Materials Salvaged From Lake Drive Mansion To Help Local Families In Need

MILWAUKEE, WI (May 31, 2019) – On Wednesday, May 29th Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity ReStore’s Deconstruction Services team salvaged everything from lights, cabinetry and architectural items from a Shorewood mansion on Lake Drive.

Items salvaged are being resold to the public at Habitat’s Wauwatosa ReStore at 3015 N. 114th Street. Each year, Milwaukee Habitat’s three ReStores raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to help build safe, affordable homes on Milwaukee’s north side.

Last year alone Milwaukee Habitat ReStore’s Deconstruction Services salvaged more than $600,000 worth of materials from commercial and residential properties; properties that were in the process of remodeling or demolition.

“Proceeds from the sale of items we salvage at the mansion directly benefit families in need of affordable housing here in Milwaukee,” says Jake Weiler, Deconstruction Services Manager with Milwaukee Habitat. “Our team is ensuring these items stay out of local landfills and rather go on to live a second life.”

Ronny Barenz, President of Barenz Builders (the contractor hired to analyze the property), provided more context about why the decision to raze the property occurred:

This was a difficult decision for Chris {Abele} and {fiance} Jennifer {Gonda}. They came to us with a request to assess options for renovation of the property and, after much discussion, they decided the magnitude of the project was too overwhelming.

I’ve worked on numerous properties over the years and this one was in remarkably poor condition. My understanding is that the owners were trying to sell it for at least three years and many, many buyers decided not to take on the project. It would have needed all new mechanicals, electrical and plumbing, removal of lead paint and asbestos to provide a healthy living environment for them and their kids. The extent of that work would have damaged flooring, walls and many of the nicer elements of the house. In the end they decided to start over.

Chris and Jennifer have been very clear with us and their architect, Northworks, about how important it is to have a design that is contextual with the neighborhood and will be a new asset to the community. We are working with their architect to submit the plans as soon as possible so that we can minimize how long the lot is vacant.

Ronny Barenz CGP, GMB


Barenz Builders