Adaptive reuse projects continue to be a viable option for developers looking to turn dated urban assets into one-of-a-kind hotels. While office buildings and banks have seen their fair share of hotel development, dormant brewery sites are starting to catch the industry’s attention as attractive places for investment.
“Breweries, for the most part, are historic buildings with wide open spaces. That’s what we look for,” says Ted Matkom, Wisconsin market president for Gorman and Company, the developer responsible for the Brewhouse Inn and Suites in Milwaukee. The 90-room extended-stay hotel opened at the former Pabst Brewing facility last May. Gorman and Company salvaged historic details—such as the original brewing kettles and 6-foot windows—and incorporated them into the property’s design.
The Pabst project isn’t the only former brewery under development in the United States. In San Antonio, Texas, the Pearl Brewery, which was originally established by German immigrants in the late 1890s, is also undergoing a large-scale overhaul. The 22-acre site was taken over by Silver Ventures in 2002 and is now home to 320 residences, 10 restaurants and bars, and 10 retailers. Earlier this year, Kimpton was awarded the management contract for a 146-room luxury hotel in the Pearl complex that is expected to open next year.
“This is certainly a first for Kimpton,” says Mike DeFrino, COO of Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, a company that has experience adapting art deco office buildings, an old railroad headquarters, and the nation’s first tariff building into boutique hotels. “What we love about adapting historic buildings is that no two properties can ever be the same, and each supplies guests with a unique experience that cannot be replicated.”