Jeramey Jannene

Help Project Rebuild Sherman Park

Sherman Phoenix would create vibrant public market with a dozen vendors.

By - Aug 23rd, 2017 10:11 am
Sherman Phoenix. Rendering by HGA.

Sherman Phoenix. Rendering by HGA.

If you stared at your TV last summer wondering what you could do to help prevent situations like the Sherman Park disturbances, now is your chance to help.

The Sherman Phoenix project seeks to convert a former BMO Harris Bank branch that was badly damaged in the August 2016 uprising into a new public market, and is seeking crowdfunding support to help fill a financing gap in the project. Partners Juli Kaufmann of Fix Development and JoAnne Sabir of The Juice Kitchen intend to acquire and redevelop the 24,887 square-foot bank building located at 3536 W. Fond du Lac Ave.

The project, which would cost $2.5 million, will convert the building into a public market space with a variety of vendors focused on everything from health and wellness to food and art according to Kaufmann. All of the businesses in the building would be owned by people of color.

The development team has already raised nearly half of their target, helped by a pending $225,000 grant from the City of Milwaukee via a tax-incremental financing district.

The developers are looking for crowdfunding contributions to get the project off the ground and help fill a financing gap in the project budget.

They’re offering a number of benefits to those that support the project, including a thank you hug ($25), cupcake from future building tenant RSVP Confections ($50), catered dinner for a group of six from future tenant Funky Fresh Spring Rolls ($250) or a free rental of the common area for a private event ($3,500). To date the project has raised $2,250 from 20 backers.

Kaufmann previously leveraged a crowdfunding campaign to support her redevelopment of the historic Wally Schmidt Tavern in Lindsay Heights. That campaign raised $37,571. The building has now successfully opened with The Tandem restaurant on the first floor and a number of office tenants on the upper floors.

Visit the Indiegogoo campaign page.

More About the Project

Originally built for the long-defunct Sherman Park State Bank in 1926, the interior of the building contains only the charred remains of the former bank. The damage from the fire renders the project ineligible for historic preservation tax credits, which makes an already challenging project more difficult to finance.

The partners are also seeking to raise more funds from philanthropic grants and local investors. According to Sabir, the rents from the project will sustain the building’s operations and return six percent to project investors.

At a press conference in August announcing the project, the partners announced that The Juice Kitchen, Funky Fresh Spring Rolls, Embody Yoga, Sabir’s Karate Center, Hello Beautiful, RSVP Confections, Queens Closet Consignment Shop, #DreamsNeverExpire!, Sister Locs, Rees Barbershop, Studio 69 and Buffalo Boss would be tenants in the project. At a public hearing on the proposed city financing last week, Sabir announced that a nurse practitioner will also open in the project.

The project is expected to employ about 45 people once it’s up and running.

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More about the Sherman Park Unrest

Read more about Sherman Park Unrest here

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