Former Riverwest tannery to reopen as creative workspace

Former Riverwest tannery to reopen as creative workspace

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Plans are advancing to create a “creative district” on Fratney Street in Riverwest, thanks to a new development. Look for new artist studios and an event venue opening in 2020.

The plans center around a pair of buildings near the intersection of Fratney Street and Vienna Avenue. One building is a former tannery, and the other used to be a foundry.

The 52,000 sq. foot former tannery, 3738 N. Fratney St., is being converted to a shared workspace for artists, creatives and makers. Meanwhile, the old foundry — branded as the Goat Palace — is actively being developed into an event and entertainment venue.

You may have already noticed a massive difference passing the tannery building. Its exterior was covered with white sheet metal until recently, obscuring beautiful brickwork and ample windows.

The tannery building “before.” Photo: Jon Krouse via OnMilwaukee.
And “after.” Photo: Jon Krouse via OnMilwaukee.

That metal has been removed in preparation of the remodeling efforts, and the exterior transformation alone is worth checking out if you’re passing through the neighborhood.

This week on Urban Spelunking, OnMilwaukee’s Bobby Tanzilo fills us in on the plans to drive the new creative distract forward.

A look inside the tannery building. Photo: Bobby Tanzilo / OnMilwaukee.
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