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Old and new coming together | Another $37 million in new construction for Historic Horlick District
Dee Holzel / DEE HÖLZEL, 

CG Schmidt held a groundbreaking ceremony on the morning of April 7 at the Historic Racine Horlick Malted Milk Complex’s 2200 building to celebrate the start of work.  In this photo, from left: Brent McClure, vice president of development at J. Jeffers & Company; Dan Chovanec, vice president at CG Schmidt; Josh Jeffers, president and CEO of J. Jeffers & Company; Racine Mayor Cory Mason; Racine Alderman Natalia Taft; Racine City Council President John Tate II; and Jen Davel, Heritage Consulting Group.

RACINE — Some people like historic renovation, some like modern construction. There may be something for both tastes at the Historic Horlick District complex.

J. Jeffers & Company recently announced Phase III of construction at Horlick, which will represent approximately $37 million in new construction.

The company intends to build two new buildings for 160 new apartment units that will be rented at market rates.

The company purchased the property on the Horlick grounds in January. Currently, there is a self-storage building on the property that will be demolished.

J. Jeffers is in the process of concluding the renovation of 2100 Northwestern Avenue and is about to begin the renovation of 2200 Northwestern Ave.

Josh Jeffers, president and CEO of J. Jeffers & Company, said the project was part of the $100 million in construction planned for the property.

‘Old World’ and new construction

There is a certain art to building something new in a historic district.


“It represents an interesting challenge for us, J. Jeffers and Company, because we want to deliver a new product that is — hopefully — distinctly modern,” Jeffers said.

He added, “We want to build a new building, but at the same time, we want it to blend in seamlessly with the surrounding historic buildings within the district.”

Although the company specializes in historic rehabilitation, they have also done a fair amount of new construction, he explained.

“It’s just the new construction work that we typically do is in scenarios exactly like this where it’s new construction within a historic district where we’re blending the new with the old, so to speak,” Jeffers said.

The company practices multiple strategies for mingling new construction with the historic, including attention to scale, materials, and sightlines.

One of the important things, Jeffers explained, is to “ensure that the overall mass of the buildings is in keeping with the scale of the other historic buildings.”


The redevelopment of the 10-building, 13-acre former Horlick Malted Milk Co. campus as the Horlick District includes the conversion of three interconnected, circa 1902-07 Gothic Revival-styled factory buildings at 2100 Northwestern Ave., Racine, into 12 market-rate and 48 affordable housing units. The estimated price tag from Milwaukee developer J. Jeffers & Company is $12 million for Phase I.

Additionally, the company uses what Jeffers described as “Old World” building materials, such as stone, masonry, and brick.

“These types of materials that don’t really get used as often as they were used 100 years ago,” he said.

Jeffers said people sometimes wonder why they don’t just build their projects to look like historic reproductions — something that looks like the 2100 or 2200 buildings. He explained that step would not be in keeping with the standards set by the National Park Service, which oversees the National Register of Historic places, and sets the standards for historic preservation.

“The philosophy is you don’t want to build a new building that’s going to compete with the historic authenticity of the original buildings on the site,” Jeffers said.

In addition to carefully considering scale and the use of old world materials, the project will also take sightlines into consideration; sightlines are the hypothetical lines between the observer and what can be seen.

For example, Jeffers explained it was important to have the windows line up with the window line from neighboring buildings.

But there are also other sightline considerations. For example, from Northwestern Avenue, people will see the new construction and the historic buildings in the background, so it is important to integrate the new construction with the historic, Jeffers added.

Lastly, there is a significant deal of sight work going into the landscaping: a lot of trees, street trees, planter boxes, and salvaged pavers, in order to create a walkable, urban environment.

VIDEOS AND PHOTOS from our hard hat tour of the ambitious project to reinvigorate the historic Horlick District

Police fatally shoot gunman who killed 2 at Wisconsin casino

ASHWAUBENON — Tribal leaders in Green Bay were in shock Sunday, hours after a gunman opened fire at a their casino complex, killing two people and wounding another in what witnesses described as a hailstorm of bullets.

Brown County Sheriff’s Lt. Kevin Pawlak said the shooting at the Oneida Casino in Green Bay on Saturday night didn’t appear to be a random attack.

“He was targeting a specific victim who was not there, but he decided to still shoot some of the victim’s friends or co-workers, it appears,” Pawlak said at a news conference early Sunday. Police responding to the scene shot the gunman to death.

Oneida Chairman Tehassi Hill told WLUK-TV on Sunday that he was in “disbelief” and called the shooting “scary.” He said the tribe prohibits firearms on its properties but that “(mass shootings are) kind of a regular thing in this country.”

Authorities have not released the identities of the gunman or his victims. The wounded person was being treated at a Milwaukee hospital, Pawlak said.

The attack happened at about 7:30 p.m. in the restaurant at the casino complex operated by the Oneida Nation, whose reservation is located just west of Green Bay about 4 miles from Lambeau Field. The complex includes a casino, conference center, hotel and restaurant.

Jawad Yatim, a witness, said he saw at least two people shot.

“I know for sure two, because it happened right next to us, literally right next to us,” Yatim said. “But he was shooting pretty aggressively in the building, so I wouldn’t doubt him hitting other people. We got the hell out of there. Thank God we’re OK, but obviously we wish the best for everybody who’s been shot.”

Pawlak, the sheriff’s department lieutenant, wasn’t sure if the shooter was a former restaurant employee but said “it appears there’s some relationship that had to do with employment.”

“Whether or not they all worked there, we’re still working on,” he said.

Gambler Max Westphal said he was standing outside after being evacuated from the building for what he thought was a minor issue.

“All of a sudden we hear a massive flurry of gunshots — 20 to 30 gunshots for sure,” Westphal told WBAY-TV. “We took off running towards the highway. … There had to have been 50 cop cars that came by on the highway. It was, honestly, insane.”

Pawlak said authorities called for a “tactical alert” after receiving the report of an active shooter. That “brings every agency from around the area to the casino, to the Radisson,” he said of the large law enforcement presence.

Hill, the tribal chairman, told WLUK-TV that he feels security is tight in the casino but that the tribe may have to consider tougher protocols for the complex depending on investigators’ findings.

Gov. Tony Evers issued a statement late Saturday saying he was “devastated” to hear about the shooting.

“Our hearts, thoughts, and support go out to the Oneida Nation, the Ashwaubenon and Green Bay communities, and all those affected by this tragedy.”

Evers, a Democrat, called a special legislative session on gun control in the fall of 2019. He proposed a so-called “red flag” law that would have allowed judges to take guns away from peopled deemed to be a danger, and a bill requiring a background check for almost all gun purchases. Republicans who control the Legislature refused to consider either measure.

Sen. Rob Cowles, a Republican who represents the Green Bay area, issued a statement saying the community has suffered a “traumatic event.”

“My heart goes out to those impacted by the shooting, to the Oneida Nation and to all of Northeast Wisconsin as we continue coping with this senseless violence,” he said. “Those victims and families of those killed and injured will remain in my thoughts and prayers.”

The Oneida is one of 11 tribes that operate casinos in Wisconsin under agreements with the state called compacts. Essentially, the tribes pledge a percentage of their gaming revenue to the state in exchange for the exclusive right to offer casino gambling.

Tribal gaming in Wisconsin generated nearly $1.3 billion in gross revenue in the 2018-2019 fiscal year but suffered deep losses in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.

topical alert
Republican leaders push back on Biden's assertions of 'systemic racism' in America

President Joe Biden speaks April 14 from the Treaty Room in the White House about the planned withdrawal of the remainder of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. The final phase of ending America's action in Afghanistan after 20 years formally began Saturday.

Republican leaders in Wisconsin and elsewhere are assailing President Joe Biden on the Democrat’s repeated assertions of systemic racism in America, particularly after it was a focus of his address on Wednesday before a joint session of Congress after 100 days in office.



NAACP national President and CEO Derrick Johnson called out what he said was "levels of racism germinating" from the White House under President Donald Trump, and made other accusations of the president during a speech in October 2018 at Delta Hotels by Marriott Racine, 7111 Washington Ave.

As reported by USA Today last summer, NAACP President Derrick Johnson “defined systemic racism, also called structural racism or institutional racism, as ‘systems and structures that have procedures or processes that disadvantages African Americans,’ ” although the definition is usually broadened to include all people of color in the U.S.

The City of Toronto defines systemic racism as follows: “Systemic racism includes the policies and practices entrenched in established institutions, which result in the exclusion or promotion of designated groups. It differs from overt discrimination in that no individual intent is necessary.”

According to TODAY, systemic racism “describes how discriminatory actions show up in the American educational system, the economic system, the health care system, the criminal justice system and more. It’s when individual attitudes of prejudice and bigotry are baked into the operations of cultural institutions.” TODAY quoted Dr. Crystal Fleming, an associate professor at Stony Brook University who authored “How To Be Less Stupid About Race,” in which she wrote: “The consequences of systemic racism are vast — from the burgeoning racial wealth gap, political disenfranchisement, mass incarceration and racist immigration policies to microaggressions, racial profiling, racist media imagery and disparities in health, education, employment and housing.”

Advocates have pointed to disparities in outcomes based on race in health, income and in the courtroom as evidence of systemic racism, the result of redlining and other systematic practices in the U.S. that have historically divided people along racial lines.

Several Wisconsin cities and organizations — including Milwaukee, Green Bay, Cudahy, Madison, Appleton the Population Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Advocate Aurora Health Care — have declared racism to be a “public health crisis” for these reasons and others, such as how black and Latino children in Wisconsin are much more likely to be reared in a home with lead pipes than white children.


Biden addressing systemic racism as he did Wednesday is nothing new. He was the first president to use the words in his inaugural address.

The narrative hasn’t sat well with many Americans, particularly conservatives, pointing to America’s advances on race relations since the abolition of slavery during and after the Civil War and the passage of The Civil Rights Act in 1964 to address Jim Crow laws that had enforced racial segregation.


Without directly addressing whether systemic racism is a real problem, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., claimed that Biden’s statements are further dividing Americans. In a statement after Wednesday’s speech, Johnson wrote: “He (Biden) has declared that America is systemically racist and needs to be ‘fundamentally transformed.’ That type of rhetoric sows division and discord and leads me to ask: Can anyone even like, much less love, something they want to fundamentally transform?

“While it’s not perfect, I believe America is the greatest nation in the history of mankind. We are a nation with problems to fix, not a country that needs a complete overhaul. I wish President Biden shared that belief and would work with those of us who truly love America to address the serious issues we do face.”


Asked Thursday if he believes systemic racism exists and is a problem that needs to continue to be addressed, U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wis., told The Journal Times: “I do not believe America is an inherently racist country, but I’m well aware that some people have a very tough hand of cards dealt to them in life. That’s why I believe we need to make sure folks have opportunity to find that success.

“That’s why I’m a strong believer in School Choice, which gives individuals a hand up regardless of the ZIP code they’re born into. It’s one of the reasons I’ve been so vocal about schools not being open for in-person learning because it has a detrimental impact on some of our most vulnerable in our community.”


Part of Steil’s statement is an echo of what Vice President Kamala Harris told “Good Morning America” on Thursday: “No, I don’t think America is a racist country but we also do have to speak truth about the history of racism in our country.”


Steil pointed to the official GOP rebuttal to Biden’s speech on Wednesday night, delivered by U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., the only African American Republican in the Senate, who proudly tells the story of how his family went “from cotton to Congress in one lifetime.”

In his address, Scott said: “When America comes together, we’ve made tremendous progress. But powerful forces want to pull us apart. A hundred years ago, kids in classrooms were taught the color of their skin was their most important characteristic — and if they looked a certain way, they were inferior. Today, kids again are being taught that the color of their skin defines them — and if they look a certain way, they’re an oppressor.

“Race is not a political weapon to settle every issue the way one side wants. It’s too important … Why do we feel so divided and anxious? A nation with so much cause for hope should not feel so heavy-laden. A President who promised to bring us together should not push agendas that tear us apart. The American family deserves better.”

In PHOTOS and VIDEOS: A November 2020 anti-racism demonstration and car caravan in Burlington