Jeramey Jannene
Plats and Parcels

Safe & Sound Moving To New Home

Plus: A new owner for historic building, MSOE's new stem center and the weekly recap.

By - Oct 24th, 2021 01:48 pm
4422 W. Leon Tr. Photo courtesy of Safe & Sound.

Photo courtesy of Safe & Sound.

Safe & Sound, a nonprofit organization focused on neighborhood safety, is relocating to the Roosevelt Grove neighborhood.

It purchased a former church at 4422 W. Leon Tr. for $535,000. Originally built in 1932, the building has spent most of its life as a home for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is located just north of the intersection of N. Sherman Blvd. and W. Fond du Lac Ave. and on the edge of the Sherman Park neighborhood.

The 11,750-square-foot Mormon church will see its sanctuary become an open workspace. Safe & Sound has 10 target neighborhoods and its website boasts a roster of 24 employees, including interns. The nonprofit was founded in 1998.

“This new space will house our current staff, while also giving us room for future growth as we look to serve even more residents in Milwaukee. This new building also gives us space to now host community meetings and programming while creating space that can be used by our partners and the residents we serve,” said executive director Joe’Mar Hooper in a statement.

Community development financial institution Forward Community Investments supported the purchase.

Safe & Sound hired JCP Construction to lead the buildout and DreamBuilders to perform design services. Both firms are minority-owned, a fact highlighted by Safe & Sound. It hopes to fully occupy the facility, which city records refer to as 3755 N. 44th St., in early 2022.

The nonprofit currently leases space in a Westown office building owned by Marquette University at 801 W. Michigan St. It is colocated with the North Central High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, a federally-backed partnership of law enforcement agencies.

That office building is part of a larger collection of property assembled for a now-canceled athletic and human performance center. Marquette, according to multiple partners, is now pursuing redevelopment of the site. Bear Development secured low-income housing tax credits to develop an apartment building on a portion of the site.

Johnson Financial Building Sold

As previously reported in our piece on Johnson Financial Group opening a new office in the Cathedral Place office building, the company was going to sell its former office building at 329-331 E. Wisconsin Ave. to the Levine family.

That transaction has now closed, with an investment group led by Michael Levine buying the property for $1.3 million.

Michael and his father Robert A. Levine own much of the non-hotel portion of the block. The two are attorneys, with an office at 630 N. Broadway.

Up until this month, Johnson had owned and occupied the 17,000-square-foot, Italianate-style building since 2000. Built in 1867 as part of the larger Follansbee Block building, Johnson’s Cream City brick-clad portion was eventually separated. The portion to the west was redeveloped into the Milwaukee Marriott Downtown a decade ago.

“It’s a cool old building, but it’s not a terribly functional building for an office building,” said Johnson CEO Jim Popp of the ability to subdivide the property for multiple tenants. He said an open-air, central staircase prevents leasing individual floors to different tenants.

The Levines will now attempt to find that ideal tenant.

MSOE Celebrates STEM Center Opening

The final piece of Milwaukee School of Engineering’s Viets Field, a parking garage and athletic field complex, is now complete.

The 10,000-square-foot space that faces N. Water St. and a pocket park was originally targeted at a commercial tenant, but after it sat unoccupied for more than five years, the university pivoted to developing a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) center to support its K-12 outreach efforts.

MSOE reports more than 15,000 students from 150 schools have gone through its programs since 2017.

The new facility, formally known as the We Energies Stem Center, opened in late September. It includes a flexible technology studio, design lab, machine tooling area and a FIRST Robotics playing field.

The facility is also supported by Rockwell Automation, Northwestern Mutual and American Family Insurance. Milwaukee Tool provided tools to support programming. Scott and Linda Haag made a donation in support of the program.

Ramlow/Stein Architecture + Interiors led the design, Catalyst Construction served as the general contractor.

Weekly Recap

Milwaukee Tool Readying Downtown Office

The rendering of Milwaukee Tool‘s proposed downtown office undersold the amount of work the building at 501 W. Michigan St. would undergo.

An image released earlier this year, as the Common Council debated an up to $20 million subsidy agreement to bring up to 2,000 employees from the Brookfield-based company to Westown, depicted a large Milwaukee Tool logo added to a windowless portion of the otherwise drab office building. Red paint, matching the company’s color scheme, was to be added to the covered entryway.

But what’s happening to the five-story, 370,000-square-foot building is far beyond just a new logo and coat of paint.

Read the full article

New High School Marks Growth of Hmong Community

Friday was a big day for Hmong American Peace Academy (HAPA) founder and CEO Chris Her-Xiong.

“I have been dreaming about this for 17 years,” she told Governor Tony Evers and Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Keith P. Posley as she gave the officials a tour of HAPA’s new high school.

She’s actually been thinking about education for much longer. “HAPA began as the dream of a 10-year-old girl fleeing Laos,” she told the audience in attendance for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Her family had fought alongside the United States in an anti-communist effort, leading to them and many others fleeing in 1975.

The school became a reality in 2004, and ultimately grew to include kindergarten through 12th grade at three separate campuses. Now, the nonprofit charter school is working to build new facilities to consolidate at one site.

Read the full article

Podcast Production Company Opens Downtown Studio, Office

Podcamp Media, a fast-growing podcast production firm, announced Thursday it has opened an office and studio in a historic downtown building.

Launched in summer 2019 by communications professional Dustin Weis, the company offers branded podcast production for a variety of clients.

Weis, 36, originally hoped to open a studio in spring 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic put those plans on hold.

“Two years was a long time to be doing professional podcast production out of my home studio, especially with a couple of toddlers stomping around upstairs,” said Weis. “Our team members, our clients and I have found creative ways to ‘make it work’ up to this point, and we will continue to offer hybrid virtual work arrangements. But it is a relief to finally have a studio where we can record, collaborate, and show off all that Milwaukee has to offer when our out-of-town clients come to visit.”

Read the full article

Raynetta Hill Will Lead King Drive BID

Following a national search, Milwaukee’s Historic King Drive Business Improvement District named Raynetta Hill as executive director.

Hill, in an interview, praised the work of her predecessor Deshea Agee and said she is “taking the torch and running with it.”

Like Agee and area Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs, she has a simple goal: “For King Drive to continue to be the best King Drive in the nation.”

Read the full article

Redevelopment Plans Dropped For Downtown Post Office

Don’t expect the United States Postal Service to abandon its downtown facility, Milwaukee Main Post Office, anytime soon.

The property, 341 W. St. Paul Ave., was sold Tuesday to an affiliate of Postal Realty Trust. The New York-based company owns more than 880 properties leased to USPS.

The trust acquired the Milwaukee property, with 941,109 square feet of space, for $15 million from Chicago-based R2 Companies, ending the company’s plans to redevelop the property.

Read the full article

New Cafe Planned For First Floor of 88Nine Building

The vacant cafe space at 88Nine Radio Milwaukee‘s headquarters will soon see new life. It has been vacant since Stone Creek Coffee closed its cafe in November.

A new cafe and eatery is slated to open in the space, 220 E. Pittsburgh Ave., in February.

The nonprofit radio station announced a $770,000 renovation plan for its two-story headquarters Tuesday that includes expanding the space, adding a kitchen and reconfiguring the outdoor seating area. The cafe space connects with the adjacent 100-seat performance space used for concerts and community meetings.

Read the full article

Dairy-Centric Apartment Building Wins Plan Commission Approval

A proposal to redevelop a two-story industrial building into apartments on Milwaukee’s East Side secured its first approval Monday afternoon.

Developer Kendall Breunig would convert the building at 1617-1633 E. North Ave. to 17 apartments. But that would involve rezoning the property from “Industrial Light, IL2” to “Local Business, LB3.”

Wisconsin Historical Society report on the 29,076-square-foot building says the structure was built in 1946 for Dairy Distributors, Inc. It describes the style as Art Moderne.

The building includes a bar, though not for the type of drinking done in most Milwaukee bars.

Read the full article

Triciclo Peru Owners Could Buy Vliet Street Building

Milwaukee might need to rename Vliet Street to Empanada Drive.

Triciclo Peru, a Peruvian restaurant, opened its first brick-and-mortar restaurant in December 2019 at 3801 W. Vliet St. and, despite the pandemic, the business is thriving.

Co-owner Amy Narr presented plans to the City Plan Commission Monday afternoon to purchase the city-owned properties at 3610 W. Vliet St. and 3616 W. Vliet St. for use as a production space. The property needs to be rezoned to accommodate Triciclo’s plans.

“This is an opportunity for us to continue to grow from food truck to restaurant to production space,” said Narr.

Read the full article

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