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Take a look inside the new Journal Commons apartment building

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel occupied the building for nearly 100 years before moving.
Posted at 7:47 PM, Nov 16, 2022

MILWAUKEE — For almost 100 years, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel building was buzzing with reporters, writers, and editors rushing to make a deadline before the paper went to press. Now, that same building is buzzing with another kind of person, young professionals.

As of Nov. 15, the building officially opened as the Journal Commons.

"Journal Commons is really designed to sort of meet the need of what we call the market for the young professional. So this building is really designed to be affordable for the 20-something or early 30s young professional living downtown in this area," Scott Schwebel, the chief marketing officer for J Jeffers and Company, the development firm that renovated the building.

Journal Commons
The kitchen and living room for apartment 204. The construction company said there is no standard floor plan since many of the units are different.

Turning the old newsroom into an apartment complex cost about $35 million. Now, editor suites, offices, and boardrooms have been replaced by lounges and co-working spaces. J Jeffers and Company did their best to maintain the historic integrity of the building. The walls, windows, and floors are the same or designed to look the same according to historic preservation guidelines.

Journal Commons
Alternate view of the kitchen and living room in apartment 204.

However, it definitely isn't an open-floor newsroom anymore. They had to add new walls and plumbing to make 141 units inside the building. Since this is a historic building, Schwebel said that there isn't one standard floor plan. In fact, the Journal Common website lists 27 different floor plans. Apartment prices range from $1,100 to $1,900.

"One of the biggest changes is when we walked Journal Sentinel employees through like, 'I don’t even understand where I am.' Because you used to walk in and it was a wide open floor. We’ve now turned them into apartments, so there's walls and doors where there weren’t," Schwebel said.

Journal Commons
Old editing rooms were turned into lounge and co-working spaces.

The building is gaining interest. Multiple people already started moving in before the official ribbon-cutting ceremony.

"We have 20 units currently leased, and that’s fantastic for the building just going online," Schwebel said.

Journal Commons
The upstairs lounge area which used to be offices for upper management.

During renovations, the development company stumbled upon hidden gems that were forgotten about or left behind while the Journal Sentinel was moving out. Some of the items are the ledger, old journalism awards, and newspapers.

To get more info about Journal Commons or view listings, go to their website.

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