After signing an agreement in December to purchase Schlitz Park, the office complex created on the site and within some of the remaining buildings of the old Schlitz Brewery, TPG Real Estate and Crestlight Capital have announced that they have closed the deal and now own the sprawling complex.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The 32-acre complex – which is bordered by the Milwaukee River, Brewers’ Hill, Haymarket and Bronzeville neighborhoods – dates to 1870 as the former Schlitz Brewery. When the brewery closed after Schlitz was acquired by Stroh's in 1982, the land was purchased in 1983 by The Brewery Works, Inc., redeveloped into an office park.
Among the tenants of the park are the Milwaukee Bucks.
The legendary Brown Bottle Pub, which is operated by Schlitz Park, is housed there, and MPS' Golda Meir middle and high school programs are also on the site, but in a building now owned by the school district.
Though many of the classic Schlitz buildings have been razed, some do remain, including the Malt House and the stables, across Pleasant Street from the rest of the complex, which can easily be identified by the polychromed terra cotta horse heads jutting from the upper floor on two sides of the building.
During the years it was owned by Grunau and Sampson families – who led The Brewery Works group – many unique architectural details and objects were retained for reuse. A storehouse of them is located on the site.
After a multi-year, $30 million renovation, Schlitz Park reached 100 percent occupancy last June.
As TPGRE, headquartered in San Francisco, and Detroit-based Crestlight say they expect to announce their plans for the complex "in the coming months," the future of the Brown Bottle Pub is unclear.
"Schlitz Park is a regional landmark that ties together the unique history and promising future of Downtown Milwaukee," said John Coury, principal at Crestlight, in a statement issued Wednesday.
"As the property enters its next chapter, we look forward to building on the strong legacy the Grunau and Sampson families preserved by investing in new concepts that embrace Schlitz Park’s active community and riverfront location."
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 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.