The development plan aims to heal Milwaukee’s Sherman Park after 2016 tragedy resulted in neighborhood damage.
Sherman Phoenix, a model for healing our city and building community, is nearing its $3.5 million campaign goal. With the help of over 100 investors and donors, $2.5 million has been raised to fund Sherman Phoenix. Currently, $1 million more is needed before the building can be completed.
Once completed, Sherman Phoenix will house 17+ small businesses, which will contribute to 75+ new jobs in the neighborhood. To further encourage entrepreneurship in communities of color, Sherman Phoenix will also provide mentorship and coaching for tenants who have signed to be part of the effort.
Spearheading the project is Milwaukee developer Juli Kaufmann and local entrepreneur Joanne Johnson-Sabir, who looked at the remnants of the burned down bank branch as a way to quite literally rebuild community.
“We are amazed by the strength of our tenants and how well their vision for the neighborhood matches ours,” said Juli Kaufmann, president of Fix Development and co-founder of the project,
In 2016, violent unrest broke out in the Sherman Park neighborhood of Milwaukee after a fatal police shooting rocked the community. In the weeks following, community conversations identified the need for safe, welcoming neighborhood spaces, and certain leaders in the community decided to take matters into their own hands in order to foster change. In the hopes of moving forward — the idea for the Sherman Phoenix was born.
The Sherman Phoenix will transform the fire-damaged BMO Harris Bank building located at the eastern gateway to the Sherman Park neighborhood into high-quality space for small businesses-of-color offering diverse foods, wellness services and cultural activities. Updates to the neighborhood will include much-needed community spaces to curate art exhibits, film showings, and cultural events.
“The power for this project not only comes from donations, but also from the people and the tenants who have joined this movement,” said Joanne Sabir, co-owner of The Juice Kitchen and co-founder of Sherman Phoenix. “The overall commitment to the betterment of this neighborhood has blown us away.”