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Tax Credits Fuel Adaptive Use Project

Copeland Service Station, Milwaukee

Copeland Service Station, Milwaukee - Before Restoration
Copeland Service Station, Milwaukee 
Before Restoration

The Copeland Service Station was designed in 1938 by Milwaukee architect Urban Peacock. Though Peacock was best known as a theater designer, even designing a gas station must have been welcome work during the bleak days of the Depression. For his design he turned, appropriately, to the Streamline Moderne style —  a style that evokes the speed of modern transportation by incorporating the horizontal lines and curving forms of streamlined vehicles.

Copeland Service Station, now the Sherman Perk, Milwaukee After Restoration
Copeland Service Station, Milwaukee,
now the Sherman Perk. After
Restoration

Although some doubted that a gas station could be "historic, one local resident never did. Cliff Lepke pushed for state and federal recognition of the station's historic significance, despite the fact that the abandoned gas station was in terrible disrepair, had leaking underground tanks, and had a $25,000 delinquent tax bill. Bob Olin came to the rescue by purchasing the building with plans to convert the station to a coffee shop.

The old interior service bays now serve as the coffee shop seating area.
The old interior service bays now
serve as the coffee shop seating
area.

To make his plan feasible, he put together a creative package of grants and income tax credits. From the city he received a site assessment grant, a facade improvement grant and a retail start-up grant. From the state Department of Commerce he obtained a brownfield cleanup grant. He also received preservation tax credits which allow him to deduct 25 percent of the project cost from his state and federal income taxes.

The new coffee shop, "Sherman Perk", named after the Sherman Park neighborhood in which it is located, is a successful restoration and conversion of the old gas station. It looks to be a successful business as well.

 


 

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