Ma Baensch sells historic Riverwest building to developer

130-year-old brick structure had been on market for three weeks

Local herring producer, Baensch Food Products Co has sold its historic Riverwest Building at 1025 E. Locust St.. (Photo courtesy of Baensch Food Products Co.)

Last updated on July 8th, 2022 at 01:00 pm

The historic Baensch Food Products building at 1025 E. Locust St. in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood has sold for $625,000 to an affiliate of a Milwaukee real estate development firm.

The building, which was only on the market for about three weeks, was purchased by a limited liability company affiliated with Joseph Property Development. The company owns numerous offices and apartment buildings in Milwaukee, including some that it built new and others that are historic buildings that the firm redeveloped.

Baensch, a herring producer which had called the 9,650-square-foot brick warehouse home since 1946, put the building up for sale in mid-June.

Although home to Baensch Food Products Co. production for decades, company owner Kim Wall said most of its production was moved offsite in 2002 – first to a plant in Nova Scotia and then to Minnesota in August of last year.

Today, the company’s only employee is Wall. Prior to August’s move the company had been only doing about 25% of its production at its Riverwest headquarters, in part due to the complexities of herring production, which is subject to a variety of Federal Department of Agriculture (FDA) processing requirements.

Situated in the heart of Riverwest, the site where the Baensch building is located was originally purchased by Irish immigrant Garrett Fitzgerald who was the Milwaukee County sheriff and county treasurer in 1851. The property was then sold to Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company in 1891 who sold it to Cudahy Brothers Company in 1914, and finally to Baench Food Products Company in 1946, according to a press release.

It is not yet clear what Joseph Property Development plans to do with the structure. Attempts to reach someone with the company on Wednesday morning were not immediately successful.

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Cara covers commercial and residential real estate. She has an extensive background in local government reporting and hopes to use her experience writing about both urban and rural redevelopment to better inform readers. Cara lives in Waukesha with her husband, a teenager, a toddler, a dog named Neutron, a bird named Potter, and a lizard named Peyoye. She loves music, food, and comedy, but not necessarily in that order.

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