The Colby-Abbot Building, located in the heart of East Town, was built in 1885 as the home office of the Wisconsin Central Railroad. Using white marble imported from Italy and featuring wide corridors and bay windows, this five-story structure was, and continues to be, a magnificent addition to Milwaukee’s skyline. The sixth story was added at the turn of the century to meet the need for commercial office space in Milwaukee’s growing economy.
Gustave E. Kahn, a world-renowned structural engineer, and two partners purchased the Colby-Abbot Building in 1926 and converted it to a multi-tenant building. He soon developed a reputation for excellence in service to tenants and his son, Charles Kahn, Sr., followed this tradition into the 1990s. They reinvested in and upgraded the facility continuously throughout the years.
In 1998, Patti Keating Kahn and her husband purchased the Colby Abbot Building and are now its sole owners. Architectural plans are in the works for several major upgrades including remodeling the lobby and elevator cabs.
Another important component of the Colby Abbot historic complex is the Colby Abbot Building Garage which was built in the 1880’s as the Boynton Paradise Livery and converted for cars in the 1920’s. This indoor, valet parking garage located next door at 767 North Milwaukee Street offers tenants of the building low monthly parking rates, guaranteed availability and reasonable hourly rates for their guests and clients. Plans are in the works to install a multi-bike corral on the sidewalk on Milwaukee Street.
One of the Colby Abbot Building Team members will give a brief presentation on the history and current use of the building in the lobby at regular intervals. After the presentation, visitors will be encouraged to visit the shared tenant conference room on the 4th floor and one open office to see the original cream city brick fireplaces, 11-foot high, ornamental, wood-coffered ceilings, plaster walls, marble lobby, stairway and corridors as well as various modern features.