Long-vacant West Allis building purchased by growing manufacturers

Property abuts new Glenn Rieder headquarters

6525 W. Burnham St

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 04:50 pm

A run-down building in West Allis’ industrial corridor that has been vacant for nearly a decade is getting a second chance from two local manufacturers.

6525 W. Burnham St.

Craig Podlesnik, owner of MagraHearth and StoneCraft Studios and David Kovacic, owner of Northern Tool and Fastener have purchased the 61,153-square-foot property at 6525 W. Burnham Street.

Podlesnik will move the warehouse and production space for MagraHearth and StoneCraft into the building. Kovacic will also move his warehousing operations into the building. The two have formed a joint LLC, PodVacic Holdings.

Podlesnik launched StoneCraft Studios, a fireplace manufacturing and service company, in 2002. It is currently located at 11717A Dearbourn Ave. in Wauwatosa.

In 2014, Podlesnik started MagraHearth, which produces non-combustible mantles for fire places. He is currently leasing space at 2152 S. 114th St. in West Allis for the warehouse portion of that business. The company sells its products to 500 dealers throughout the United States and needs a larger space, Podlesnik said.

Kovacic and his wife Kelly have owned Northern Tool and Fastener for 32 years. The business provides various tools and fasteners to many local contractors of varying sizes. One of their larger customers is CG Schmidt.

Drawing of what the property could look like.

PodVacic Holdings, LLC purchased the building for $530,000 and estimate the improvements will cost $470,000, said Patrick Schloss, manager of community development for the city of West Allis.

The city is planning to provide a $150,000 community development block grant to PodVacic for job creation. Tri-City was the lender using a direct loan and a loan from the Revolving Loan Fund set up with FIRE and Tri-City.

Podlesnik said there will be about eight to 10 full time employees at the start with another 10 to 12 working part time.

The new location will allow for continued growth, Podlesnik said.

In the meantime, Podlesnik would like to make improvements to the outside of the property as well.

“We have about 20-plus square feet of crane bay space we don’t need,” he said. “I would like to restore it to its old beauty. I think it could be a really cool space for weddings and events.”

The property abuts the $10 million Glenn Rieder corporate headquarters and is just south of the Mandel Group’s Six Points development at 68th and Mitchell, which includes a new Aurora Clinic and apartments.

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