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Historic Brush Park mansion to be saved, converted into eight apartment units

The home from 1911 has been abandoned for years and will cost around $1.8 million to restore

A living room and kitchen in an open floor plan. There’s a white-cushioned couch, small wood coffee table, and long wood table against a wall with a painting above it. There’s some exposed brick above the couch.
Rendering of a unit at 304 Erskine Street.
studiozONE, LLC / Integrity Building Group

A historic mansion in Brush Park, which somehow never faced the wrecking ball, will soon be brought back to life.

Method Development announced this week that it’s redeveloping the 8,000-square-foot mansion at 304 Erskine Street into eight apartment units. The total cost of the project is an estimated $1.8 million.

“This is a passion project for us,” Amelia Patt Zamir, cofounder of Method Development, said in a release. “We worked hard during the design process to maximize every square inch of space and to build something truly special while maintaining the home’s historic characteristics.”

The breakdown for the eight apartments on Erskine will be…

  • Two studio apartments, approximately 630-730 square feet
  • Four one-bedroom apartments, approximately 640-710 square feet
  • Two two-bedroom apartments, approximately 970-1,130 square feet

Six apartments will be available at market rate (ranging from $1,400-$2,300 a month); two will be affordable units for renters making 80 percent of the area median income, or around $45,000 per year.

Construction has already begun and is expected to be completed by summer 2020.

A two-story brick home with boarded up windows. There’s extensive fire damage and the porch has collapsed.
The Erskine mansion prior to construction.
Method Development

The project will utilize Opportunity Zone tax deferments for investors working in “distressed communities” made possible through 2017 federal legislation. Because it’s rehabbing a historic building, Method also secured a predevelopment loan from the Michigan Historic Preservation Network.

The mansion on Erskine dates back to 1911. Method says that city records show it was originally a two-family home and one of the last built in the neighborhood.

Brush Park had seen decades of decline beginning in the 1960s and many of the neighborhood’s historic homes were demolished. The Erskine mansion was abandoned sometime in the late 1970s, eventually caught fire, and was itself slated for demolition according to the Brush Park Preservation Society. Somehow it was spared.

Zamir says that Method plans to preserve as much historic details as possible.

All the exterior brick will remain intact and reinforced where necessary, and some of the units will have exposed brick on the interior walls. Method salvaged the corbels, and will restore and then reinstall them on the new roof. The exterior porches that collapsed in the early 2000s will be recreated. And tile from the three fireplaces was also salvaged and will be repaired where possible.

Zamir founded Method with Rakesh “Rocky” Lala in 2014. Earlier this year, they announced a $20 million redevelopment of five buildings in Milwaukee Junction.