Lincoln Warehouse Owners Purchase Hide House

July 31, 2018

By Katherine Keller

General Capital purchased the Hide House in 2008, originally intending to convert the brick structure to condominiums. —Photo Katherine Keller

Boston-area-based attorneys Richard Gold and Tom Gold have purchased the Hide House in Bay View.

The four-building factory complex that straddles South Greeley St. between Dover Street and Deer Place has served as a hub for artists and small businesses for a decade and a half.

Father and son team Richard and Tom Gold acquired the complex for $2.4 million dollars from General Capital of Fox Point.

After purchasing the Hide House, General Capital tended to deferred maintenance projects like brick tuck-pointing, roofing, and other structural repairs. During its tenure, it also renovated and improved underutilized spaces to increase the number of creative suites. “We added over 50,000 square feet of new tenant space after acquiring the property.” Sig Strautmanis said.

Alton Bathrick (Alton Enterprises) and his son Gibson Bathrick purchased the property in 2001 to redevelop it as artist studios and band rehearsal space. They began with the largest building, 2625 S. Greeley, replacing windows, installing bathrooms, and making electrical and other improvements.

General Capital purchased the property in 2008 for an undisclosed price, originally intending to convert the brick structure to condominiums.

“At the time we purchased the property, we had envisioned converting the property into an affordable condo complex,” said Sig Strautmanis, a member of General Capital’s development team.

“We partnered with our friend Robert Joseph, who is an expert at adaptive reuse of historic buildings and has done numerous residential conversions. Of course, our plans came to a screeching halt with the recession. I became more involved in the property personally after we decided to forego any plans for a huge residential conversion, and to, instead, stabilize the property as a creative arts space, community magnet for the arts—creative class type of stuff.”

General Capital tended to deferred maintenance projects like brick tuck-pointing, roofing, and other structural repairs. During its tenure, it also renovated and improved underutilized spaces to increase the number of creative suites.

“We added over 50,000 square feet of new tenant space after acquiring the property.” Strautmanis said. 

Richard and Tom Gold own the Lincoln Warehouse, 2018 S. First St., a property similar to the Hide House, located a mile north on the northeast corner of Becher and First streets. In 1986, Walter Gold, Richard Gold’s father, owned a warehouse in downtown Milwaukee when he purchased the Lincoln property. At that time, its tenants were chiefly using it as storage and warehouse space. 

Gold had purchased his downtown property, 1110 N. Old World Third St., in 1924. Built in 1923, according to city records, and situated on the Milwaukee River, the building served as a warehouse for river transport and rail trade. (Decades later one of the building’s tenants was Lucille’s Piano Bar.)

In the 1950s when large tractor-trailer trucks began to replace river and rail transport, Gold was challenged because his building’s docks were not accessible by the big vehicles. 

Gold sold the Old World Third building in 1986 and purchased the five-story Lincoln building the same year. He transferred his warehouse business to the new south side venue that was two blocks from I-94 and offered better accessibility for semis. 

Built in 1928, the Lincoln building once served as grocery chain A&P’s storage facility. There was also a bakery in the building at one time, which some Bay View residents recall as being A&P’s. Huffy manufactured basketball backboards in the building and Foamation, maker of Cheesehead hats and other gear, started up in the Lincoln building in 1980. Necco candy processed its candy Valentine hearts in the building.

Richard and Tom Gold said they always envisioned the vast Lincoln building as a storage facility but when they hired Andrew Bandy as their developer of properties and broker to rent space, he suggested the building’s assets could be better utilized.

“He convinced us we didn’t understand the building,” Tom Gold said. He pointed out its beautiful windows and wonderful light. Convinced, they began to change their business model to attract small business start-ups, small businesses, and artists. 

There were 22 tenants in the Lincoln Warehouse when they began the conversion in 2007. Currently
there are more than 140 tenants who occupy 168,000 square feet of the converted space. A few tenants still use the building for storage.

The new Hide House owners intend to continue renovating the buildings. There are unoccupied spaces in the main building, 2625 S. Greeley St., that they will build out and fill with a similar tenant base and they will update the basement of Building 10, 2612 S. Greeley, and seek a tenant. 

“We will follow the same philosophy as Lincoln Warehouse and continue to build out for the next few years as demand requires. Eventually, we will add as many as 40 new spaces,” Bandy said. Currently there are 60 tenants.

When the Hide House came on the market in 2015, the Golds felt it was a good fit. The tenant base and its community was similar to the Lincoln Warehouse and Richard and Tom were drawn to the “buildings’ style, exposed brick, and beautiful wood floors.”

“We love the tenants,” Tom Gold said. “They’re good people, good tenants. We appreciate their spirit and drive and camaraderie. They are people working together. It’s a wonderful community.”

The new Hide House owners intend to continue renovating the buildings. There are unoccupied spaces in the main building, 2625 S. Greeley St., that they will build out and fill with a similar tenant base and they will update the basement of Building 10, 2612 S. Greeley, and seek a tenant. 

“We will follow the same philosophy as Lincoln Warehouse and continue to build out for the next few years as demand requires. Eventually, we will add as many as 40 new spaces,” Bandy said. Currently there are 60 tenants.

 “We will add our flavor,” Tom Gold said. “Paint, polish, make it look a little fresher. We take pride in our tenants, their energy and creativity. We will maintain the current economies,” Tom Gold said, “in terms of rent, to continue the venue’s appeal to the tenant base.” 

“We like to give them a place to do their thing,” Richard Gold added. 

“Rich and Tom are involved in the day to day, they’re not just investors,” said Bandy. “They take pride in what they do and they’re proud of the environments (they own).”

The Golds retained Ralph Barron who tenants regard as the heart and soul of the Hide House. He has provided maintenance services there since 2001. —Photo Katherine Keller

Regarded as the heart and soul of the Hide House by its tenants, the Golds retained Ralph Barron who has provided maintenance services in the complex since 2001. “We hired Ralph Barron because the tenants love him. He’s a great guy. Great smile. He knows the tenants and he knows the building,” Tom Gold said.

There were many challenges, Tom Gold said, including some environmental issues that needed to be remedied that prolonged the purchase process, stretching to a little more than three years.

“There was no contamination that was a danger to the tenants, but to close out a property with the DNR requires extensive documentation, committee approvals, and the like,” Strautmanis said.

Paul Grittner of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Division of Environmental Management, familiar with the remediation required at the Hide House, said the chief problem was contaminated soil surrounding the buildings, likely brought to the site in fill soil. Coal fired boilers once provided the buildings’ hot water heat and may also have contributed to the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) contamination. The remediation included capping an area behind one of the small buildings, adjacent to the main building, with a parking lot. Traces of hexavalent chromium were found in the basement of Building 2, on the west side of the complex. It was capped with a vinyl liner and gravel. 

First Federal Bank of Wisconsin, a Waukesha-based community bank, financed the purchase. 

“First Federal saw us as a community based project,” Tom Gold said, who praised its bankers Matthew Mancuso and David Rosenwald.

The Golds also shared their admiration for the seller. “You always hope for a deal partner like General Capital. They’re a class act. All were great to work with. Everyone was patient, generous, and good with each other,” said Tom Gold.

Reflecting on General Capital’s ownership decade, Strautmanis said, “I’m super proud that we were able to build on and improve the concept Gib Bathrick and his family started. We maintained a property that is truly unique to Milwaukee. For example, it is one of the only places where bands can rent space and rehearse. We kept that alive and cheap. I think that’s pretty cool. And I’m proud of Mary Abitz, our property manager, who dealt with the day-to-day operations. It took a lot of hand holding to keep tenants happy and living well together.”

When asked what he’d like to say to the Hide House tenants, he replied, “We’re really pleased to have found the right buyer for Hide House. One who intends to keep the spirit of the property intact and to promote the creative nature of the community. The fit could not have been better. For that, I’m grateful for a seamless hand off.”

General Capital retained four of its Hide House assets including the Hide House Lofts, apartments that it constructed in 2010, the lot that fronts the apartment building, and two more lots on Burrell St., one occupied by the Hide House Community Garden. —Photo Katherine Keller

The north end of the Hide House complex was demolished to make way for the
Hide House Lofts. —Photo Katherine Keller

General Capital retained four of its Hide House assets including the Hide House Lofts, apartments that it constructed in 2010, the lot that fronts the apartment building, and two more lots on Burrell St., one occupied by the Hide House Community Garden.

A number of factories have operated in the Hide House buildings since its first structure was built in the late 19th century. One manufactured metal bed frames and mattresses. Another was a tannery that made patent leather shoes and later, footwear for the U.S. military.

For more information about the history of the Hide House complex: bayviewcompass.com/the-hide-house-transformed-through-time/ and for a detailed history prepared by the Milwaukee Historic Preservation Commission: goo.gl/RTA8XJ

Disclosure: The Bay View Compass has been a Hide House tenant since 2008. Ten years ago the complex was virtually unknown, so much so that many visitors had difficulty finding it, in some cases, even long time Bay View residents. The Compass redubbed it The Hidden House. Today it is a far more common destination for those patronizing the photo, design, and artisan studios, gyms, salons, church, rehearsal space, etc., and it is highlighted on Google Maps.

image_pdfimage_printPrint
Copyright 2016 by Bay View Compass. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments

Comment on this Bay View Compass item.