Kahler Slater worked with First Hospitality Group on the adaptive reuse of a historic office building to become a 128-key Hilton Garden Inn. The Richardsonian Romanesque structure once housed the headquarters of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance and is one of the best remaining examples of its kind in the Midwest, from its solid granite exterior to its soaring atrium. It sits in a critical location to help revitalize the key Broadway Corridor in downtown Milwaukee.
Acknowledging that the arrival experience is key to guest satisfaction, the design team studied many solutions that provide accessibility and a gracious entrance that are respectful to the building’s history. Our work includes key plan studies for various hotel brands, code analysis, historic consulting services and entitlement support and architectural and interior design work. Exterior restoration includes removing layers of paint to expose the striking granite detail, repointing, window restoration and the addition of a sensitively-designed entrance canopy. Inside, the hotel lobby, restaurant, meeting space, guestrooms and other hotel amenities will be inserted in the former tenant spaces and will center around the restored atrium. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated as a City of Milwaukee Landmark. As such, we worked closely with the State Historic Preservation Office, National Park Service and the City to ensure compliance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and to fully utilize Historic Preservation Tax Credits.