MILWAUKEE -- A neighborhood group on the city's near west side has secured funding to buy the land that once housed a store labeled as a nuisance property. On top of that, the group is eyeing more additional property in the area.
The nuisance property was located near 27th and Kilbourn. The group, Near West Side Partners, was also approved this week for a loan that would also allow for the purchase of the Leprechaun Lounge near 27th and Wisconsin. The bar's owner, Mike Silber, said a deal has been in the works for some time.
For more than 50 years, the Leprechaun Lounge has stood near 27th and Wisconsin. Inside the building, the bar counter and pool table show their age.
Owner Mike Silber confirmed Thursday, October 12th the lounge's days are numbered.
"Oh yeah. We've talked to them," Silber said, "This has been ongoing in the neighborhood for at least five years."
Silber was referring to the Near West Side Partners, approved for a $350,000 loan to buy the Wisconsin Avenue property.
The group's director, Keith Stanley, declined to comment on any specific location. Stanley said the group is still developing a comprehensive plan that focuses on six intersections:
- 27th and Wisconsin, SW, NE corners
- 27th and Wells, NW corner
- 35th and Wisconsin, SW corner
- 35th and State, all four corners
- 35th and Vliet, SW corner
"They're pretty closed-mouthed about the whole thing," Silber said, "They haven't said -- all they have said is that they don't know or have exact plans for what they're gonna do with the property."
With vacant buildings on either side of the bar, Silber said he imagines the block will become part of a large development. ear West Side Partners are reportedly interested in buying the former tobacco store at 27th and Kilbourn. The business was deemed a nuisance property and shut down early last year amid allegations the store housed drug dealing and other illegal activities.
Those who live nearby said they'd like to see a new business with better offerings.
"Household stuff, dish-washing liquid, air fresheners -- stuff like that because they ain't have none of that," Nathaniel Triplett, who lives in the area said.
Silber said while he'll be sad to leave, he's optimistic for the neighborhood.
"Is this kind of a takeover? It is, kind of, but I'm not gonna stand in the way. This is bigger business than we are," Silber said.
Silber said he plans to keep the bar open through the end of 2017. Another change coming to the intersection is the former Wisconsin Avenue School will be converted to the Ambassador Suites, connected to the nearby Ambassador Hotel.