Work to bring Boerner Mercantile Building back to life nearly complete
Much of the facade work on the Boerner Mercantile Building is being completed. The parking lot is paved. And even as work continues inside, tenants are preparing to move in.
The refurbished building at 211 N. Franklin St. is coming back to life, less than a year after Port native Daniel Ewig and his wife Marie-Anne purchased it.
“What’s exciting for me is making this old building relevant again,” Ewig said Friday as he surveyed the work.
Most of the building has been leased, he said. Occupancy will be done in phases, with the first tenants opening their doors Sept. 1 and the last Nov. 1.
An open house is expected to be held in mid-September, Ewig said.
The facade is very close to complete, he said. The columns and decorative trim in the front of the building are freshly painted, and burgundy canopies still must be installed, but that’s the bulk of the remaining work.
Inside the building, miles of conduit, ductwork and pipes have been installed as crews have largely gutted the interior and renovated it.
Many of the windows have been enlarged, creating a bright, light-filled atmosphere.
The interior offers a mix of old and new, with the original maple floors and pine tongue-and-groove ceilings restored and the brick walls exposed, but new construction is used to separate and define the office and retail areas.
The sprinkler system and stair stringers are the only other remnants of the old structure.
While much of the building infrastructure is completed — work most people will never see because it’s hidden behind walls and ceilings — crews are continuing to do the finish work, preparing the structure for its tenants.
On the first floor, the front entryway has been moved to the center of the building and crews are working to create the grand entrance.
“This will be the focal point for the building,” Ewig said.
When entering, people will be able to access a staircase leading to the upper two floors or enter retail spaces on either side. One of the two spaces has been leased and is expected to open Oct. 1, Ewig said, and he is still seeking a tenant for the other.
Half the second floor will be home to a financial advisory firm, while the other half will house Boerner Mercantile Studios — a series of 12 offices with shared reception and conference rooms, as well as a two-desk flexible work space.
“We supply everything, from furniture to data collection,” Ewig said.
Eleven of the offices have already been rented to, among others, an architect, interior designer, accountant and mortgage sales firm.
The second-floor tenants are expected to open their doors Sept. 1.
The third floor of the building is being leased to one firm, which is expected to move in by Nov. 1.
“We have nice, solid tenants,” he said.
Work is also continuing on the outside of the building. The parking lot adjacent to the back of the Boerner building was paved last week, and work on a lot being created on the north side of Washington Street once occupied by the M&I Bank drive-through facility is expected to be done this fall.
Image Information: THE BOERNER MERCANTILE BUILDING at 211 N. Franklin St. has undergone significant changes throughout its life. The newly renovated building (bottom photo) resembles its former incarnation as the home to Badger Outerwear (top) but bears little resemblance to its years as Lueptow’s Furniture. Top photo by Sam Arendt