By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Sep 05, 2018 at 3:02 PM

Just before work began to transform the so-called "Milwaukee Fortress" building, 100 E. Pleasant St. – erected as the home to F. Mayer Boot & Shoe Co. in Brewers' Hill – began last year, we took you inside for a look around and shared its history.

Then, in spring, we got another peek while construction was underway.

Now, as the leasing office hangs its "open" sign to begin renting apartments for January move-in, we took another tour of the $51 million project by The Alexander Company, based in Madison.

JP Cullen, formerly headquartered in Brookfield but now itself resident in the Fortress since June 22, is doing the construction work.

According to Alexander Company President Joe Alexander, the Fortress project is the largest adaptive reuse project – based on cost – currently underway in the state.

The six-story, almost 200,000-square foot building was put up in sections between 1892 and 1912.

It will have 132 market-rate apartments and 25,000 square feet of commercial space, including roughly 11,000 in three retail spaces, as well as a number of amenities for tenants, including outdoor garden areas and a dog park, a roof deck, a maker space, a community room with a 25-foot ceiling and two fitness centers.

There is a wide variety of apartment floor plans, with one-bedroom units starting at $1,200 a month and two-bedrooms starting at $1,800. The duplex tower apartment runs $3,700 a month.

Apartments will be ready for tenants to move in by January.

Here are some images taken today...

A one-bedroom apartment

The future community room

A fireplace in the JP Cullen office

A future workout room and renderings

A future outdoor space and rendering

One of three large retail spaces

The building's history will be highlighted

Vintage details have been retained and restored

Views of the two levels of the duplex apartment in the tower

Work continues

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.