Newaukee’s The Beacon Gets State Grant
Company still pursuing other financing for its Walker's Point development.
The grant will support the $4.4 million project, which the social architecture firm hopes to complete by 2021.
The City of Milwaukee would act as a pass-through agent for the grant. The Common Council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee approved its acceptance Tuesday morning.
NEWaukee CEO Angela Damiani said the firm, like many others, is facing drastic challenges related to the pandemic. “Upon reflection of that, it even more fortified our resolve,” said Damiani of the organization’s commitment to social connection.
In a normal year, the organization would be coming off YP Week and heading towards summer programming include the NEWaukee Night Market, Urban Island Beach Party and a host of other events. It’s now pivoting to providing much of that online.
Damiani and Chief Idea Officer Jeremy Fojut formed Place Based Development and partnered with developers JoAnne Sabir and Melissa Goins of Freedom Endeavors on the project. Sabir previously partnered with Juli Kaufmann on the Sherman Phoenix marketplace and Goins has developed a number of affordable housing projects throughout the city.
The partners have a contract to purchase the building from its longtime tenant, the Milwaukee Ballet, for just over $1 million.
The city has committed a $25,000 White Box program grant to the project. The program provides funds to build out commercial spaces for future tenants.
Other funding for the project comes from crowdfunding, equity investments and conventional financing. Jennifer Bartolotta announced an investment in the project in April. Fojut told Urban Milwaukee the firm is still working to finalize its financing package.
NEWaukee, currently located in an office at the CityCenter at 735 in East Town, will be the anchor tenant in the Walker’s Point building alongside its sister companies Newance, a talent retention and attraction firm, and Rev Collective, a startup focused on empowering and growing female leaders. Remaining office space and commercial space in the approximately 17,000-square-foot building will be available for lease.
For more on the project, see our coverage of its announcement in January.
Note: Jeramey Jannene serves on the NEWaukee Advisory Board.
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Related Legislation: File 200056