Milwaukee-area business owner and real estate developer Frank Giuffre, who made a name in redeveloping underused or distressed commercial and industrial buildings, has died.
Giuffre, who died this weekend, was 76 years old, according to a notice from Max A. Sass & Sons, which is handling funeral arrangements.
Giuffre was president of Milwaukee-based Giuffre Bros. Cranes Inc. and Mallory Properties. He also managed race teams and promoted car racing at the Milwaukee Mile racetrack.
Among his most notable redevelopment projects was the former Milwaukee Gas Light Co. buildings in Milwaukee's Menomonee Valley. The 82,900-square-foot complex, located along West Mt. Vernon Avenue and east of North 25th Street, is now home to City Lights Brewing Co. and Zimmerman Architectural Studios Inc.
He started his first company at age 15, when he borrowed money to buy a used dump truck. Giuffre eventually moved into the crane sales and leasing business and later into real-estate development.
According to the notice, real estate was Giuffre's "greatest passion." He became interested in real estate after he purchased his first property on Mallory Avenue in Cudahy. He believed in bringing businesses and economic value to Milwaukee through the redevelopment of historic and underused properties.
In recent years Giuffre and his brother Dominic Giuffre, who was also his business partner, became involved in a legal dispute over how to divide and untangle their business interests. That case was dismissed in September, according to court records.
A dozen of the approximately 30 properties the Giuffres owned were put up for sale last year. This included the Gas Light buildings and nearly 390,400-square-foot former Rexworks facility on West Oklahoma Avenue. Zimmerman purchased the Gas Light property a few months later.
Nicholette Reinhardt, Giuffre's daughter, called her father a visionary and brilliant businessman. But his business endeavors were not how he measured his success, she said.
Rather, it was how he was able to help others succeed.
"I'm comforted by all the people that were so grateful to know him," she said, later adding, "he was a simple man and just liked giving back to other people."
Visitation is scheduled from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, followed by a private family burial service.
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