Part of landmark mural temporarily removed for building renovation

The Esperanza Peace Mural will return in three to four weeks

The massive, landmark Esperanza Unida Mural of Peace in Walker’s Point depicting a bald eagle and dove against the backdrop of stripes from the flags of several Hispanic nations is getting a touch-up from the artist who painted it while renovations are made to the building.

Esperanza Unida Mural of Peace in Walker's Point.
Esperanza Unida Mural of Peace in Walker’s Point.

A Keystone Development LLC affiliate holding company purchased the building for $1.3 million from the City of Milwaukee last spring and began work in October to make $6 million worth of renovations to the building’s top three floors.

Keystone is installing 36 high-end apartments in the property. Schultz said the units will have lofted ceilings, polished concrete floors, granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and central air. The apartments will be available in mid-July.

The colorful mural, painted on the south side of the four-story building at 611 W. National Ave. has greeted northbound travelers on I-94 to Milwaukee since the early 1990s.

Crews began removing a strip of panels on which artist Reynaldo Hernandez painted the mural this week to prevent certain building renovations — including installing multiple widows to the building’s south side — from damaging the painting.

“We’ve been working with him (Hernandez) on the removal and will again to install it, and he’s going to be doing some restoration,” said Cal Schultz, president and owner of Oshkosh-based Keystone. “We only needed to remove a small section, but we were worried about damage.”

The group has removed a large vertical strip near the center of the mural. That section will be down for  three to four weeks, Schultz said.

The windows being installed will be wrapped in a semi-transparent material that will be painted to blend in with the mural to limit disruption to the south side landmark, according to Milwaukee Department of City Development spokesman Jeff Fleming.

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Ben Stanley, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.

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