The former Milwaukee Sign Co. building has been
vacant since 2012.
Photo by Deb Kranitz
Redevelopment momentum in Grafton’s south commercial district
took a big step forward with new owners for the industrial
building at 1964 Wisconsin Avenue.
“We were looking for a new location and that’s what appealed to
us about this building,” says Gene Large, a partner in Burlo Pet
Services, which purchased the building as Canine Rentals LLC.
“We are a distributor of pet food to independent pet food
retailers, and this location really works well for us – it’s not
too far off the freeway.” Large and his partner, Jennifer Burlo,
purchased the building from Jonathan Goodman, and have taken
occupancy of the 63,200 square foot building, known locally as
the Milwaukee Sign Co. building.
“We plan to use about three-quarters of the building for our
business and then lease out the rest of the building,” Large
said. “The building itself needs a lot of work, so we’re really
just in the process of addressing that and getting things up and
running right now.”
Burlo Pet Services currently has 16 employees, and Large says
that it’s likely the firm will add additional employees as the
wholesale business grows in the new facility. Most of the space
will be used for warehousing of pet food. Prior to purchasing
the Grafton location, the firm operated out of Cedarburg.
The Milwaukee Sign Co. building was constructed in 1963 and has
been used for manufacturing purposes. More recently, it was one
of two local Milwaukee Sign Co. plants, which closed its Grafton
location in the mid 2000s after merging with Signstrut LTD and
moving production to Ohio.
“We’re very excited to see this development in a long-time
vacant property in Grafton,” said Village of Grafton Director of
Planning and Development Jessica Wolff. “It is adding some
additional positive activity to the village’s south commercial
The property was on the market for two years prior to this
Wolff said that the recent transaction
is indicative of the redevelopment efforts happening
throughout the south commercial district right now. Another
new development is occurring in the former Pizza Hut
building. This is the new home of Rosati’s Pizza, which is
anticipating an Aug. 1 opening.
Progress also continues on the former
Highland Ridge development, now known as Village Pointe
Commons. In March, Waukesha-based developer Tarantino &
Company announced plans for a $20million senior housing
complex on the remaining former Manchester Mall property.
“In a year or so,
we are anticipating some very big changes for the south
commercial district,” Wolff said. “These continued
developments are great for everyone.”