Major project eyed for Essen Haus block

McGrath Property Group is proposing a major redevelopment for the Essen Haus block on E. Wilson Street that, at least in early plans, could give the boot to the city’s most famous German establishment, according to a Wisconsin State Journal report.

The developer already has a contract with Robert Worm, who owns the Essen Haus, Come Back In, Up North Bar, Hotel Ruby Marie, and the Lakeview Bakery & Deli, as well as a parking lot and four houses on Blair Street, to purchase three of Worm’s properties — including the Essen Haus and Come Back In. McGrath wants to turn much of the block into a mixed-use development with ground-floor commercial and 250 apartment units.

Worm’s other properties, including the Hotel Ruby Marie, are not in the development plans, nor are two empty lots (formerly the site of O’Cayz Corral and Cay’z Comic Strip) at the other end of the block.