Vassallo has big plans for Posner building

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 11:00 am

Gene Posner and restaurateur "Johnny V" Vassallo have reached an agreement in principal for Vassallo to purchase the Posner building at 152 W. Wisconsin Ave. from Posner. Vassallo plans to expand his company in the building, which will be renovated to accommodate mixed uses and could ultimately become the new home for a Texas company that may move to Milwaukee.
"We’re going to close on it by the end of April, maybe a little earlier," Posner said.
Both Posner and Vassallo declined to disclose their agreed upon sale price for the building. According to city records, the 108,334-square-foot building, built in 1908, has an assessed value of $2.8 million.
The financing will be provided by Lincoln State Bank, Vassallo said.
Vassallo already has two of the restaurants that he owns, Mo’s Irish Pub and Mo’s Cucina, located in the building at the corner of Wisconsin and Plankinton avenues. His company, Global Restaurant Systems, also occupies about 1,500 square feet of office space in the building. Vassallo said he plans to expand his company’s office space there by about 3,000 square feet.
Vassallo also plans to attract an upscale salon and spa operator to occupy space on the first floor of the building. Vasallo says he has had some preliminary discussions with two local spa operators and two others from outside of the area who are interested in establishing a location in the Posner building.
The remainder of the building could be a renovated to accommodate a combination of office space, executive apartments and possibly a boutique hotel, Vassallo said.
Vassallo also said he is not sure how much he ultimately will spend to improve the building, but he is planning to spend about $600,000 to $700,000 in initial upgrades to the lobby
and other parts of the building.
After he closes on the purchase of the property, Vassallo plans to make a formal request with city officials to install a 15-foot by 12-foot video screen on the exterior of the building. The screen would be used like a huge television, a la Times Square, to show news programs, sports events, advertising or announcements.
"We’re trying to do whatever we can to make downtown more metropolitan," Vassallo said. "I think that (video screen) would add a metropolitan flair."
Vassallo said he is also in the process of acquiring a share of a Houston-based high tech firm and hopes to relocate the company to the Posner building. The company, which Vassallo declined to name, creates systems that are used by restaurants to collect customer data and help make reservations.
"It’s a great fit for me," said Vassallo, who would become the largest shareholder of the company, but not the majority shareholder.
Vassallo is trying to convince the other shareholders to move the company to Milwaukee. He is seeking funding from state and city government officials to help entice the company to move here. If the company makes the move, it would bring 20 jobs to downtown Milwaukee by the end of 2006, Vassallo said.
"Getting more jobs downtown is pretty important," he said. "Bringing these guys here would be a big coup. There are not a lot of companies leaving tax-free Texas to come to Milwaukee. They are happy to sell me shares of their company, but getting them to move to Milwaukee has become a challenge, but not an overwhelming one."
Vassallo also said he is looking for a site to open another restaurant in Indianapolis, where he has already opened a Mo’s A Place for Steaks. He has not decided on the type of restaurant he would add in Indy.
In addition, Vassallo plans to open an Asian restaurant to be called Monsoon Wok and Lounge at 811 N. Jefferson St. in the former Zyng Asian Grill space.
CarMax plans to open Milwaukee auto dealership
Glen Allen, Va.-based CarMax Auto Superstores plans to build an automobile dealership on the south side of West Metro Boulevard and west of North 107th Street on the far northwest side of Milwaukee.
The dealership would be near the Bergstrom Hummer dealership at 11330 W. Metro Boulevard and the Bergstrom Chevrolet dealership at 11100 W. Metro Boulevard.
CarMax will spend about $10 million to $15 million to develop the vacant property and will employ about 100 people at the dealership, said Trina Lee, spokeswoman for CarMax Inc. However, the store will not open for about two years, she said.
CarMax has 60 used car superstores in 27 markets around the country and seven new car franchises. The only CarMax location in Wisconsin is in Kenosha near Interstate 94.
The Milwaukee CarMax dealership will have about 200 to 400 vehicles for sale on the lot. They will be used vehicles, most between 1 and 6 years old, Lee said.
"We carry nearly every make and model," she said.
"We’re looking for midsize markets, between 1 million and 2.5 million people, where there is growth," Lee said. "We are also looking at a second site in the Milwaukee area."
Lee declined to name the additional site.
"We typically look for locations where there is high retail and high auto dealer activity," she said. "We’re opening about one new store a month in different markets."
Other Milwaukee news
Brewery Credit Union will open a branch in 527 square feet of space near the front check-out area of the Outpost Natural Foods store to be opened at 2826 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood. The credit union was created in the 1930s to serve workers at Milwaukee’s breweries and today serves members throughout the metro Milwaukee area. The credit union is based at 1351 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., Milwaukee, and has branch locations at 1501 E. Sunset Dr., Waukesha; 6402 W. Brown Deer Road, Milwaukee; and 6126 W. Layton Ave., Greenfield.
Bob and Jean Zaptin plan to open a sandwich shop, called Brooklyn Bob’s Sub Shop, at 839 W. National Ave. The restaurant will occupy about 1,400 square feet in the building, which is the former home of the Flying Saucer Café. Bob, owner of Brooklyn Bob’s LLC, said the high traffic at the corner of 9th Street and National Avenue make it an attractive location. "There’s nothing like what I’m opening up down there as far as a sub shop that’s not fast food," he said. The restaurant will be open from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. and serve breakfast and lunch, with a menu of mostly sandwiches.
RCB Awards LLC has moved from its previous location on North Avenue in Wauwatosa to a 5,000-square-foot building at 8000 W. Capital Drive, Milwaukee, the former home of Kummer Florists. RCB purchased the building late last year, spent months remodeling it, and moved in recently.
The controversial proposal for a 212,000-square-foot Wal-Mart Supercenter store at I-43 and Highway 42 in the Town of Sheboygan was approved recently by the Town Board, with several conditions. Although several town residents opposed the development, town officials feared that if they rejected Wal-Mart’s plan, then the property would have been annexed by the City of Sheboygan and the store would have been built anyway with property tax revenue going to the city instead of the town. It will be the second Wal-Mart Superstore in the Sheboygan area. The other Superstore will be built southeast of Taylor Drive and Washington Avenue. Wal-Mart plans to close its smaller Sheboygan store in the Taylor Heights Shopping Center.
Oshkosh-based Utica Energy wants to convert the former Schreier Malting plant on South 15th Street into an ethanol production facility, but the plans are facing significant opposition by neighbors. The city’s plan commission recently voted against a proposed rezoning to allow the ethanol operations. However, the city’s common council will have the final say. The building is about 150 years old and is currently vacant. The ethanol plant would bring dozens of jobs to the area, but the facility is located in a residential area, and neighbors have complained about the smell they fear would come from the plant and its possible impact on the environment, the health of nearby residents and neighborhood property values.
Mequon-based Office Service Co. LLP plans to convert a three-story, 18,000-square-foot, 78-year-old warehouse building at 1331 Alabama Ave. into a 12-unit condominium building. The units will cost between $139,000 for a one-bedroom unit and $189,000 for a three-bedroom unit, said Paul Weaver, general partner for Office Service Company. The brick building was originally used as a coat manufacturing facility. Office Service Co. will spend about $1.5 million to convert the structure into a condo building, and residents could move in later this year, Weaver said. "The basic bones of the building are absolutely incredible," he said. "It’s an old warehouse, similar to what you’d see in the Third Ward."
Sheboygan-based LJM Architects plans to build a 4,500-square-foot fish shanty style retail building in the South Pier District, the peninsula between the Sheboygan River and Lake Michigan where the Blue Harbor Resort and Conference Center opened last year.
West Allis
Jeff Kerwen plans to open a restaurant called Atlas Family Restaurant at 8201 W. Greenfield Ave., which is the former location of Mykonos Restaurant. The building, which has a 5,626-square-foot restaurant area and a 10,479-square-foot banquet hall, has been vacant for more than a year since Mykonos closed.
A Fujiyama sushi and hibachi restaurant will open soon at 2916 S. 108th St.
Greater Milwaukee Credit Union plans to open a branch in State Fair Court III at 1606 S. 84th St.
Staff One Ltd. will occupy 4,455 square feet at Summit Place, 6737 W. Washington St.
7511 Highway 60 LLC has purchased 95 acres of land at 7511 Highway 60, Hartford, from Emory J. Clark of the John P. Clark Trust for $1 million. The Dickman Co. Inc. represented both the buyer and seller. The buyers eventually plan to do a residential development on the property said Sam Dickman Jr. "The buyers are planning on holding it until they get their approvals (for the project)," he said.
Dr. David Brunner has opened an office for his dental practice in the Lakeside Centre North office building at 10345 N. Port Washington Road.
4th Dimension Design plans to build a 6,184-square-foot office building on a vacant lot on the south side of Venture Court and east of Corporate Drive. The plans are preliminary and still must be approved by city officials.

Andrew Weiland is the managing editor of Small Business Times. Send news about commercial real estate to or by calling him at (414) 277-8181 ext. 120. News can also be sent to Andrew Weiland, Small Business Times, 1123 N. Water St., Milwaukee, WI 53202.

Commercial real estate transactions
James T. Barry Company Inc.
Rock Transfer and Storage has leased 88,000 square feet of space at 130 W. Edgerton Ave., Milwaukee, from BGK. Rock Transfer plans to move its corporate headquarters and warehouse space from 7474 N. Rockway Court, Milwaukee, to the Edgerton Avenue location.
Capital Commercial LLC
Midwest Engineering Systems has leased 25,000 square feet of office and tech space at W233 N2800 Roundy Circle, Pewaukee, from Briohn Leasing Company.
Keychain Publications dba Auto Guide Publications has leased 3,640 square feet of industrial space at 16680 W. Cleveland Ave., New Berlin, from LLJ LLC.
Progressive Automation Controls has leased 4,800 square feet of office and warehouse space at 16285 W. Lincoln Ave., New Berlin.
Hearth & Home Technology has leased 11,500 square feet of industrial space at 1800 Dolphin Dr., Waukesha, from Hillcrest Business Center LLC.
Mid-America Real Estate
Great Clips has leased 1,172 square feet of space at The Pavilion at the southwest corner of Highway 60 and North Port Washington Road in Grafton.
Cost Cutters and LA WeightLoss have each leased 1,340 square feet of space at a new building housing PetsMart at Deer Trace shopping center southwest of I-43 and Highway 28 in Kohler.
Buffet City has leased 10,800 square feet of space at Northwest Fashion Square, 8603-8665 W. Brown Deer Road, Milwaukee.
Fantastic Sams has leased 1,200 square feet of space at 3970 N. Brookfield Road, Brookfield.
Marshalls has leased 37,220 square feet of space at The Shoppes of Nagawaukee, at the southeast corner of Highway 83 and Golf Road in Delafield.
US Dry Cleaners has leased 1,400 square feet of space at Ruby Isle Shopping Center, 2205 N. Calhoun Road, Brookfield.
Avon Products has leased 2,000 square feet of space at West Allis Towne Center at the northeast corner of Greenfield Avenue and South 70th Street in West Allis.
NAI MLG Commerial
Edward Jones has leased 1,175 square feet of space at 2324 18th St., Kenosha, from A&M Enterprises LLC.
iSold It has leased 1,200 square feet of space at 3930 Brookfield Road, Brookfield, from Zabest Commercial Group Inc. The Polacheck Company represented Zabest.
Polacheck Company
Catalyst Marketing Enterprises Inc. dba US Cellular has leased 1,320 square feet of space at Riverwood Plaza, Franklin, from Bouraxis Properties LLC.
Siegel-Gallagher Inc.
The Wisconsin Coalition for Advocacy has leased space at Summit Place, 6737 W. Washington St., West Allis.
TMC Mortgage Company has expanded its operations at The Forum, 3333 N. Mayfair Road, Wauwatosa.
Mary A. Quinn DDS has leased space at Nicolet Woods, 6373 N. Jean Nicolet Road, Glendale.
Hochstatter, McCarthy & Rivas S.C. has leased space at 5555 N. Port Washington Road, Glendale.
American Family Insurance has leased 1,000 square feet of space at 5125 N. Ironwood Road, Glendale.
The Concord Group has leased 3,160 square feet of space at 241 N. Broadway St., Milwaukee.
Pierce Engineering has expanded its space with another 6,814 square feet of space at 241 N. Broadway St., Milwaukee.

James T. Barry Company Inc.
2222 N. Mayfair Road LLC has purchased the 8,700-square-foot office building at 2222 N. Mayfair Road, Wauwatosa, from Mayfair Business Group LLC.
TI Investments has purchased the 10,050-square-foot industrial facility at N94 W14376 Garwin Mace Dr., Menomonee Falls, from Media Management.
Capital Commercial LLC
Windsor Executive Development LLC has purchased the former Roundy’s corporate headquarters at 23000 and 23050 W. Roundy Dr., Pewaukee, from Jondez Corp. The two office buildings comprise over 67,000 square feet.
WMDNB Properties LLC has purchased the 33,000-square-foot former Badger Pattern building at 2505 S. 162nd St., New Berlin, from Richard and Michael Blankenheim. The sale price was $970,000.
New Berlin Acquisitions LLC has purchased 2.85 acres of land at 16165 W. Rogers Dr., New Berlin, from Bodycote Thermal Processing Inc. The sale price was $263,265.
Liberty Property Trust
Kelly HRFirst has leased 36,522 square feet of office space at 11900 W. Lake Park Dr., Milwaukee, from Liberty Property Trust.
Mid-America Real Estate
Lowe’s Home Improvement and Aldi have purchased land at the Delavan Crossings Retail Center at I-43 and Highway 50 in Delavan. Lowe’s purchased 14.2 acres and Aldi purchased 2.5 acres.
Home Depot purchased the 125,040-square-foot former K-Mart at 7401 W. Good Hope Road from Benderson Development.
Best Buy has purchased the 15,000-square-foot building on 0.78 acres at 7424 W. Layton Ave., Greenfield, from Cade Construction.
NAI MLG Commercial
Ray A. Anderson Inc. has sold 16.85 acres of agricultural land near Highway 41/45 and Highway 145 in the Town of Polk to 145 LLC.
Spectrum Development Group LLC has purchased a 13,500-square-foot building at 3415 N. 127th St., Brookfield.
Polacheck Company
4775 N. Green Bay Avenue LLC has purchased 0.75 acres at 4775 N. Green Bay Ave., Milwaukee, from Ann E. Pieper Eisenbrown and Land American Exchange Co. The Dickman Company represented the sellers.
WLU LLC has purchased 1,500 square feet of space at 8341 W. Lisbon Ave., Milwaukee, from Vivo Realty.
Jewish Home and Care Center Inc. has purchased 8.95 acres at 10911 N. Port Washington Road, Mequon, from MCC Real Estate LLC.
Siegel-Gallagher Inc.
Safro Group has purchased a 7.45-acre vacant lot at 20000 West Bluemound Road, Brookfield, from Heartland Development Group.
Fred Wein has purchased 40,000 square feet of retail space at 5108-5158 S. 108th St., Milwaukee, from Briscoe Development.
FC Acquisition has purchased 50,000 square feet of space at 2801 14th Place, Kenosha, from Kenosha PW.
Serge Berguig has purchased 26,500 square feet of space at 13282 W. Camden Ave., Menomonee Falls.
South Central Industrial Properties has purchased 18,800 square feet of space at 11811 W. Camden Ave., Milwaukee, from Kaitelle Investments LP.
New construction
The Redmond Company, Waukesha, was selected to build a 68,874-square-foot Pick ‘n Save grocery store at South 27th Street and Ryan Road in Oak Creek. In addition, The Redmond Company recently completed construction of two new Walgreens stores in Sussex and Racine. The 14,745-square-foot Walgreens in Sussex was built at N65 W25055 Main St., Sussex. The 14,490-square-foot Walgreens in Racine was built at 1920 Douglas Ave.
Zimmerman Design Group, Milwaukee, has been awarded the contract to do design work for the planned renovations of the Manchester East Hotel & Suites in Glendale. The hotel will be converted into the Radisson Milwaukee North Shore Hotel by the middle of this year. All 236,889 square feet of the property will be redesigned. The 115,525-square-foot building has 93 suites, 40 double guest rooms, 9,284 square feet of meeting space and other amenities including a restaurant and lounge, swimming pool and fitness center. This will be the sixth Radisson location in southeastern Wisconsin. The others are in Wauwatosa, Pewaukee, Racine, Pleasant Prairie and near Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee.
R.A. Smith & Associates Inc., Brookfield, is providing surveying, design and construction services to the Town of Caledonia Water Utility District No. 1 for several water main extensions and looping projects to extend service to existing residences and two planned residential developments, with a total of 370 lots, in the Town of Caledonia.
Briohn Building Corp., Brookfield, has completed the design and construction of a 32,890-square-foot building for Chef Craft Corp. at N29 W23720 Woodgate Court East, Pewaukee. In addition, Briohn Building Corp. has also completed the design and construction of a 33,000-square-foot building for Total Quality Plastics, at 198 N. Harrison St., North Prairie; a 22,856-square-foot tenant improvement for Velocity Sports Performance at 1055 Cottonwood Ave. Suite 100, Hartland and a 48,190-square-foot new multi-tenant building for Woodgate Court West LLC in Pewaukee Woods North. The Woodgate Court project included a 24,926-square-foot tenant improvement for Purple Feet Wines LLC at N29 W23810 Woodgate Court West, Pewaukee.
Selzer-Ornst Co., Wauwatosa, was selected to complete the new banking facility for The Private BanCorp at 741 N. Water St. in downtown Milwaukee. The project was designed by JFrench and Associates Architects and is scheduled for completion this summer.
MSI General Corp., Oconomowoc, was selected by First Supply Group to design and build a 30,800-square-foot addition to the company’s warehouse at 7550 S. 6th St., Oak Creek. The addition will include four new shipping docks and two new receiving docks.
Suburban Construction Inc., Richfield, recently finished a project to remodel and expand the Pioneer Plaza in Richfield. The project involved the complete remodeling of the 6,700-square-foot facility and the construction of a 4,900-square-foot addition for a new McDonald’s Restaurant, arcade and rest rooms.
La Macchia Group LLC, Milwaukee, has completed construction of a new, 21,252-square-foot main office for Heartland Credit Union at 5325 High Crossing Blvd., Madison.
Berghammer Construction Corp., Butler, has completed construction of a new 40,000-square-foot freestanding ambulatory surgery center for Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa. Hammel, Green & Abrahamson Architects, Milwaukee, provided architectural design and engineering services.

MEDC Loans
Interfreight Transport Systems Inc. has received a $500,000 MEDC loan and $800,000 in funding from other sources to purchase a 45,320-square-foot building with office and warehouse space at 9411 W. Fond du Lac Ave., Milwaukee.
April 1, 2005, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI

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