Near West Side Partners, Inc.
Press Release

Concordia 27 Commercial Kitchen Now Operating; CFI Cooking, Delivering Thousands of Healthy Meals Per Day

Centers for Independence is the first occupant of the Near West Side community center, which is currently being completed and will welcome additional tenants and services later this Spring

By - Feb 13th, 2024 09:45 am

MILWAUKEE – Near West Side Partners (NWSP) and the Centers for Independence (CFI) are proud to share that the brand-new commercial kitchen in Concordia 27 is now in use and supporting the health and wellness of the greater Milwaukee community. CFI is the first occupant of Concordia 27, a comprehensive community center that will bring health and wellness-related service providers and resources together under one roof.

CFI’s Food and Nutrition Service team is operating the kitchen and providing healthy meals each weekday to partnering schools and daycares in the greater Milwaukee area. In addition to supporting the wellness of youth through healthy food, the program also provides employment opportunities for individuals who previously experienced barriers, such as disabilities and past criminal convictions. By March 1, the CFI team will produce 12,000 meals per day at the C27 kitchen and expects to grow production to 18,000 meals per day by August.

“Our Food and Nutrition Services programs are one element of the Centers for Independence efforts to foster hope with our food and employment services. With this program, it is our mission to promote and protect healthy school environments by ensuring that everyone we serve has access to safe, nutritious, and appealing food options,” said Heidi Chada, Vice President of Employment for CFI. “Concordia 27 will allow even more members of our community to access these nutritious meals and will be a beautiful gathering space where CFI and other partners can provide health and wellness resources.”

In addition to preparing and providing meals for school- and daycare-based partners, CFI will also provide the following services from Concordia 27:

  • Nutritional wellness programming for the community, offering Near West Side residents opportunities to learn from registered dietitians about how to cook nutritious meals and develop a healthy relationship with food; in 2023, more than 700 youths in the Milwaukee-area received Nutrition Wellness education as part of this program.
  • Hands-on job training for those starting a career in food service; in 2023, more than 350 people were placed in jobs through the CFI employment services program, and the Concordia 27 commercial kitchen will enable CFI to make an even greater impact in the community.

CFI’s use of the Concordia 27 commercial kitchen is just one example of how Near West Side Partners is creating a community-focused space that will improve the quality of life in the Near West Side and beyond.

“Concordia 27 is a transformational project, showcasing the positive momentum, diversity and investment in the Near West Side,” said Lindsey St Arnold Bell, Executive Director of Near West Side Partners. “We’re thrilled to have such a great partner as our first anchor tenant – a huge step forward for our vision of Concordia 27 as a welcoming space where our community can gather and access vital resources to support their health and quality of life.”

The completion of the commercial kitchen marks a major milestone in the renovation of Concordia 27. Later this Spring, the rest of Concordia 27 will open to the public, including a cafe, six retail spaces that will be available for small business owners or local artisans, community event and meeting space, and offices for CFI, Fruition MKE, Scaling Wellness in Milwaukee (SWIM) and Near West Side Partners (NWSP). It is anticipated that the 33 affordable housing units being developed above the community center will open to tenants in early 2025.

About Concordia 27
Concordia 27 is a resident-driven project born from priorities the community identified as part of Harley-Davidson’s 2021 Appreciative Inquiry Summit. This community center will support the wellness of Near West Side residents and the broader City of Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin communities. Part apartment building, part hub for resources and career development, and part gathering space, Concordia 27 is the culmination of a vision that residents, stakeholders and businesses have been working toward since 2015.

Concordia 27 will include:

  • Daily fresh, affordable meals-to-go to address food insecurity for more than 1,000 residents,
  • Nutritious school meals for more than 15,000 low-income students at 125 schools in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine and Kenosha,
  • A commercial incubator kitchen operated by CFI to provide culinary workforce training opportunities for youth and adults with intellectual disabilities and those previously incarcerated, and where food entrepreneurs can work to launch their businesses;
  • 33 affordable housing units for senior citizens and working families,
  • Community gathering space with demonstration kitchen to foster community engagement,
  • Dedicated commercial spaces for nonprofits Centers for Independence (CFI), Scaling Wellness in Milwaukee (SWIM) and Near West Side Partners (NWSP) to provide nutrition, wellness services, housing resources and expanded minority business entrepreneurial support, and
  • Convenient access to transit through MCTS’s Bus Rapid Transit line.

The project will create new full-time job opportunities, space for community engagement, and support entrepreneurs and small businesses as they grow and generate additional jobs to strengthen the local economy – expanding the impact of Concordia 27 even beyond the Near West Side.

Concordia 27 is being supported with funding from the State of Wisconsin, Milwaukee County, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and other generous partners.

About Centers for Independence
Since its founding in 1938, the Centers for Independence has strengthened communities by helping people advance their total health. CFI is dedicated to assisting people of all ages and abilities achieve their fullest level of independence through a supportive environment that fosters hope. CFI’s unmatched breadth of services and resources allows others to find value in themselves and see a path forward.

About Near West Side Partners
Near West Side Partners, Inc. (NWSP) is a non-profit organization with a mission to revitalize and sustain the Near West Side as a thriving business and residential corridor, through collaborative efforts to promote commercial corridor development, improved housing, unified neighborhood identity and branding, and greater safety for residents and businesses. NWSP was founded through the support of business and civic leaders, including the organization’s five anchor institutions – Aurora Health Care, Harley-Davidson, Marquette University, Molson Coors and Potawatomi Business Development Corp.

NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. While it is believed to be reliable, Urban Milwaukee does not guarantee its accuracy or completeness.

Recent Press Releases by Near West Side Partners, Inc.

Near West Side Partners, Elected and Community Leaders Cut Ribbon to Celebrate Opening of Concordia 27

New, comprehensive community center and resource hub opens on Milwaukee’s Near West Side

Concordia 27 Commercial Kitchen Now Operating; CFI Cooking, Delivering Thousands of Healthy Meals Per Day

Centers for Independence is the first occupant of the Near West Side community center, which is currently being completed and will welcome additional tenants and services later this Spring

Milwaukee County Paves the Way for Sustainable, Affordable Housing in Near West Side Partner’s Concordia 27 Development

NWSP grateful for $2 million in funds to support affordable housing as part of the comprehensive community center

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