Perhaps no other American city is as closely linked to beer as Milwaukee. Thus, even though it no longer is used to produce the white beer for which it once was known, when the city's oldest surviving brewery building gets re-located, it's news.
The 1853 Gipfel Union Brewery building, which was part of the city's old Brewery Row but ceased turning out beer in the 1890s, was relocated this week to a site one block away. The brick structure will be renovated as a restaurant in a new condominium development.
In 1998, the city blocked the owner's plans to demolish the landmarked building. The move was financed by a grant from the Wisconsin Historical Society and two developers, the Bradley Center Sports & Entertainment Corp., which has owned the building since 1999, and Ruvin Development, which will incorporate the landmark into its new $160 million retail-office complex.
"(Moving the Gipfel) actually did a better job of approximating its historical context than it was sitting in the parking lot surrounded by the Bradley Center," says Matt Jarosz, former chairman of preservation commission and director of the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee's historic preservation program. "Only a block and a half away — that seemed as sensitive a move as one can think of. This is an important icon in the brewing capital of the country, so it seemed like a reasonable request."
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