City Lights (aka Zimmerman Architectural Studios)

A former utilities site and historic landmark is restored to its former architectural splendor. The $14.2 million project was one of several redevelopments in the Menomonee Valley transforming old-line industrial buildings into modern working spaces.

A former railroad and utilities site that dated back to the turn of the century had many issues that needed to be remediated before it could become a functional space again. the 1903 building, designed by Alexander Eschweiler, held furnaces that turned coal into gas. The gas was then distributed throughout Milwaukee, providing gas for home lights and street lamps. The building’s furnaces were shut down in the 1950s and the interior spaces contained decades of grime, soot and bird droppings.

The good management and leadership of Balestrieri’s superintendents helped restore the building to its original architectural splendor while following governmental regulatory standards. The large red brick building featured high ceilings and large windows that were preserved as part of the renovation. The challenging site contained one of the largest transite roof panel projects in the Milwaukee area. City Lights’ tenants included Zimmerman Architectural Studios, 4 Seasons, and Spolar Studio. the Hollywood production of “Public Enemies” also used part of the complex tp store props during production of the movie.