The Dietrich Building at a Glance          

  • Located in vibrant East Tosa, the Dietrich Building is a substantially rehabilitated non-certified historic building consisting of 6,800 square feet of neighborhood retail space.
  • Outcomes:
    • Converted a blighted, underutilized building to a Class A neighborhood retail center.
    • Attracted new businesses to this district (space for three restaurant/retail businesses).
    • The building renovation resulted in 19 permanent full time equivalent positions at this location.
  • Unique Feature: Mansard Roofs. The two mansard roofs at the Dietrich Building are constructed of sheet metal that has been formed to imitate terra cotta – a typical design feature among historic commercial buildings along W North Avenue in Milwaukee. At the time of acquisition, these roofs had been severely rusted and corroded after years of deferred maintenance. J. Jeffers & Co. engaged an artistic painter to scrape and rustproof these structures, and then paint them with metallic copper paint. The paint was acid-washed causing it to develop an instant greenish patina – verdigris – resulting in the beautiful appearance of aged copper sheet metal.
  • J. Jeffers & Co. Role: Developer, Owner, and Manager.
  • Financial Participants: Cornerstone Community Bank; Milwaukee County Revolving Loan Fund; Wauwatosa Economic Development Corporation (WEDC); and the Wauwatosa Revolving Loan Fund.

Project Summary

J. Jeffers & Co. acquired the Dietrich Building in May 2013. After nearly 90 years, the building was vacant, overgrown, well past its useful life, and a candidate for the landfill. The single story structure was partially sub-divided into narrow suites with low ceilings. Original transom glass had been covered with plywood signage banners, causing the interior space to feel low and dark. Working within the parameters of the Preservation Standards as set forth by the National Park Service for non-certified historic structures, the project team was able to re-configure the building by removing one internal load-bearing wall, restoring the original timber ceiling in key areas, and replacing the street-facing façade with energy-efficient storefront glass. The building is now demised into three bright and spacious commercial suites.

The Dietrich Building Today

The Dietrich Building is currently 100% leased to three thriving small businesses: Hue Restaurant, Rosencutter Ultra Fitness & Performance and Cattywampus Design. These commercial tenants have created a combined 19 full time equivalent jobs and contribute to the vibrancy of East Tosa.



Dietrich Building
6505-6519 W North Ave.
Wauwatosa, WI 53213

Project Schedule
Purchased: May 2013

Completed: September 2014

Project Architect
f(4M) Architects

Project Engineer
StructRite Design

General Contractor
Jack Brill General Contracting