The Brewery - Our Story

After operating for over 150 years the Pabst Brewery closed in 1996 leaving a seven block area of downtown Milwaukee vacant. For over a decade historic structures deteriorated until real estate developer and philanthropist Joseph J. Zilber purchased the complex in August 2006.

This historic complex covers over 20 acres and six and one-half city blocks. It contains over a dozen historic buildings ranging from a 6,000 s.f. German Methodist church (1872) to the 250,000 square foot historic Bottling Building (1900). As the historic northwest gateway to downtown Milwaukee, Mr. Zilber’s vision for this site was to redevelop this complex into downtown Milwaukee’s next great neighborhood built around the themes of historic preservation and sustainability. Mr. Zilber created Brewery Project LLC and its affiliates to serve as the development’s master developer, selling the shells of historic buildings and land sites to third party developers. By the end of 2006, Brewery Project LLC had entered into the largest public-private partnership in the City of Milwaukee’s history and rezoned the property from manufacturing to mixed use. Beginning in January 2007 massive site preparation work was underway which would prepare this area for significant development.

Although Mr. Zilber passed away in 2010 at the age of 92, his leadership can be seen in the Brewery’s unprecedented commitment to sustainability. This is best reflected in The Brewery’s 170 page Sustainability Guidelines and its designation as a LEED Platinum Neighborhood Development.

Since initial work began over $85 million has been invested in The Brewery. The results include a successful apartment complex, a fully leased office building, the new home of Cardinal Stritch University’s School of Education and Leadership and the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee’s School of Public Health. Also 2 private parking assets have been developed including a 78 stall surface parking lot and a 908 stall, 8 level LEED Gold Parking Structure.

In the Fall of 2011 work began to transform two of the complex’s most historic buildings - The Mill House (1891) and Brew House (1882), into the 90 unit Brewhouse Inn and Suites which features unique extended stay hotel accommodations and a ground floor restaurant. They opened their doors in May 2013. Brewery Point Apartments opened in January 2013. These 48 apartment homes were designed for senior adults.

With a number of other development proposals in the works, Mr. Zilber’s vision has become reality and an important piece of Milwaukee and American history has been preserved.

© 2014 The Brewery Project LLC