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Owner of gas station torched during Sherman Park unrest wants to rebuild

MILWAUKEE -- The owner of the BP gas station set ablaze in August 2016 during the civil unrest in Milwaukee's Sherman Park neighborhood is looking to rebuild his business.

In August, a fire ravaged the BP fueling station at West Burleigh Street and North Sherman Boulevard during unrest ignited by the shooting and killing of Sylville Smith by a Milwaukee police officer.

"It didn't need to happen. There's no reason for it," Kelvin Williams said.

Now, months later, the owner of that BP, Pakhar Singh, has submitted an application to the city's Historic Preservation Commission to construct and open a new filling station in the neighborhood.

unrest in MKE

Aerial images from Milwaukee unrest

Aerial images from Milwaukee unrest

What remains after unrest near Sherman & Auer in Milwaukee

What remains after unrest near Sherman & Auer in Milwaukee

What remains after unrest near Sherman & Auer in Milwaukee

What remains after unrest near Sherman & Auer in Milwaukee

Singh told the Milwaukee Business Journal that, prior to the August chaos, he had operated his business in Sherman Park for 11 years and, for the most part, he never had any issues during that time. Community members frequently patronized his business, he said, and he wants to reopen.

"The neighborhood is nice," Singh said. "They are very friendly. I know all the people in the neighborhood."

BP gas station in Sherman Park

BP gas station in Sherman Park

Carlen Hatala is a senior planner for the City of Milwaukee's Historic Preservation Commission.

"This is basically the footprint of what the new building will look like," Hatala said.

What remains after unrest near Sherman & Auer in Milwaukee

What remains after unrest near Sherman & Auer in Milwaukee

The layout is larger, with different entrances and exits, and the pumps and building moved to a new spot.

"It's masonry -- all brick with some recessed panels," Hatala said.

BP gas station in Sherman Park

BP gas station in Sherman Park

BP gas station in Sherman Park

BP gas station in Sherman Park

Singh's attorney confirmed for FOX6 News he wants it built before fall. Plans need to be approved with the city before construction can begin.

"It's simple. We know it's a utilitarian building," Hatala said.

BP gas station in Sherman Park

BP gas station in Sherman Park

"This station is need. It is greatly needed. It looks like an eyesore now, if they go ahead and rebuild it, it will be the way that it should be. They just need to build it back up," Williams said.

BP gas station in Sherman Park

BP gas station in Sherman Park

CLICK HERE for more on this story via the Milwaukee Business Journal. 

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