. The password is growpabst. Just click EDIT and look—it’s a box. Make changes, sign your name in the Author box, and click Save. If it’s wrong, change it! If it’s missing, add it! Read What’s This Wiki Thing About? to learn more.

  • Click the “Discuss” tab above, to open a comments box at the foot of this page.

  • Follow a link on the Header or SideBar to the new Pabst Hill Discussion Forum. From there, follow the links to read what others are saying, or create a new topic for discussion.

Contributions you can Make

  • Find development organizations that match your values. If you know anyone who can put numbers to your vision, contact them and direct them here to learn about the project.

  • Add Content

  • Suggest other things. You can edit this page and add an idea right here.
    • What issues have been overlooked?
    • On what issues might progressive-thinking people of good will disagree?

See What’s Changed

  • The Recent Changes list contains updates to the pages in this part of the site.

Recent Material

The New City - notes from the discussion on January 14th; these may be incomplete - if you were there, change them!

Background Reading
Pabst Hill Brainstorms and New City Forum
Creative Classes of Milwaukee Unite to Transform Pabst Complex
Early Organizing Efforts to Save Pabst City
Growing Power Demonstration Project at Pabst Village or Pabst Community
June Eastvold Concept Paper Presented at Bucketworks
On Line Brainstorming in Response to Eastvold Gathering

Last edited by Godsil. Based on work by TeganDowling, g and JamesCarlson.  Page last modified on October 27, 2006

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