August 14, 2003

Pabst City

Category: Urban Planning

Milwaukee: One of brewing's great legends, and everyone's favorite kitsch beer is set to live again in the form of a massive redevelopment of the old Pabst brewery in Milwaukee into apartments, offices, and entertainment space. Detailed NYtimes article here.

If you've ever wandered around the place, you'd be amazed at the level of architectural detail and abundance of unique gargoyles and other strange things. Bringing the place back to life will not only do justice to the buildings, it will be a massive catalyst to rather stagnant bit of downtown.

Unfortunately, it will probably be mostly chain stores, but these days you can't be too picky.

*image of the old brewery swiped from here.

Posted by Nick at August 14, 2003 04:14 PM | TrackBack


The Pabst City project will look great, and will probably do wonders for the image of our fair burg, as another decrepit industrial property becomes a hive of activity. This site is one of the most high-profile in town, as it is adjacant to the busy North-South freeway, and can be seen from all over downtown, being on high ground. In its current state it practically screams "blight" to everyone who sees it.

As a Milwaukeean who is personally invested in the future of our Downtown, however, I do have reservations. The developers hope to (and probably will) attract such chains as Hard Rock Cafe, House of Blues, Nike Town, etc. While these will be great additions to our growing downtown entertainment and retail sector, I would prefer to see them located near the River Walk and Shops of Grand Avenue, where there has been a huge upswing in restaurant and entertainment business in recent years. The Pabst site is relatively isolated and cut-off from the rest of downtown, as it is surrounded by a freeway and an institutional area, including the courthouse, central police station, the technical college, etc. These places are ghost towns afer 5:00 PM.

Pabst City will be a huge success, I'm sure, but will that mean success for Milwaukee in general? Will it not suck the life out of the rest of downtown by competing with the "established" downtown area, and consolidating entertainment and attractions in a contained, isolated place? I hope it doesn't.

Posted by: Dave on September 5, 2003 04:02 PM

Well said - I too would prefer it to be fairly toned down and made (mostly) into condos and offices. There is a definite risk of it detracting from other parts of the city (especially the Grand Avenue). But then again, one really shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth!

Posted by: Nick on September 5, 2003 04:23 PM

I think the Grand Avenue has shot itself in the foot. They want to attract upscale customers and become the "in" mall in Milwaukee, yet the bring in second-tier stores. Had they made the push to get some of the stores Pabst City is after, it might be a whole different story. I don't think we can wait for Grand Avenue to get its act together before moving ahead with Pabst City. I believe it's a great idea, and will be great for the city of Milwaukee

Posted by: Kevin on November 12, 2003 07:00 PM
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