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From power plant to media headquarters: Peek inside the Charter Communications campus

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 The exterior of two all-brick, four-story buildings with tall windows against a blue sky.
Bobby Tanzilo

Every week on Urban Spelunking, Radio Milwaukee’s Nate Imig and OnMilwaukee’s Bobby Tanzilo dig into the buildings and architectural features that help retain the city’s sense of history while it builds for the future.

This week, we visit a former downtown Milwaukee power plant, now home to Charter Communications, at 1320 N. King Dr. The original two-building complex was constructed in 1903 and added to over the years, as it generated electricity for the streetcar and downtown buildings.

As the city grew, it added bigger and more powerful plants, reducing the status of the downtown station to “standby” in 1969, meaning it would only power up when needed. By 1988, the plant closed permanently, and it sat vacant until 1999, when Time Warner Cable acquired the sprawling building and converted it to office space, adding floors and walls and reopening in 2001.

As the company changed and became Charter Communications, it added a television studio for Spectrum News 1, and it still has room to grow in the downtown campus.

On this week’s episode, Bobby and I talk about his recent trip to the Charter headquarters and how they adapted the building for a new and much different use. Listen to the episode above, and be sure to visit for a visual history of the power plant.

Director of Digital Content | Radio Milwaukee