The topping off of a Hyatt hotel at the former Pabst Brewery Complex in Milwaukee on Thursday not only more or less marked the halfway point of the project but also a new beginning of sorts, said the project team and city leaders.
Deerfield, Ill.-based Janko Group, the developer of a new 150-room, six-story Hyatt Place hotel at 800 W. Juneau Ave., spoke at a ceremony held Thursday morning to celebrate progress on a far-reaching project dubbed The Brewery District. The new Hyatt and other parts of the district lie within a short walk of the new 714,000-square-foot arena being built for the Milwaukee Bucks. The new arena, which is scheduled to be finished next year, is just one of a number of projects now underway in the vicinity.
The team’s goal is for The Brewery District to be the new “living room” of Milwaukee, Alex Lasry, vice president of strategy and operations for the Bucks, said on Thursday.
“What we’re starting to see is that kind of sprout and have a real ripple effect around the city,” he said.
The new Hyatt Place stands on The Brewery District’s eastern edge, making it the entrance way for visitors coming from the Bucks arena just a block away.
“What we’re really starting to create with what’s going on with the arena district and now here at The Brewery District is a real sense of community and neighborhood,” said Lasry.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said the Hyatt project is just further evidence that Milwaukee is enjoying a building boom.
“All of the recent development and investment in the city is truly incredible,” Barrett said.
The Brewery District project hasn’t been without difficulties. Construction crews, led by the general contractor William A. Randolph, of Gurney, Ill., are working on a tight site not far away from other places where construction is occurring.
“This site’s very small, very congested, there’s not really any room to work. So we’ve had to be very, very careful about logistics and about scheduling deliveries, scheduling cranes, scheduling parking and the access in and out of the site,” said Eric Handley, vice president of Randolph. “So it’s been quite an orchestra of planning and off-site storage.”
Still, the project is actually ahead of schedule and on track to be finished by next summer. For the smooth progress, Handley credited the weather, subcontractors and the management team.
“Things have been moving along very smoothly,” he said. “No big hiccups.”
Handley said it has been exhilarating to work on a project that will leave so big a mark on the city.
“We love to be a part of any project where you see the bigger picture is all coming together around (you),” he said. “We’re only working on one project here, but we get to see the excitement of the neighborhood.”
Now that the project has officially been topped off, crews’ main job will be to install the building’s metal and brick exterior and finish its interior.
The new Hyatt is meantly for corporate travelers, sports fans and vacationers, said John Brooke, chief operating officer of Janko Hospitality, the group that will operate the hotel once it’s finished.
The hotel will be downtown Milwaukee’s second Hyatt.Follow @alexzank