Lot to be dug up but other brewpub work still on hold

While site will be prepared this month, construction won’t begin until March because of supply issues, Inventors owner says

BARRICADES HAVE BEEN set up at the entrances to the north marina parking lot as preparations begin for construction of Inventors Brewpub. Photo by Bill Schanen IV
Ozaukee Press staff


Ozaukee Press staff

Port Washington’s north marina parking lot, which has been the source of controversy as development options have been considered over much of the last decade, is no longer open to the public.

Gertjen van den Broek, whose TBF Development is building the new Inventors Brewpub on the site, recently blocked off the lot to accommodate preconstruction work.

The building had been projected to open by summer, but Inventors owner Adam Draeger said last week that delays in obtaining needed supplies means construction will likely begin in earnest in spring and be completed by the end of 2023.

The parking lot was recently barricaded at the request of his general contractor, Draeger said, but it won’t be until at least mid-December that crews scrape the asphalt and dig pre-foundation holes, a project he said will likely take about a week.

Then, he said, the process will again stop until at least March before picking up again.

“We’re deliberately doing some work, then stopping,” Draeger said.

The parking lot was cordoned off because when vehicles drive there, it compresses the soil and hastens freezing. They don’t want the ground to freeze because they want to do the pre-foundation digging.

Although van den Broek said this summer that they hoped to pour the foundations this fall and erect the steel frame during winter, Draeger said supply chain issues will prevent that from happening.

“It’s a hurry up and wait situation,” Draeger said.

There are long lead times for things like steel and electrical switching, he said. The lead time for the electrical switching, he noted, is 40 weeks — less than the 60 weeks when supply chain issues were at their worst, but still significantly longer than they once were.

“It doesn’t make sense to keep going (with construction) if we don’t have some parts,” Draeger said.

“Our general contractor told us, it’s going to be a little action, hurry up and wait some, then start up again.”

The delays mean that construction will be in full swing throughout the summer. Staging for construction is likely to take up about six spots in the marina parking lot, but Harbormaster Dennis Cherny said he’s not concerned it will impact marina operations.

“With Newport Shores being finished, that will free up more parking that we didn’t have last year,” he said. “I’m not worried. I don’t think there will be a big impact.”

Parking for marina tenants was never an issue, he said, and there’s some overflow parking for boaters near the bandshell in Veterans Park.

The south side of Washington Street will be closed to accommodate construction, and parking on the north side of the street will be prohibited to allow two-way traffic on the street.

Draeger said that steps will be taken to ensure access to the harborwalk through much of the 11-month construction period.

“We really want to protect that,” he said.

While many people would be frustrated with the delays in the project, Draeger said he is excited by the promise of the work.

“I’ve been excited since we announced this on Dec. 31 (2021),” he said. “I think we can draw a significant number of people from Milwaukee and hold a lot of events that people will enjoy.

“I will be able to keep my flagship beers on all the time. There are a couple things that are not going to be the same, but change is great. This is great. It’s going to bring us to the next level.”

The construction of Inventors is the final stage of a controversy that split the community after officials decided to sell the lakefront parking lot for development.

The 27,700-square-foot Inventors Brewpub will include a 10-barrel craft brewery, restaurant with 240 seats and a 250-seat event space with an additional 80 seats on the mezzanine level.

It is expected to increase the value of the property by at least $5.8 million.


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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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Port Washington, WI 53074
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