Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Commission Okays Rezoning for Wantable

Company to double in size, add public cafe to new Walker's Point headquarters.

By - Mar 9th, 2020 03:05 pm
123 E. Walker St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

123 E. Walker St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The City Plan Commission recommended rezoning a Walker’s Point building to accommodate the relocation of personalized women’s clothing service company,  Wantable.

The eight-year-old company, led by Jalem Getz, would move its headquarters from a leased-building on the same block, at 112 E. Mineral St. to a two-story building at 123 E. Walker St. It may also add a rooftop deck and third-floor office space at the new location.

“We’ve been growing pretty quickly,” said Getz on Monday. The company has 50 to 70 employees at its headquarters now, but the new facility would accommodate up to 140.

A public cafe, known as Wantable Cafe, would be included in the new space. “We think it will be a great representation of how to attract and retain employees,” said Getz in a February interview about the headquarters plan, which he billed as the first of its kind for Milwaukee. He said the cafe, which still needs an operator, would be available for event rentals and neighborhood residents. “We are still kind of early in that process.” He confirmed Monday that planning is ongoing.

Commissioner Darryl Johnson asked how the company manages parking for all of its employees. Getz said the company owns one 30-stall parking lot and leases space in two others, but most employees don’t drive to work. “The vast majority of our employees use public transit or Uber,” said Getz. “I’m the old guy that drives.”

Wantable bills itself as an “online lifestyle service for women on the go.” The company ships customers packages of makeup, fashion accessories and clothing based on style profiles created online. “All of the fullfilment happens down by the airport,” said Getz of an approximately 70-employee warehouse facility.

The proposal has the support of the Department of City Development. “In general the Water and Land Use Plan (WALUP) recommends intensifying uses near transit stops and encouraging existing businesses to grow,” said planning manager Vanessa Koster.

The commission unanimously recommended changing the industrial parcel’s zoning to accommodate the office use.

The project has a $3.5 million budget according to an application filed with the city. A property listing on Loopnet shows the property has a list price of $1.745 million. The 0.48-acre property is located within a federally-designated Opportunity Zone.

Getz, through his Republic Holdings investment firm, would acquire the building from Rockwell Automation and lease it to Wantable.

Project consultant Michael DeMichele said the building has been owned by Rockwell for 40 years and used as a garage. “It’s very well built. It will be great for this operation,” said DeMichele. The building was built in 1915 for Standard Oil.

The development’s design is being led by Gregg Prossen and his firm, Consortium ae.

The zoning application indicates the building could also include a residential unit in the future.

Wantable proposed moving to a former Pick ‘n Save grocery store in Clarke Square in 2017, but was outbid on the property said Getz. Cristo Rey Jesuit High School acquired the property, demolished the building and is now constructing a $33 million school on the site.

The proposal for Wantable will next go before the full Common Council.

123 E. Walker St.

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