One week from Friday Sherman Phoenix will open its doors to the public, more than 2 years after the building, then a bank, was burned out in the unrest in Sherman Park.
The building has been transformed into an entrepreneurial hub with more than 29 small businesses inside. Built out of the former BMO Harris Bank at 37th and Fond du Lac in that burned in that violence two years ago, it will be a space for local businesses.
One half of the development team, Joanne Sabir of Sherman Phoenix LLC said, “when we really think about this space it’s not just about transactions with businesses it’s about curating an opportunity for a community to come together and be.”
Sabir says traditional bank financing wouldn’t work with this project, so the developers sought out more than $4 million dollars in philanthropic donations to make it work.
“We want a model that allows us cash flow, allows us to create below market rate rents, that allows us to pay for the buildout for the tenants,” said Sabir.
Inside you’ll find everything from barber and beauty shops, to pizza, cupcakes, wings, and Health and Wellness boutiques. Monica Oliver operates “Sauce + Spice, Milwaukee Pizza” inside the Sherman Phoenix.
“Its a lot of opportunity for individual business owners, people from the community to find employment… This is like a one stop shop. To be in an actual physical location attached to so many other businesses right in the heart of a great community is nothing but opportunity,” said Oliver.
Royal Trinity Salon owner Nakiiya Williams says the variety of business of businesses in the building will offer her customers more to do when they spend time at her salon.
“This gives them the opportunity to come and explore what the Sherman Phoenix has to offer. Given the fact that they are here for so long now, they have other things they can do and kind of busy them while they are here in the wonderful space,” said Williams.
The Sherman Phoenix opens to the public Friday, Nov. 30.