5XEN Market, a Hmong-American business market on Milwaukee's far northwest side, is planning a $20 million, 115,000-square-foot renovation and expansion.
The marketplace, formerly known as Milwaukee Asian Public Market Phongsavan, is located at 6300 N. 76th St., and features a number of grocery, dining, office and retail tenants. It is owned by 5XEN Inc., a real estate services company that manages and leases retail and commercial space in Milwaukee.
Steve Van Lieshout, 5XEN vice president of facilities, said the redevelopment plans involve tearing down some existing buildings and adding onto another two-story building.
The result will be a major grocery store, expanded kitchen area for food service tenants, significant banquet or meeting space, reconfigured retail and office spaces, and a separate office and lounge area for 5XEN, all in one like-new building, said Van Lieshout.
Work will involve 80,000 square feet of renovations and 35,000 square feet of new construction, according to an application filed with the city. It represents $20 million in private investment, and would retain 75 jobs and create an estimated 50 new jobs.
Van Lieshout declined to go into detail on the project's funding sources.
A building on the northern portion of the property, which is temporarily being used as a grocery store, will be razed. The former car dealership building to the south will also be coming down. 5XEN will then build "a major addition" on the east side of the main two-story marketplace building, he said.
The grocery store will be relocated to the east end of the expanded building, with retail tenants on the west end. At the center of the building will be an open area from the first floor to the roof, with a balcony ring on the second floor. This part of the building will feature some "very significant skylights," said Van Lieshout.
The food court will be located in this open area on the first floor. There will be 10 food service tenants in the building, two more than the existing market has, he said. The kitchen area for those tenants will see significant upgrades as well.
"It's going to be much nicer than what they're dealing with currently, way more user-friendly," Van Lieshout said.
Offices and a bar will be located on the second floor. The third floor, meanwhile, will be corporate offices and a lounge area for 5XEN.
In a Facebook post, 5XEN wrote it planned to break ground on the project in October and complete the work by July 2021. 5XEN plans to eventually pursue development projects beyond this one, Van Lieshout said.
5XEN acquired the market and neighboring building earlier this summer.
According to state records, 5XEN bought the market property at 6300 N. 76th St. from Pai Yang (who started Milwaukee Asian Market Phongsavan) for $4.52 million, and it bought the dealer building at 6270 N. 76th St. from Remy Battery Co. Inc. for $250,000. Both deals were completed in mid-June.
Van Lieshout said the 5XEN ownership group are all Hmong and live locally, but wouldn't provide specifics beyond that. Chao Thao is its chief financial officer.
The goal with the redevelopment project is to great a destination. Van Lieshout said that outside the local Hmong community, the existing market "is probably one of the best-kept secrets in southeast Wisconsin."
"The previous building was a good start to service for the Hmong community, and we're taking it far, far, far to a new level," he said.