District History

Founded in 1844, the Pabst Brewing Company (formerly the Phillip Best Brewing Company) became Milwaukee’s largest brewery by 1868 and one of the largest nationally by 1874. The Pabst Brewing Company Complex originally consisted of twenty-seven buildings, spanning seven city blocks in downtown Milwaukee.

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.

Photo: Paul Bialas, Pabst, An Excavation of Art

Zilber’s Vision…

To redevelop the area into downtown Milwaukee’s next great neighborhood with a commitment to historic preservation and sustainability. The Brewery Project LLC was created to serve as the development’s master developer and by the end of 2006, the massive site preparation work to prepare the area for development had begun.

The Brewery Neighborhood Improvement District…

Was created in 2009 to promote and sustain the redevelopment and operation of the former historic Pabst Brewery as a thriving mixed-use development known as The Brewery District.

Achievements in Sustainability

In 2012 The Brewery District achieved certification at the Platinum level in the LEED Neighborhood Development (ND) pilot program as a result of its commitment to developing a sustainable neighborhood.

Today over $300 million has been invested in The Brewery District.

The results include seven apartment developments, three office buildings, two hotel properties, two breweries, restaurants, banquet halls, and two public parks. In addition, The Brewery District is home to the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and No Studios, an incubator for the growing film industry in Milwaukee. An 8-level LEED Gold Certified centrally located, public parking structure has been developed to serve the neighborhood.

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