The social architecture agency NEWaukee has contracted to purchase and plans to redevelop the Historic Schlitz Tivoli Palm Garden building at 504 W. National Ave in Walker’s Point.

NEWaukee co-founders Angela Damiani and Jeremy Fojut have founded Place Based Development, a new development company. The first development site is the two-story, 16,000-square-foot Historic Schlitz Tivoli Palm Garden building, which is currently vacant. NEWaukee is partnering with Milwaukee developers JoAnne Sabir and Melissa Goins from Freedom Endeavors to lead the project, named The Beacon.

“Over the past ten years, we have studied how people move through spaces and have created unique, catalytic programming throughout the City of Milwaukee,” said Damiani. “Now, we are excited to take all of this experience and apply it in the development of a permanent, physical home for NEWaukee and the community at large.”

The Beacon will be a hub for social innovation and entrepreneurship, combating social isolation through connectivity and creating dozens of jobs by 2021. Preliminary plans for the mixed-use development include 8,500 sq. ft. of open office and meeting spaces, 6,000 sq. ft. of flexible event space, and 1,500 sq. ft. for an independently owned and operated cafe/bar.

Unlike any other office, retail, or restaurant experience in the region, the development will feature a true melting pot of Milwaukee’s food, art, tech, music, makers, and innovation cultures. Based on community response, the project will include frequent programming, connectivity to the City’s amenities and wrap-around business services to support small business tenants.

For nearly a decade, NEWaukee’s mission has been people fall in love with Milwaukee, through programs and initiatives motivate young residents to look critically at the city, to realize its potential and feel empowered to be a part of shaping its future.

“NEWaukee’s mission is to change the way people connect, creating a beacon of belonging in the communities we work with,” said Damiani. “This project will be the physical embodiment of that mission.”

NEWaukee, as well as its sister companies Newance and Rev Collective, plan to serve as anchor tenants in the building. The remaining office and retail space is available and open for other social enterprises and small businesses eager to co-locate within this new ecosystem focused on social connectivity.

“The Beacon will provide a physical space for an inclusive and vibrant gathering of local artisans, makers, tech startups, small businesses, and the customers they serve,” added Damiani. “We believe the investment in the Walker’s Point area will have a ripple effect not only on that neighborhood, but also on the City as a whole, due to the extensive programmatic layers of the development.”

Renovations at the building will be led by Kubala Washatko Architects and Greenfire Construction. NEWaukee and its development team has already raised nearly $615,000 of its target $3.4 million project budget.

© Photo

Michael Marten