Pritzlaff developer buys East Side warehouse for possible development

Breunig purchased property from owner of Renaissance Book Shop

1617-1633 E. North Ave.

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 04:55 pm

The developer who has redeveloped the Pritzlaff Building near downtown Milwaukee has purchased a two-story warehouse on Milwaukee’s East Side for another possible redevelopment project.

1617-1633 E. North Ave.

Kendall Breunig, owner of Franklin-based Sunset Investors, purchased the 29,000-square-foot brick building located at 1617-1633 E. North Ave. from Robert John for $600,000, according to state records.

The building is assessed by the city of Milwaukee for $396,000.

Breunig said the building, which was originally a dairy processing plant, has glazed block walls, which would be perfect for a microbrewery.

The property, built in 1946, also includes a dairy bar where people used to walk in and have a cold glass of milk while they waited for their order of cheese and butter to be filled, Breunig said.

“My plan is to bring the dairy bar back,” he said. “My hope is to find a tenant to use it as a yogurt or an ice cream place.”

The project qualifies for historic tax credits, which Breunig said he will begin pursuing next year.

Breunig said he has eyed the building for more than two years and finally convinced John to sell it to him.

“I like the location, it is a busy traffic corridor on North Avenue, it’s almost 30,000 square feet, plus another 5,000 in the basement and it is a heavy concrete frame building,” he said. “The next step is getting inside and doing cleaning and demolition. It’s going to need all new utilities and mechanicals and a lot of windows.”

John is the operator of Renaissance Book Shop at General Mitchell International Airport. He also operated the Renaissance Book Shop building in downtown Milwaukee, but was forced to close the shop when the city condemned the building.

John later sold the building to an investor group being led by Milwaukee developer Tim Gokhman.

Breunig worked on a massive effort to revitalize the Pritzlaff complex at 305 N. Plankinton near downtown Milwaukee since 2007. The final piece, the four-story parking structure to replace the existing surface lot on the west side of the building, was approved late last year and is now under construction.

Breunig said the 99-unit apartment portion of the complex should be complete by the end of the year and the parking structure should be mostly complete by the end of November.

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