Building rendering

GMF-MCW Partnership

Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the GMF-MCW Partnership?
This is a historic, community-based partnership founded on a joint vision for a Milwaukee that is equitable, healthy and thriving for all.
Why are the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and Medical College of Wisconsin partnering?
The GMF-MCW Partnership was born out of a common interest in making a catalytic, place-based investment that would improve the quality of life for the communities both organizations serve. Our intention is to join with community and work in partnership with all residents to build on the vibrant history and assets in our city as well as solve persistent challenges. This investment in people and place includes the restoration and redevelopment of 2153 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive – once Gimbel’s-Schuster’s Department Store – to bring new resources and opportunity to the community while serving as GMF’s new home and housing MCW’s community engagement programs.
Who are the partners?
Medical College of Wisconsin, Greater Milwaukee Foundation and Royal Capital Group are the current partners. Other community partners will be identified over time.
Why was this site chosen?
Site selection was a rigorous process. Both qualitative and quantitative criteria were used to help determine best site, along with gaining input from neighborhoods.

20 sites were identified within the boundaries of

  • South: I-94
  • North: Capital Drive
  • East: N 1st Street
  • West: 27th Street

2153 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive has both historic and present-day significance.

How is community engagement being done?
The partners are committed to a robust community engagement plan that includes:
  • Public visioning sessions
  • 1:1 interviews
  • Community events and activities

Through an asset mapping exercise and a series of neighborhood conversations, early ideas are emerging for specific services and investments, such as community gathering space, that would enhance the richness of the neighborhood and increase the quality of life for residents. This process, which will be jointly managed by the partners, follows a model used by GMF that has been repeated in communities across the country and leads to strategic investments and engaged neighbors who serve as partners in the work.

Community Meet and Greet - May 18, 2019, at America’s Black Holocaust Museum

Visioning Session #1 – Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019, at Sojourner Family Peace Center

Visioning Session #2 – Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, at America’s Black Holocaust Museum

Visioning Session #3 – Friday, Oct. 11th, 2019, at On the Bayou

Visioning Session #4, #5 and #6 to be held in 2020

One-on-one Interviews are being conducted, with a goal of completing about 50.

How many people will be in the building?
MCW anticipate approximately 75 current employees will relocate to the space with additional capacity for student use and flexible work space.

GMF will be moving its full physical plant and entire staff of about 55 employees to the site. 

Additional partners, as they join, will add to these numbers, as will the adjoining residential component.

Will there be housing included in the project?
Royal Capital Group estimates it will provide more than 70 units of residential housing, ranging from one- to four-bedroom units. The units will be available to a mix of different household incomes.
What type of parking is included in the development?
A parking structure estimated to include more than 300 parking spaces is being developed for the southwestern corner of the property with community input. Its façade is being designed with greenery and/or public art in mind.

The Partnership will work with the city to maximize parking for neighborhood residents.

Will the building include community space?
A significant amount of space has been reserved for neighborhood use, which is being determined through our community engagement process.
Will the historic aspects of the building be preserved?
Yes, a consultant is engaged to ensure the historic integrity of the building, and the original façade will be exposed and featured in the final design.

Engberg Anderson and Kahler Slater are the architect and design firms involved.

Approximately $12.5 million in historic tax credits were awarded for this building.

Beyond the building, what will the partnership do?
Together, the Foundation and MCW will: 
  • Engage resident and community partnerships.
  • Improve social determinants of health.
  • Catalyze change that leverages resources and investment.

Our work together will be informed by people in the surrounding neighborhood and community beyond, and by data. The partnership will enable MCW and the Foundation to bring complementary expertise on a range of strategies to invest in the educational, social and economic well-being and health of people across Milwaukee.

MCW and GMF both have programs and do work that is citywide and even regionwide. Our joint efforts and expanded partnerships will be designed to impact people throughout Milwaukee.

Our initial place-based investment will focus on our direct neighbors in Halyard Park, Harambee and Brewers Hill.

Together, we will identify opportunities and partners to support additional bodies of work and expand the footprint of that work.

What is the timeline?
Construction to commence Fall / Winter 2019

Construction completion Winter / Spring 2021

What jobs will be created?
It is currently too early to identify specific jobs within the site, but partners are committed to minority contracting and subcontracting for the development project, which will include local workforce hiring. 

Additional considerations will be based on neighborhood feedback. 

A job fair will be held by CD Smith and Cross Management in Late Fall / Early Winter. More information will be provided at a later date.

What are you doing to address concerns of displacement of longtime residents?
The partners acknowledge the specific concerns about displacement expressed during our visioning sessions and are taking those concerns to City of Milwaukee leaders.

Additionally, an anti-displacement fund has been formed at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.

Both partners are active in raising money to support the anti-displacement fund.

The fund is consistent with the broader neighborhood investment efforts of MKE United, a cross-sector collective.

The partners are also exploring additional best practices identified in other communities to support the development of different strategies that would counter displacement.

Why is GMF moving?
Almost a decade ago, the Foundation moved to Schlitz Park. Our decision to locate on the edge of downtown at that time was an investment that helped push development momentum in Brewers Hill for years to come. As the Foundation considered its upcoming lease expiration and growing space needs, the GMF Board authorized a process to identify facility options and evaluate how we could potentially leverage our location and physical space to increase social and economic impact in a manner that advances our mission, particularly, our commitment to racial equity and inclusion. The opportunity to partner with Medical College of Wisconsin emerged through that process, offering mutual benefit for our closely aligned missions and for the surrounding community and beyond.
What MCW programs are moving?
Center for AIDS Intervention Research (CAIR), Institute for Health & Equity, Epidemiology, Community Engagement, Cancer Center Outreach, Center for Advancing Population Science (CAPS) are primary occupants.
Will there be clinical care at this site?
Patient care will not be provided at this site. MCW will perform academic and community engagement work at this location.  

Clinical partners already operate nearby, including the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin clinic on 6th and McKinley and the MLK Heritage Health Center.