By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Nov 08, 2022 at 11:01 AM

On Tuesday morning, as owner Ryan Pattee met with his demolition contractor to discuss tearing down the four buildings on the north side of the 1500 block of East North Avenue, I went inside the buildings for a last look.

Pattee and his partners hope to have the buildings cleared this autumn so that ground can be broken in March on the four-story building that will include 56 apartments and a ground floor UW Credit Union location.

Two renderings of the new building. (PHOTOS: Engberg Anderson)

The new building was designed by Engberg Anderson Architects and will be built by Greenfire Management Services.

While some of the buildings – that run east from 1504 E. North Ave. on the corner of Cambridge Avenue to the former RC’s, 1530 E. North Ave., on the corner of Newhall Street – may not look terrible from the outside, they look pretty run-down on the inside, especially the old tavern and the buildings just west.

The buildings to the west will also come down.
1504 E. North Ave.

Vandals and squatters have been breaking into the building repeatedly, a problem that also plagued the former Judge’s building across the street, demolished last week.

RC’s was opened by Robert "RC" Schmidt in 1974 in a now-razed building and moved next door in 1978. It closed in 2018.

You can read a full history of the RC’s building – a former dry cleaners designed by George Schley & Son and erected in 1956 on the site of an earlier gas station – in this Urban Spelunking story, which also has photographs taken while the bar was still operating.

Stay tuned to OnMilwaukee for a separate story on the 1504 E. North Ave. building – most recently home to Buddah Lounge – which was home ot the first OnMilwaukee offices from 1999 until 2005.

Although a definitive plan has not yet been finalized, tentatively, demolition work is expected to begin on the RC’s building first, potentially on Monday, and will gradually move westward until the site is cleared.

The new building – which could be named Hometown, in honor of the company that built three of the structures and occupied the site from at least the 1920s (including in its earlier iteration, Wisconsin Ice and Coal Co.) – is expected to be completed in spring 2024.

Here are interior photographs taken Tuesday morning at the former RC's on North Avenue:

Bar X
Wide viewX
Wide view toward the frontX


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 has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.