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Walnut Way Conservation Corporation, a neighborhood-based nonprofit known for its innovative work in wellness, environmental conservation, and economic development, is taking the next steps forward in completing the Innovations and Wellness Commons (IWC), Phase II. Phase II is a commercial development project focused on health and wellness services. Walnut Way has secured JCP Construction as the General Contractor and Emem Group as the Real Estate Owner Representative. Walnut Way is ready to break ground on Phase II of the project this fall.
“We have established an amazing team of local development professionals whose values and mission are align with our mission at Walnut Way,” said Antonio Butts, Walnut Way Executive Director. Emem Group has a successful history in construction management and socially responsible renovation projects in Lindsay Heights. Emem Group was founded by Michael Emem in 2014. Emem, a Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award Winner, has 14 years of experience in workforce diversity practices, commercial, residential, and multi-family projects.
“JCP Construction will be our General Contractor on the project. They historically employ a workforce that demonstrates their commitment to diversity and echoes the make-up of the community in which we serve. In addition, they have a strong track record,” said Butts. JCP Construction’s portfolio includes the Milwaukee Bucks Arena, Milwaukee Mitchell Airport, and Northwestern Mutual.
The Innovations & Wellness Commons is a two-phased project. Phase I was a complete renovation of an existing building and was completed in 2015. Its tenants include Milwaukee Center for Independence which operates a commercial kitchen, Fondy Food Center offices, and Basia Rose Designs.
Phase II is a new construction 5,470 sq. ft. 1.5 story building built on the parking lot adjacent to Phase I. Phase II will include a 2,000 sq. ft. rooftop terrace and convening space overlooking W. North Avenue that will serve as a community gathering space for up to 130 people. Phase II focuses on health, wellness, and employment pipeline support for wellness professionals to improve individual health and strengthen a culture of wellness in Lindsay Heights.
“The Commons is a direct response to a demand for wellness services and desire for local business owners to grow and scale their services. We know that over 56% of commercial properties in the Lindsay Heights are blighted, making it difficult for small business owners to renovate and move into businesses in the area to serve their clientele without significant financial backing,” said Antonio Butts, Executive Director of Walnut Way. “Phase II is two-fold. We can support local business owners by offering affordable, ready to use spaces and create a hub for residents to receive services that focus on their well-being.”
Confirmed tenants include: Wisconsin Area Health Education Centers, Living Well by Marrika (counseling), Perseverance Health and Wellness (nutritionist), Universal Minds (counseling) and Perspectives (counseling), and Saving Ourselves (counseling and programs).
Phase II will begin construction in fall 2019 with an intended completion of July 2020. Walnut Way is the owner and developer with Antonio Butts, Executive Director, acting as key agents. The architect is Mayer-Helminiak, LLC, who also designed The Wellness Commons Phase I. Reinhart Boerner & Van Deuren head the legal team.