North Holton Street Landscape Is Changing

The Arch-roof top groceries store buildings were scattered throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. Today, many of these formerly Kohl’s food store buildings with their distinctive and aesthetically design have been able to be repurposed for other uses; however, the North Holton Street Kohl’s food store building that was built in 1958 was not able to be saved. The building has been razed to make way for a new development opportunity along the Holton Street corridor called the Riverworks City Center. The Riverworks City Center is being developed and owned by Riverworks Development Corporation (RDC) in partnership with Local initiative Support Corporation (LISC), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Community Services, City of Milwaukee, Riverworks Business Improvement Districts and others.

These is a great opportunity to redevelopment a key property along the Holton corridor and build off the positive Beerline Recreational Trail project that is bringing life and excitement back into the area. The City Center Project includes two rehabilitation projects: 12,403 sq. ft. building at 518-26 East Concordia Avenue and 4,850 sq. ft. at 425 East Townsend Street. The rehabilitation of the Concordia Avenue building will provide 10,000 sq. ft. of additional space for the relocation of the RDC offices, Riverworks Business Improvement District, Riverworks’ Financial Opportunity Center, workforce development services and employment training programs for low-income persons. Included in the Concordia Avenue building will be 2,940 sq. ft. of the space for Affordable Worker Space; which is a social enterprise developed by Riverworks Development Corporation to provide office space and support services for business startups. Entrepreneurs can now get affordable communal offices with amenities from a co-working space. The space has two private offices, two phone booth areas, 20 to 25 desks, two private cubicles, Wi-Fi and access to the kitchen and small and large conference rooms (which could accommodate 6 up to 40 people) and available supportive services from the Financial Opportunity Center Coaches.

The property located at 425 East Townsend Street is an existing one story building with 4,850 sq. ft. This site is currently located at the central location of the Holton Street streetscape project where the Beerline Recreational Trail crosses Holton Street. Our objective is to rehabilitate the building into an attractive and functional condition, allowing Riverworks Development Corporation to use the building to expand its Riverworks Cleans Training and employment program.

The final building will be new construction of a 14,663 sq. ft. building at 3334 N. Holton Street that will be used to relocation of Family Dollar, which is currently housed in the Concordia Avenue building. Family Dollar will occupy 10,240 sq. ft. of space, and Spotlight Barber Shop/Hair Stylist has signed a Letter of Interest (LOI) for 4,423 sq. ft.; the balance of the space in the building.

RDC isn’t just constructing facilities; it is building hope and better lives for residents of the Harambee and Riverwest Neighborhoods. By increasing the organization’s capacity to serve and train more individuals and work with employers to place these individuals, RDC is working hard to build the local economy as well. We will continue to build off our current successes and look to replicate those things that unite and grow the communities we serve.

Darryl Johnson