City allows historic south side building to re-open

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by Sandra Torres

MILWAUKEE-- A sigh of relief for several tenants of the historic "Esperanza Unida International" Building on the South Side of Milwaukee.

The building finally got the okay from the city for tenants to go back in, after code violations forced them out two weeks ago.

The city shut down the building because of repairs that needed top be made to the sprinkler system, among other problems.

"You cant play with fire. This is the consequence of buildings without sprinklers... not just jeopardy to the owners, but the fire fighters who have to put fire out," said Todd Weiler, spokesperson for the Department of Neighborhood Services in Milwaukee.

"I do understand this has caused business interruption in several businesses, but it's better to be safe," said Manuel Perez, Executive Director of Esperanza Unida, which owns the building located at 611 W. National Avenue.

A city inspector told CBS 58 the building is now code compliant. The basement, first, second and fourth floors are now accessible. However, the third floor remains closed due to a problem with the air conditioner.

Perez said tenants are being notified they are now allowed back in the building.

Meantime, the building could soon have new owners. Perez said the organization Esperanza Unida accepted a $1.3 million dollar offer to sell the building to a real estate developer.

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