The Kinn features a community gathering space for guests
of the eight-room micro-hotel.
MILWAUKEE — Before
arriving in the Milwaukee area three years ago, Charles
and Connie Bailey called Chicago home.
Earlier this year,
they brought a cosmopolitan sensibility reminiscent of
the Windy City to one of the many historic buildings
dotting Kinnickinnic Avenue.
The end result,
after a year of extensive renovations, is the Kinn, an
11,500-square-foot, eight-room boutique hotel at 2535 S.
Kinnickinnic Ave. The Down and Over Pub previously
occupied the building, which has roots going back
“We love old, unique
buildings, and that’s what this is,” Connie said. “We’re
on the highest point in this neighborhood.”
While much of the
historic building’s exterior remains intact, a complete
overhaul of the interior has taken place. The goal,
Connie said, is to intermingle the deep history of the
surrounding area and give it a modern touch.
“This is an area
that has a very nice neighborhood feel,” Connie said.
“It’s an area going through a gentrification process.
It’s going through a lot of changes.”
Charles and Connie
owners of the Kinn.
Each of the Kinn’s
rooms has a different look, and that was a maneuver the
Baileys chose deliberately. When they began the heavy
lifting of transforming the building’s interior, the
couple enlisted the services of Peabody Interiors to
give each room distinctive characteristics.
and attention went into each of the guest rooms, Connie
said, and the overarching goal is to give each one a
touch of Milwaukee. Artwork from local artists, for
example, is featured in each room.
A view inside on of the
Kinn's rooms. Elements of the historic building
have remained intact.
From an early age,
Charles said he aspired to have a hands-on role in the
hospitality industry. It runs in his family’s veins. He
has family members who have operated Drake Hotels in
downtown Chicago and in suburban Oak Brook.
“This is something
that I’ve always had in the back of my mind,” he said.
Charles said he
shies away from pigeonholing the Kinn into a category.
From a branding perspective, he said he chose not to use
the term “boutique hotel” in marketing because “it feels
a little overused.”
He said he coined
the phrase, “micro-hotel” to give the property a little
extra flair and differentiate it from other categories,
such as a bed-and-breakfast, which he adamantly said is
not part of the hotel’s business plan.
Speaking to his
self-affixed term, Charles said, “I think it made a
little more sense. It’s a little more descriptive.”
doormat at the Kinn micro-hotel.
When it came to
visioning the transformation, Connie said she wanted the
establishment to feel like “a great big, welcoming
house.” Her philosophy is, perhaps, best demonstrated
with a communal kitchen and lounge area that could
resemble a scaled down living room.
operated restaurant, the Kindred, is also housed within
the building and is open to the general public.
Work on the interior
renovations took more than a year, and encountered a few
hiccups along the way, due in part to permitting and
other related logistical issues.
The Kinn had a soft
launch early this year. With summer here, and a busy
festival season on the horizon, the Baileys plan to go
full steam ahead with operations.
The couple is quick
to recognize they have not done much to market the site.
The guest rooms have been occupied primarily through
word of mouth. Reservations have been handled through
online portals, including Airbnb.
During the first few
months of the soft launch, the Baileys said they have
been pleased with the response.
“It’s been great,”
Charles said. “We’ve actually been thrilled with the
reception and the comments we’ve received.”
Connie said she is
excited to showcase the Kinn to travelers visiting
Milwaukee for Summerfest and other lakefront festivals.
As the Kinn goes
full steam ahead, one city leader is jubilantly excited
to see the development gain momentum.
“This is a very
positive development for this community,” said Milwaukee
Alderman Tony Zielinski, whose district includes Bay
View. “(The Kinn) adds to the synergy of the growth
we’re looking for along KK.”
Zielinski said he
was especially pleased the Baileys strived to restore
the historic flavor of the building.
“I was very happy to
work with them,” Zielinski said. “This is a much better
fit for the site, and I’m glad everything has worked out