Aparium Hotel Group is best known locally for its co-ownership of The Iron Horse Hotel and for the new Charmant Hotel, which it will manage when it opens soon in LaCrosse. (Milwaukee's Kubala Washatko Architects is working on that project.)
But the Chicago hotelier is also working on another as-yet-unnamed hotel with a Brew City connection.
In a joint venture with Agman Partners, Aparium is opening its seventh independently branded, upscale hotel in 2017 in a former Pabst bottling and distribution plant at 2101-07 Central Ave. in Kansas City's Crossroads Arts District.
The earliest building in the complex is the four-story 1911 bottling and distribution center constructed for The Pabst Brewing Co. Later, Pabst added offices in a new, adjacent two-story building named for KC politician Tom Pendergast, who operated an eponymous distillery there in the 1920s.
According to Aparium, Pendergast was, ostensibly, a purveyor of bottled water and "near-beer" during Prohibition, but also was rumored to be running a bootleg distillery out of the building, too.
Interestingly, neither of these structures has the medieval castle-like crenellations that distinguish so many Pabst buildings in Milwaukee.
"We look forward to unveiling our plans to transform these incredible buildings into a destination that thoughtfully embraces the history and the character of the community," said Mario Tricoci, Aparium CEO and managing partner in a statement.
"This project is unfolding at a pivotal moment in the renaissance of urban Kansas City, specifically the Crossroads Arts District," said David Dowell, AIA, principal of El Dorado Inc., which is designing the renovation.
"It’s going to be a great gathering place for locals and visitors in one of the neighborhood’s irreplaceable, vintage warehouse buildings."
Among Aparium's other hotels (or hotels-in-progress) are the Hotel Covington, in Covington, Ky.; The Foundation Hotel, opening next year in the Detroit's old fire department headquarters and the Hewing Hotel in Minneapolis, opening (like the Covington, in 2016).
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 OnMilwaukee.com 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 can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.