About The Brewery

After operating for more than 150 years, the Pabst Brewery closed in 1996 leaving a seven block area of downtown Milwaukee vacant. For over a decade historic structures deteriorated until real estate developer and philanthropist Joseph J. Zilber purchased the site in August 2006.

This historic complex covers more than 20 acres and contains over a dozen historic buildings ranging from a 6,000 s.f. German Methodist church (1872) to the 250,000 square foot historic Bottling Building (1900). As the historic northwest gateway to downtown Milwaukee, Mr. Zilber’s vision for this site was to redevelop the area into downtown Milwaukee’s next great neighborhood built around the themes of historic preservation and sustainability. Mr. Zilber created the Brewery Project LLC and its affiliates to serve as the development’s master developer, selling the shells of historic buildings and land sites to third party developers. By the end of 2006, Brewery Project LLC had entered into the largest public-private partnership in the City of Milwaukee’s history and rezoned the property from manufacturing to mixed use. Beginning in January 2007, Brewery Project LLC organized and managed the massive site preparation work necessary to prepare this area for significant development.

Since initial work began, over $300 million has been invested in The Brewery. The results include five apartment developments (three are market rate and two are “affordable”), a 400 bed luxury student residential property, three office buildings, two hotel properties, and two breweries. In addition, The Brewery is dedicated to education and the arts as the home of the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee’s School of Public Health and a building dedicated to promoting the ever growing film industry in Milwaukee. Three restaurants and two banquet halls help serve the hospitality needs of the neighborhood with more retail spaces coming soon. Two private parking areas have been developed to serve the neighborhood, including a 78 stall surface parking lot and a 908 stall, 8-level LEED Gold Parking Structure.

Although Mr. Zilber passed away in 2010 at the age of 92, his leadership can be seen in The Brewery’s unprecedented commitment to sustainability. This is best reflected in The Brewery’s 170 page Sustainability Guidelines and its designation as a LEED Platinum Neighborhood Development.

As the last developments open in 2018, Mr. Zilber’s vision has become reality and an important piece of Milwaukee and American history has been preserved.

Site Plan

The Brewery Buildings

Sustainability at The Brewery

Established in 1844, the Pabst Brewing Company grew to lead the world in beer brewing with its famous Pabst Blue Ribbon. After closing its doors in 1996, workers literally left the site, not to return, leaving the already deteriorating complex destined to be reduced to rubble.

…with great vision and commitment of developer and philanthropist
Joseph J. Zilber, a breath of new life has been given
to what we now know as The Brewery.

The Brewery, an exciting live, work, learn and play community has gone to great lengths to incorporate a wide range of sustainable strategies into all aspects of the development and construction process. By implementing the United States Green Building Council, LEED for Neighborhood Development Rating System, The Brewery has achieved Platinum Certification and is destined to be one of urban America’s premier sustainable neighborhoods.


A brainstorming session was held to discuss and maximize sustainable issues and strategies specific to The Brewery. Participants included members of The Brewery Development Team, National Sustainability experts, City of Milwaukee Planning and Development, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District, Local Universities and other community stakeholders.

Sustainability Guidelines
Comprehensive guidelines have been written to inspire, educate and implement sustainable strategies at The Brewery.

Local Economic Development
Local employment and small business participation for all public and private work at The Brewery is required to be a minimum of 21% for the Residents Preference Program and 18% for Emerging Business Enterprises.

Brownfield Redevelopment
Once a manufacturing complex, this site had been tainted with a wide range of contaminants throughout. Clean up efforts included asbestos and lead paint abatement and the remediation of contaminated soils.

Historic Preservation of Buildings
The Brewery will redevelop over 60% of the existing structures listed on the National Historic Register.

Stormwater Management
The Brewery site diverts all stormwater from roof tops, open areas and roadways before entering the combined sewer system. This stormwater is collected and purified through the implementation of underground detention reservoirs, porous pavement areas, bioswales and the aggressive use of landscaping. The Brewery, once a 100% impervious site, now infiltrates over 75% of the average annual rainfall and extracts over 85% of its pollutants.

Master Planning
Urbanism and smart growth planning principles were utilized to develop project density, a mixed-use environment, diversity and affordability of residential dwellings, site connectivity with pedestrian friendly streetscapes, multi-purpose and centralized parking and easy access to public transportation.

Comprehensive Demolition and Construction Waste Management
The Brewery has recycled, reclaimed or resold over 85% of all debris from demolished buildings and infrastructure. New construction of buildings mandates a minimum of 75% of its construction waste to be recycled.

Green Building Methodology
The Brewery encourages a green building approach to all building renovations and new construction through its sustainability guidelines and financial support. An 908-stall parking complex with ground floor retail is the first new construction project. This building is LEED Gold certified.