Jeramey Jannene
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Wheel & Sprocket’s New Bay View HQ

Opening early next year: One of the "most dramatic bicycle-related spaces in the country."

By - Nov 29th, 2019 12:45 pm
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Wheel & Sprocket's future home at 187 E. Becher St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Wheel & Sprocket’s future home at 187 E. Becher St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Bicycle retailer Wheel & Sprocket is poised to open a new bike shop, headquarters and bicycle-focused office building at the north end of Bay View in early 2020.

The retail business, owned and operated by the Kegel family, is transforming the 100-year-old industrial building at 187 E. Becher St., just west of S. Kinnickinnic Ave., into one of the “most dramatic bicycle-related spaces in the country.”

When it opens the approximately 24,000-square-foot building will be home to a new full-service bike shop, the Joy Ride Cafe and offices for the Wisconsin Bike Fed, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Chris Kegel Foundation and startup Retail Toolkit. Wheel & Sprocket will also relocate its corporate headquarters to the facility from Hales Corners.

Architect Russell LaFrambois is leading the project’s design, while Project 4 Services is serving as the general contractor. An affiliate of Wheel & Sprocket acquired the building in 2017 for $695,000.

The new store will be 10th for the retailer and first in the city proper. Chris Kegel, who started as a bike mechanic and eventually became sole owner of the enterprise in 1989, unfortunately passed away in 2017 after a battle with a rare form of liver cancer. A fundraiser ride, Chris’ Slow Roll, is now held by his namesake foundation every year.

Two of Kegel’s children, Noel Kegel and Amelia Lukic-Kegel, co-own the business today with Noel serving as president and Amelia as director of marketing and events.

Noel shared photos earlier this week on social media that provide an up-close look at the restoration of a Milwaukee-made P&H 10-ton overhead crane in the building. Beyond the crane, the interior of the building will maintain other historical elements, including exposed Cream City brick. Though don’t expect the crane to get as much use as it did with the building’s many former industrial tenants.

Under the leadership of the Kegel family, Wheel & Sprocket has drawn praise from Trek, for which it retails bicycles, for its customer-first focus and community leadership.

The store and cafe will find a ready customer base when the doors are open; hundreds of new apartments have been constructed nearby in recent years including the large Stitchweld complex (291 units, sold last week for $54.3 million) and KinetiK (144 units, under construction).

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