Graham Kilmer
Eyes on Milwaukee

Coworking, Event Space Planned for Bronzeville

Nonprofit would offer low-cost co-working and events at intersection of MLK Drive and North Avenue.

By - Mar 3rd, 2022 03:51 pm
2220-2244 N. Martin Luther King Dr. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

2220-2244 N. Martin Luther King Dr. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

A new coworking facility and event space is planned for the southeast corner of N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. and W. North Ave.

The owners of Jewels Caribbean restaurant are developing the new complex in two vacant buildings they own immediately north of the restaurant, 2230 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.

Natasha Jules, her sister Lennora and their mother Lucile operate Curry Goat Entertainment LLC. The entity owns the row of four commercial buildings from 2220-2244 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. as well as the restaurant.

Natasha told Urban Milwaukee said they were constantly being approached for business advice. “As we were three black women who purchased this complex, and people were, for whatever reason, rather taken aback that we were able to accomplish this,” she said. The entrepreneur said people would tell them about their small business dreams.

So the Jules decided to start a nonprofit, Hewenorra Foundation, to build out a formal system for helping people get started with their small business dreams. They began with projects like workshops to help people with some basics on how to start a small business. Then they opened a retail pop-up called Queen Hustle Plaza.

Then the pandemic hit.

Now, they’re planning to convert the space, at 2238 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., into a facility for co-working and events. The plan is to create a low-cost, low-barrier-to-entry facility. Traditional office space and coworking sites are often too expensive for a lot of startups, Jules said. “People who literally have startup funds of maybe $1,000, it’s not gonna work for them.”

“We wanted to offer people, a quiet space away from everything else to get some work done,” she said.

Jules is thinking of the entrepreneur that’s working a full-time job while trying to get a small business off the ground in their spare time. “Working-class people barely have enough space just for themselves,” she said. “Most of them have children, it’s really hard to concentrate when other people are around.”

Working from home can be difficult when you’re sharing your living space with family or roommates, Jules said. And for startups and entrepreneurs, the space would provide the opportunity to host clients or other meetings outside of their living rooms and public cafes. The plan is to offer the space for a “very small fee, just to cover some basic expenses, and depending on how much we can raise, the charity would take care of the rest.”

Since they closed the Queen Hustle retail pop-up, Jules said they’ve received a number of inquiries seeking to use the space for small events. One woman wanted to launch an online cosmetics company, and wasn’t really interested in a retail storefront, rather, she wanted to use the space one-time for a party. “But we couldn’t accommodate her because we couldn’t serve alcohol,” Jules said. Others have approached them about fashion shows in the space, so they started thinking, “Maybe we should really get the license,” she said.

The nonprofit is seeking a liquor license and zoning approval from the city for their coworking and event space. Curry Goat has owned the four-building property since 2018.

Categories: Business, Weekly

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