Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Master Electrician Will Redevelop Building at 58th and Burleigh

Baron Hentz and BKH Electric have big plans for vacant, city-owned building.

By - Jan 31st, 2023 11:35 am
5725 W. Burleigh St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

5725 W. Burleigh St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Master electrician and electrical inspector Baron Hentz has big plans for a vacant, city-owned building at 5725 W. Burleigh St.

He’ll relocate his firm BKH Electric and its approximately 15 employees to the building. Hentz also intends to live in an upstairs apartment in the two-story, 8,087-square-foot building.

“This particular property caught my eyes a year before I even knew it was available,” Hentz told the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee on Tuesday morning. “Because I’m in construction, it started making my mind spin of what I can do with it.”

The city selected BKH’s offer from the 15 it received after issuing a request for proposals last spring. Hentz will pay $36,000 for the property and may seek a city grant to pay for improvements to the storefront. The city had sought $35,000 for the property.

“I do have a plan on making the area beautiful because I’m in construction,” said Hentz, who launched his business in 2014. “I already see the end result.”

A Department of City Development report says Hentz could invest $150,000 in the property, though Hentz said Tuesday that the figure could be far higher. But the out-of-pocket costs will be reduced because of BKH’s labor force, including a roster of former carpenters. He said he expected his employees could do work that others would pay $40,000 for.

“To me, it sounded like a really good addition to the neighborhood,” said area alderman and committee chair Michael Murphy.

“It will be nice to see this development,” said area Russell W. Stamper, II. “Congratulations, it looks nice.”

Constructed in 1955, the building includes first-floor commercial space split into two units and a three-bedroom apartment on the second floor.

A series of automotive businesses used the property from 1988 through 2000, including a used car dealership, automobile repair shop and transmission repair center. Three large garage doors face N. 58th St. as part of an attached, brick garage. The east side of the building includes a high overhang and large driveway.

The City of Milwaukee has had quite the history with the building in just the last seven years, twice acquiring it via property tax foreclosure. In 2015, the city took ownership from Pak Rentals & Construction, a firm owned by controversial landlord Mohammad A. Choudry. The city filed a racketeering case against Choudry in 2016 that ultimately forced the landlord to give up his remaining properties.

The Common Council approved selling the Burleigh building in 2017 to Ammon Corp., a construction firm, that was to result in a $331,000 redevelopment. But the sale never closed.

In 2018 the council approved selling the property to William Yeager for use by his United Heating and Air Conditioning business. The business was to relocate to Milwaukee from Waukesha. Yeager purchased the property in June 2018 for $15,000, but by July 2020 the city had again taken ownership via property tax foreclosure.

The committee unanimously endorsed the sale. The full council must still approve the sale. It next meets Feb. 7.


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Related Legislation: File 221430

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