US

Milwaukee developers lead Cream City comeback, put signature old bricks into new construction

  • This Sept. 3, 2015 photo shows the former Pabst bottling plant, both built with Cream City bricks, under renovation in Milawukee. The left building, with cleaned bricks, shows a prized find for developers inclined to clear away decades dark stain from buildings revealing  Milwaukee’s once-forgotten signature. (AP Photo/Greg Moore)

    This Sept. 3, 2015 photo shows the former Pabst bottling plant, both built with Cream City bricks, under renovation in Milawukee. The left building, with cleaned bricks, shows a prized find for developers inclined to clear away decades dark stain from buildings revealing Milwaukee’s once-forgotten signature. (AP Photo/Greg Moore)  (The Associated Press)

  • This Sept. 3, 2015 photo shows a building build with half-cleaned Cream City brick, left, and a more common red brick building, right. Cream City bricks are a prized find for developers inclined to clear away decades dark stain from buildings revealing Milwaukee’s once-forgotten signature, Cream City brick, which has made a comeback.  (AP Photo/Greg Moore)

    This Sept. 3, 2015 photo shows a building build with half-cleaned Cream City brick, left, and a more common red brick building, right. Cream City bricks are a prized find for developers inclined to clear away decades dark stain from buildings revealing Milwaukee’s once-forgotten signature, Cream City brick, which has made a comeback. (AP Photo/Greg Moore)  (The Associated Press)

It's in swanky new condos and historic old buildings, a focal point in both construction and renovation: Milwaukee's once-forgotten signature, Cream City brick, has made a comeback.

For decades, Cream City brick buildings were neglected, stained black from pollution and torn down with little regard. Today, prompted by developers inclined to work with old materials, Cream City brick is a prized find.

The overwhelming majority of old bricks have been lost through demolition, but those that remain are increasingly on display as developers seek to reduce waste and tie new projects in with the past.

Firms such as Continuum Architects and Planners have been working on renovation projects that include cleaning dingy old bricks.

And Zilber Ltd. has been transforming an old brewery into dorms featuring Cream City brick throughout.