Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce Buys West Side Building
Plus: Warrior Wash coming to 60th and Main. And a recap of week's real estate news.
The Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce is the new owner of a 123-year-old warehouse and office complex on Milwaukee’s Near West Side. It’ll be used to support the chamber’s goal of launching and growing 3,000 Black-owned businesses.
The 25,600-square-foot complex at 2900 W. Vliet St. will be redeveloped for office space for the chamber and space for its member organizations. It’s been used for most of its life as a tool-and-die shop.
In 2022, the chamber was awarded $5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding from Governor Tony Evers. The organization was one of 24 chambers included in a larger $86 million award to support small businesses.
Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce CEO and chairman Ruben Hopkins said the money would support the organization’s 3,000 Black Business Challenge. Every other Saturday the organization hosts a bootcamp, offering entrepreneurs technical assistance, guidance on accessing financing and capacity building strategies.
The chamber is currently located a block to the west, at 3020 W. Vliet St. City property records indicate the organization leases the property from the Wisconsin African American Women’s Center. Hopkins, in a 2022 profile on the intiative, said the chamber planned to buy a building with a portion of the ARPA grant.
The chamber has a mission of making Black people the largest employers of Black people. It is organized as a 501(c)(6) association to serve its members.
The Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce is not to be confused with the African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization based on N. Martin Luther King Dr.
The building, according to historic newspaper articles and advertisements, was long home to Stanek Tool (formerly Stanek Tool & Manufacturing Co.). It was publicly listed for sale in 1973, and starting in 1974 hiring ads refer to it as the home for Metal Plate & Products. A fading sign on the building marks the company’s long-gone presence. The first-floor windows were long-ago filled with bricks while the second-floor windows were boarded over.
The property was listed with Dave Ferron of Cushman & Wakefield | Boerke. The original asking price was $550,000.
It had been owned by Muhammad Shammout‘s 414 Enterprises since 2014 according to city assessment records. Listing photos show the building was most recently used for storage. Shammout also owns 007 Furniture, 1301 W. Vliet St.
Warrior Wash Coming To West Side
A new car wash will replace a vacant industrial building at the corner of S. 60th St. and W. Main St. near the border of Milwaukee and West Allis. A building permit was filed this week with the Department of Neighborhood Services.
The permit gives a job cost of $974,500 for the new building, described as a tunnel car wash, which would cover 6,174 square feet according to the permit request. The property, previously home to Roman Electric Co. Inc., covers 64,033 square feet and includes a 13,946-square-foot, industrial building.
The property, 640 S. 70th St., was acquired in February 2021 for $825,000 by a limited liability company that lists Carrie Pietrzykowski as its agent. The acquiring business’s address is the Warrior Wash car wash on Janesville Road in Muskego.
Construction Solutions Midwest is listed as the general contractor. Illinois-based Archamerica is the design firm on the project.
We Energies Readies New Steam HQ At Valley Power Plant
We Energies is nearing completion on a new $5.5 million home for its steam infrastructure team.
Known as the District Energy Headquarters, the 15,000-square-foot building is rising just west of the Valley Power Plant (VAPP), 1019 W. Canal St. The new structure includes a 4,700-square-foot office and 10,300-square-foot garage.
The employees that will work in the facility maintain a steam distribution system with 3.5 miles of tunnels, 40 miles of steam lines and approximately 480 customers.
Customers, primarily in office buildings and downtown apartments, use the system to heat their buildings as well as to create hot water and other practical uses (at least one downtown athletic club used it to heat a sauna until recently). Steam runs through the walkable tunnels in high-pressure pipes. The steam originally came from waste heat from the coal-powered VAPP, but the plant was converted to burning natural gas in 2015.
New Vape Shop Will Beat City’s Ban
Championed by Alderman Jonathan Brostoff, Milwaukee’s moratorium on the opening of new electronic cigarette (vape) stores will go into effect Friday. But at least one more new store is already coming.
“We are taking a very short break on this particular issue in order to collect ourselves, come up with the precise and appropriate legislation for long-term resolutions and protect the health, safety and welfare of our residents,” said Brostoff when the council voted on the matter Feb. 7. “This is an item that has a track record of targeting our children.”
The moratorium lasts through August 1 and blocks the issuance of occupancy permits for new vape stores. On Feb. 15, Mayor Cavalier Johnson signed the proposal, unanimously approved by the council, but the timing of publishing the required public notice has the date of its first enactment set for Feb. 25.
Brostoff said he was motivated to act, in part, by the proliferation of the stores along Brady Street on the Lower East Side. And even though he got the moratorium passed, another vape shop will soon open on the Lower East Side.
Juneau Village Adding Amenity Building
Milwaukee’s largest apartment complex is getting a major upgrade.
Juneau Village Towers, 1029 N. Jackson St., will receive a new, $4.8 million amenity building.
Residents of the 598 apartments in the three-building complex will find a courtyard replaced with a 9,725-square-foot building that includes a community room, private dining room, new fitness center, yoga room, package delivery locker system and a new building management office. A glassy western side of the building will open to the complex’s outdoor pool, which will see its perimeter surface and fencing replaced as part of the project.
Juneau Village was completed in 1966 as a luxury apartment complex with an adjacent retail center. The signature building stands 27 stories tall, and until recently was one of the taller apartment buildings in the city. A two-level, underground parking structure spans the length of the property, which runs from E. State St. to E. Juneau Ave.
Park East Apartment Building Progressing
Construction could soon be starting on a new apartment complex at the northern edge of Downtown.
Stevens Construction, on behalf of Chicago-based LG Group, filed for an erosion control permit necessary to construct what is planned to be a U-shaped, 197-unit apartment building at 1333-1339 N. Milwaukee St.
Korb + Associates Architects is designing the building, which would occupy a 1.3-acre sloped site that runs along E. Ogden Ave. between N. Broadway and N. Milwaukee St. The property is between Viets Field and the Convent Hill senior housing complex.
The estimated job cost on the permit is listed at $46 million. An LG affiliate paid $5 million for the vacant property in May 2022.
Former Atkinson Ave. Church for Sale
The City of Milwaukee is looking for a new owner to breathe life back into a one-story, 5,076-square-foot commercial building most recently used as a church.
Located just off Interstate 43, the building fills the northeast corner of the five-pointed intersection of W. Atkinson Ave., N. 11th St. and W. Nash St. It’s addressed as 1036 W. Atkinson Ave., though it used to have several storefronts facing W. Atkinson Ave. and N. 11th St.
The building has housed virtually every type of use imaginable, from a doughnut shop to a tool-and-dye company. But, based on city research, it never was home to a bar. Past tenants in the five commercial spaces include Atomic Research and Engineering Corp., Dependable Disposal Co., Atkinson Paint and Hardware, Whitehall Pharmacy, Shuster-Keller Engineering Co., Thompson Cleaners and Dyers, an unidentified restaurant, an unnamed music studio for teachers, something in 1935 labeled simply as “potato chips” and Alpha Electronics.
It’s likely best known for its use as a church.
State’s Housing Shortage Worse for Marginalized Groups
While Wisconsin’s housing shortage has posed major hurdles for renters and prospective homebuyers, it’s been especially difficult for the state’s marginalized communities.
The state needs to build at least 140,000 housing units by the end of the decade to keep pace with current demand, and that number jumps to 227,000 units if Wisconsin hopes to grow its working-age population, according to a report by Forward Analytics, the research arm of the Wisconsin Counties Association.
As a result of the shortage, African Americans, immigrants, refugees, young members of the LGBTQ+ community and domestic violence victims have struggled to find quality affordable housing, according to a new report from Green Bay’s Equal Rights Commission.
“We serve so many clients every day at our agency — from domestic violence, to sexual assault to youth programming — and the No. 1 disparity that exists right now in our community is sadly housing,” said Robin Scott, executive director of We All Rise African American Resource Center, at a Green Bay Common Council meeting last Tuesday.
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