City of Hartford receives $159,000 state grant to support redevelopment of historic riverfront building

Investment from WEDC to help finance the opening of a tap and an outdoor patio

HARTFORD, WI. JUNE 17, 2022 – The City of Hartford is receiving a $159,000 state grant to help open Brewed Omen, a faucet located on the lower level of the historic Millstream Building. The tap is designed to be a charming and attractive place to continue the trend of redevelopment in downtown Hartford.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Community Development Capital Grant will support renovations to the lower level of the Millstream Building. Electrical, HVAC and bathroom work will help convert the 2,600 square foot space to Brewed Omen, which will also feature an outdoor patio overlooking the Rubicon River.

The taphouse will primarily offer beers unavailable in local stores, all of which will be brewed within two hours of Hartford. Hartford currently does not have a brewery or taphouse in its downtown core. Brewed Omen plans to add eight employees, including at least one full-time, over the next three years.

“A taphouse like Brewed Omen should serve as an attractive gathering place for residents and visitors to Hartford,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s premier economic development organization. “We are proud to support this project as it is expected to provide immense economic and cultural value to downtown Hartford.

Bill and Ane Ohm purchased the Millstream Building in 2020 because Ane Ohm needed new space for her business, Staffing Support Specialists. It now occupies one of the office spaces on the second level of the building.

The City of Hartford identified the need for a downtown faucet, so the Ohms decided to use the unoccupied lower level of the Millstream Building.

“It was something we wanted to implement,” Bill Ohm said. “We were aware of the city’s vision, and then the opportunity arose when my wife’s business had to move.

“We identified this particular use in this particular building because of its location on the river and its ability to have outdoor space, which we really don’t have anywhere else in the city,” said Justin Drew, director of Hartford Community Development.

A staple of downtown Hartford since 1886, the Millstream Building has been used for meat storage, indoor golf, funerals and other purposes. It was for sale and needed maintenance for years before the Ohms bought it in 2020 and started renovating it. The upper level now houses the Staffing Support Specialists and the Hartford Area Development Corporation, while the main level has two retail spaces.

“The success of recent building redevelopments, but especially Ohm’s, may inspire others to look at available downtown properties in a new way and see the possibilities, where they may have mostly seen challenges before,” Drew said. “Our vacancy rate is one of the lowest in over a decade, so downtown is definitely moving in the right direction and this project is an important part of that.”

WEDC’s Community Development Investment Grant Program supports community development and redevelopment efforts, primarily in inner cities. Matching grants are awarded based on applicants’ ability to demonstrate the economic impact of the proposed project, including the development of public and private partnerships, financial need, and the use of sustainable downtown development practices.

“WEDC’s grant was essential to our funding,” Ohm said. “I don’t think we would have continued without it.”

Since the program’s inception in 2013 through March, WEDC has awarded nearly $34.8 million in CDI grants to 166 communities for projects that are expected to generate more than $517 million in capital investment across the country. State.

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