Nov 9, 2015 Tom Daykin  Journal Sentinel

Proposed Menomonee Valley craft brewery seeks MEDC loans

A craft brewery planned for a former Menomonee Valley industrial building in Milwaukee would be financed with loans totaling $475,000 from a nonprofit business lender, under a new proposal.

Third Space Brewing LLC hopes to open next summer at 1505 W. St. Paul Ave. Third Space is led by Kevin Wright, a Thiensville native who worked six years as a brewer at Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, in Redlands, Calif.

Wright, a former biomedical engineer, began home-brewing in Milwaukee a decade ago before completing the master brewing program at the University of California, Davis. He told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last week that his plans for the Menomonee Valley site include a brewery, tasting room and beer garden.

Third Space Brewing, owned by Wright and investors group ATG/AB, is seeking a $150,000 loan from Milwaukee Economic Development Corp. The loan would help fund improvements to the space Third Space Brewing is leasing and help pay for brewing equipment and barrels.

First Bank Financial Centre would be the primary lender on the $1.58 million proposal, according to the MEDC. Third Space Brewing projects it will have seven full-time employees and 17 part-time employees within two years.

Also, development group Cream City LLC is seeking a $325,000 loan to help pay for buying and renovating the proposed brewery space. The dormant property has been vacant for approximately 20 years, according to the MEDC.

BMO Harris Bank would be the primary lender on the $1.18 million renovation project. Cream City LLC’s managing members are Steve Looft and Rick Read, with Cindy Read, Dan Read and Don Read also listed as owners.

MEDC’s Loan and Finance Committee is to review the loan applications at its Tuesday meeting.

Third Space Brewing would be the latest in a series of new investments on a roughly 10-block stretch of St. Paul Ave., west of the I-94 overpass.

Plans have surfaced there for renovating 19th-century industrial buildings into offices, light industrial use, event space and possible antique shops. Those investments have occurred as the city’s updated Menomonee Valley plan includes continued development of businesses that make home and commercial décor to become a regional draw.

Third Space would be the second craft brewer coming to the valley.

City Lights Brewing Co. plans to use the former Milwaukee Gas Light Co.’s red brick water tower, seen about two blocks south of I-94, as a brewhouse and tasting facility. A neighboring building will house additional production equipment, canning and kegging lines, a lab, office and storage and shipping areas.

City Lights, at 2200 and 2210 W. Mt. Vernon Ave., plans to begin production in March. It is led by Robin Gohsman.