Mark Rolison, a real estate investor and developer, has purchased a new property in the Near West Side to develop. He’s been developing properties for many years. He stated that his inspiration for investing and developing properties around the city of Milwaukee is taking something, fixing It up, and bringing it to its full potential, whether it’s a property or a business.

The property he is looking to develop is in the Merrill Park/Piggsville neighborhood, located on 36th and Mt. Vernon. It is an all-brick, corner building with commercial and residential units. He fell in love with this building because of its corner location, its all-brick construction, and its design and character. He noted that being able to bring in a business to this corner retail lot that will serve the neighborhood around it, it will only add to the overall ambiance of the neighborhood.

Hear Mark Rolison talk about his background and interest in this property. He also discusses the entrepreneurial opportunities with two businesses of color in the audio clip below.

Mark has been working on restoring the building and intends to bring in a tenant soon, noting that he is already speaking with a potential tenant with interest in opening their own Thai restaurant in the commercial portion of the property. He’s actively working to restore the property, having reached out recently to the city for potential grants for façade and signage. He’s already fixed up a three-bedroom apartment on the property and rented it out. He also is working on some cosmetic fixes for the building, hoping to get started on it at the beginning of May due to a tenant leaving the property.
The property has over a century of history. Mark noted that the earliest record he could find of the property dated back to 1908. He saw this history in it right away, noticing the intricate designs and brickwork on the property. Ultimately, he sees the property contributing to the Near West Side, cementing Clybourn as a legitimate and important corridor between Downtown and Wauwatosa and bringing more business and traffic to the area. He also considers this property to be “a nice gateway project” for the Merrill Park/Piggsville area, bringing traffic, business, and jobs into the neighborhood.
Mark also noted that he has been working with a diverse group of entrepreneurs to bring this property to life. He noted that he wouldn’t turn any potential partner away, but since he’s been involved with this property, he’s worked with multiple minority contractors on the property and is working with an Asian woman as a potential tenant. He stated that he would not turn anyone away and would love to help minority entrepreneurs towards success if possible. The secret, he said, to success for any entrepreneur is learning from your mistakes.

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