Big changes coming to downtown Waukesha
Marquez updating building, eyes adding Les Paul statue, diner
By Chris Bucher – Freeman Staff
Dec. 1, 2016
Sloppy Joe’s Soda Fountain, 280 W. Broadway, will close its doors and undergo a renovation to be completed by the spring. La Estacion owner Tony Marquez purchased the commercial building which sits on West Main Street and West Broadway in downtown Waukesha.
WAUKESHA — After spending so long in the area, La Estacion owner Tony Marquez felt the need to give back to downtown.
So Marquez, who’s had his authentic Mexican cuisine restaurant at 319 Williams St. for 25 years, purchased the commercial property off West Main Street and West Broadway in May with his sights set on joining the downtown’s revitalization effort. It’s the 22,000-squarefoot building near the Five Points intersection that houses the Jest For Fun Joke Shop, 260 W. Main St., and Poppin On Broadway, 260 W. Broadway.
Cleanup and renovation
Marquez’s plan, which began months ago, is to renovate and clean up the building so that it fits in with the surrounding commercial buildings. His vision includes adding light fixtures and awnings to the exterior, repairing the roof, updating and cleaning the facade and renovating the interior to give it a much more modern feel, such as that of the nearby commercial buildings. He said in its current state, it’s an “ugly building” and desperately needs a facelift. It’s one that, as a successful business owner, Marquez said he’s happy to provide to improve the area.
“I’m very excited to be a part of it,” Marquez said of joining the effort to transform downtown. “The downtown area is finally coming back.”
He added that if all goes according to plan, the building’s update will be complete by May, saying that it will look “brand new.”
Sloppy Joe’s closes; new tenant sought The building has 10 tenants with office spaces on the second floor in addition to five apartment units. Nine of the 10 storefronts are currently filled, with the exception being Sloppy Joe’s Soda Fountain, 280 W. Broadway.
Marquez said the old-school restaurant, which served up ice cream and snack foods to downtown patrons for more than five years, has closed its doors and will be “completely gutted and renovated” by the spring. He said there is already much interest from potential tenants about moving into the location, which is a central spot in the downtown’s Five Points. Marquez’s intention is to add a diner or a coffee shop in the now-vacant storefront, or simply “something to compliment the downtown,” he said.
Les Paul statue?
That new, fresh look to the building could include adding a piece of Waukesha history to the area outside the vacant space. Marquez said he desires to add a statue of Les Paul, the famed electric guitar inventor who called Waukesha his hometown, to a prominent area near the Five Points.
“The whole downtown is just guitars,” Marquez said. “There’s nothing of Les Paul, showing who he was.”
Les Paul died in August 2009 of complications with pneumonia.