Young Development Group
Press Release

Black Developer Offers Community $30+ Million Opportunity to Own The Block


By - Jun 19th, 2020 03:24 pm

Milwaukee, Wis., June 19, 2020 – In celebration of the Juneteenth holiday, Lavelle Young, Developer of the Martin Luther King Jr. Library Redevelopment Project, announced Friday, an opportunity for community members “to pledge support and interest in participating in a community ownership model” of the project.

This effort is not only to commemorate the 155th Anniversary of Juneteenth, a day remembering the end of slavery in America, but also to utilize group economics as a way to build and empower community through collective ownership of “The Block”. This name echos the popular hashtag that encourages Black people to #buytheblock in their communities.

Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on MLK Drive, literally across the street from his project, Young shares, “Milwaukee has been known to host one of the largest Juneteenth celebrations every year. Growing up in the heart of the Juneteenth festival, I consistently received first hand experience of that celebratory spirit of our liberation.”

Young won the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the MLK Library back in December 2016. Since then, the project has doubled in size to $30+ million of economic impact, acquired more land, and now includes two apartment buildings. This phase one full block redevelopment project includes a brand new 18,000 sq. ft. MLK Library Branch on the southern end of the block with 44 apartment units above. A second apartment building on the northern end of the block will include an additional 47 units for a total of 91 apartment units. In phase two, Young has plans to redevelop the 93 year old historic Garfield Theatre located in the middle of the block.

“It’s gruesome to turn on the TV and frequently see a Black man that looks like me, lynched. It’s even more nightmarish to live in a city that has consistently topped most, if not all, major cities as the worst place for Black people to live,” said Young.

155 years later, our city is still figuring out what true emancipation and liberation looks like for Black Americans. But all along, Martin Luther King Jr. already said it best:

“It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note [US Constitution], insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds.’

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.”

To pledge your support and interest in participating in a community ownership model of The Block, visit

Mentioned in This Press Release

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