Miles Kimball building sold; new owners plan offices for tech firms

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The long-vacant Miles Kimball building on South Main Street has a new owner, which plans to renovate the top three floors for office space targeted at technology companies.

The new ownership group includes Oracular IS LLC. The Oshkosh technology consulting company plans to move from its current offices on Ohio Street to accommodate recent growth, said William Steiner, a commercial real estate developer who is the managing member of the new ownership group.

The bottom floor will be rented out for restaurant use and possibly shops, Steiner said. “On the rooftop we plan to create additional lounge/restauarant/café space.”

The structure, which sold for $220,000, was built in 1897 by August Streich & Brothers Wagon Co., according to the archives of the Oshkosh Public Museum. When Streich went out of business, the building was purchased by Miles Kimball, the catalog company that is now part of Silver Star Brands.

“It’s pretty interesting to have a building that’s 120 years old and had only two uses in its whole existence,” Steiner said. The interior “is really cool,” he said. “It has all the original wood timbers and beams exposed and the interior brick, Cream City brick.”

On the outside the plan is to scrub the current white façade and return it to its original Cream City coloring, which is typically a light yellow. A sealant will probably make the outside bricks slightly darker.

In part to comply with code requirements, the owners plan to add two exterior glass-and-steel shafts to house stairs and elevators. They also intend to add “a lot of windows” on the north and south walls.

“The goal is to combine the really cool historical features … with the new modern elements,” Steiner said. The elevator “towers are going to make it look exceptional,” he added. “The building will continue to be a landmark.”

He said the building will be marketed primarily to professional services firms in the technology sector. The name of the building is up in the air and could depend on the landing of a major tenant, Steiner said.

The vacant lot to the north of the building will be dedicated to parking.

The specifics of the development still have to be approved by the Plan Commission and the Common Council.

It’s likely that the city will look favorably on the development since it will add to the momentum that has been building in the Sawdust District.

Photo: The Miles Kimball building at 851 S. Main St.

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Miles Maguire

Miles Maguire is the author of Advanced Reporting: Essential Skills for 21st Century Journalism. He was the founding editor of the Oshkosh Community News Network, a nonprofit online news organization whose work was cited as a notable innovation in journalism in the 2005 Knight-Batten Awards. Send questions, comments and suggestions to miles.maguire@yahoo.com.

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