APPLETON (NBC 26) — The Zuelke Building, a historic landmark that’s towered over downtown Appleton since 1931, has undergone a stunning transformation from an office building to an apartment complex.
“He watched every brick fall into place, every wall constructed from footer all the way to the building being opened himself personally,” said Cremer, referring to Irving Zuelke.
Irving Zuelke watched his tower being built from the ground up after the original building burnt down in a fire. The fire led to the use of marble and concrete in the interior, which Zuelke hoped would prevent such a disaster from happening again.
If you’re not captivated by the building’s exterior, Cremer thinks you will be once stepping inside.
“The wow factor of walking in there and seeing the big Gothic light fixtures and two-story marble, I think is so cool,” said Cremer.
Preserving the history of the building was a top priority for Tegethoff Development, and they said that it came with challenges.
“We went to very painstaking lengths to preserve all of the marble. If there was a marble floor that we discovered or was under five layers of carpet glue from the past 70 years we took all the adhesive off and had a company to polish the marble and seal it so it's back to how it I think it was originally,” said Cremer.
The Zuelke Building was an office building for decades, and it holds memories for people who have lived in the area. Perry Vanderloop, the owner of Joseph's Shoes across the street, remembers getting haircuts and going to the orthodontist in the building when he was a teenager.
“I mean it’s a landmark, when people ask where our store is, it’s always: across from the Zuelke building,” said Vanderloop.
Tegethoff Development fell in love with the Zuelke Building and wanted to take advantage of the materials used in the 1930s construction.
“Obviously, you know, we could never afford to use the brass and bronze and marble that they did back in the 30s when it was built. So, we wanted to be able to take advantage of that,” said Cremer.
The project took 26 months to complete, and the developers are excited to talk to tenants and see their reactions to the finished product. The 12 floors of the Zuelke Building hold 66 units, a business center, gym, golf simulator, and many other amenities.
“It’s going to be really neat to see this come to fruition and just how Downtown Appleton will be in the next three years, I think it’s going to keep building, there’s a great momentum that’s going on,” said Vanderloop.
The walls of the Zuelke Building hold more than 90 years of history, and everyone who had a hand in the renovation process is looking forward to many more. The official grand opening of the Residences at Zuelke is on May 8th.