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Karl Kopp has owned the building for nearly 30 years.
Karl Kopp has owned the building for nearly 30 years.

Renovation blows the roof off new Kopp's pizzeria

I'm enjoying watching the progress of some vintage Milwaukee buildings being prepared for the future.

Today, especially, I noticed that the 1871 Italianate J.L. Burnham building at 100 E. Seeboth St., which is being renovated to house a Kopp's pizzeria, has lost part of its roof as the work, which began about a month ago or so, continues.

Karl Kopp has owned the building for nearly 30 years. It's unclear exactly when the restaurant is expected to open. A lot of work clearly remains to be done.

In March, workers started demolishing the interior of the building, which a city historic preservation report described as, "significant as Milwaukee’s best-preserved example of an early Italianate style commercial building. Its remarkable masonry work is a testament to its brickmaker owner and the tradesmen who built it and displays exceptionally fine detail in its pilasters, corbelling and cornice."

The building originally had street-level shops and second-floor office spaces for rent.

I'm thrilled that this rough-edged gem is getting a new luster and a new purpose, especially after having sat vacant so long while all around it new construction altered the landscape. I feared it would be razed, and, indeed, there was a plan afoot about a dozen years ago to tear it down for a condo project.

(An interior shot taken in early 2014)

The Business Journal's Stacy Vogel Davis and Sean Ryan did a couple nice pieces on the project here and here.

Across the river, work on the five-story 700 Lofts apartments – which began last year – is moving forward, too.

The 1910 building, at 700 W. Michigan St. – with a two-story addition dating to 1949 – is undergoing renovations that will create 49 "affordable" and market-rate loft units. The project is expected to be complete by summer.

The windows are being replaced and the paint has been cleaned off the brick exterior, as you can see from this photo taken this morning.

(Photo: Matt Mueller)

A few blocks east, at 401 W. Michigan St., the old 11-story Blue Cross office building is being converted into 188 apartments. Among other projects, office space in the Posner and Germania Buildings is also in the process of being converted into residential units.

UPDATE: After this post ran, the roof was never replaced and the building was never renovated. It deteriorated to the point that it was razed later in the year.


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