There was blue-ribbon property news out of Milwaukee this week – the owners of the former bottling plant for the Pabst Brewing Co. sold their property to a developer who will convert it into a hotel and student housing center aiming at the international student market.
The announcement was greta news for Milwaukee’s adaptive reuse, historic preservation and student communities seeking housing.
Adaptive Reuse Makes Economic Sense
According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, “Reusing existing buildings is good for the economy, the community and the environment. At a time when our country’s foreclosure and unemployment rates remain high, communities would be wise to reinvest in their existing building stock. Historic rehabilitation has a thirty-two year track record of creating 2 million jobs and generating $90 billion in private investment. Studies show residential rehabilitation creates 50% more jobs than new construction.”
Add to this the numerous tax credit programs available in many states for adaptive reuse, and such projects look better and better for buyers and sellers.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
On the other hand, some Milwaukee brewery reuse news this week was not so great. Owners of the former New Bavaria Brewery complex scrapped tentative plans to convert their three buildings into a craft brewery, 40 apartments, a church and a community center. Hopefully, the future brings better news for the New Bavaria Brewery, because Milwaukee’s brewing history and manufacturing history clearly has potential to remain a vital part of the of the modern landscape for posterity.