The new year has brought more good news for the forthcoming North Avenue Market, 5900 W. North Ave. The food hall, which was proposed for the West Side in June of 2020, has cleared its final hurdle, with construction to begin later this month.
After months of environmental mitigation, along with the approval of a $2,041,504 loan from the Milwaukee Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) with significant support from the Milwaukee Development Corporation (MDC), North Avenue Market founder Chris Morse (formerly Chris Harris-Wimsatt) closed on the former bank property on Dec. 15, 2021.
“MEDC has been phenomenal throughout this process,” notes Morse, offering special thanks to vice president for lending, John Miller and Delores Clayton for their assistance throughout the process.
“They’ve been amazing in their support, fighting and working to bring this community project to fruition,” he adds. “But, at the end of the day, the Market wouldn’t have been possible without the support of MDC, who expanded their horizons to invest in this minority owned business. I’m so grateful to them, and I hope it’s just the beginning for more meaningful investment in these types of projects.”
The North Avenue Market is slated to move forward with the help of Duffek Construction, which will begin interior demolition later this month. The goal, says Morse, is to complete construction in time to open the new food hall in late summer of 2022.
Three years in the making
“When we started this project, I was just looking to lease a space to open a coffee shop,” says Morse. “But that was three years ago. Now, as things look, this will be a project that comes in at just under $2.7 million. But this is really what I wanted to do, to create something that focused on the community.”
As things move forward, Morse says he looks forward to charting the progress on the Market, as well as identifying ways to give back to the community. Currently, he says he’s exploring the potential of working with the Boys & Girls club to provide opportunities for high school youth to work at the Market.
Read more about the community-centered vision for the North Avenue Market.
The North Avenue Market is a project which promises varied dining and retail experiences in a welcoming, inclusive, community-centered environment. Morse says the Market will feature live entertainment, indoor and outdoor seating areas, a well-curated bar and a convenient drive-thru window where folks can grab anything from a coffee to a multi-course feast for the family.
The coffee shop, A Taste of Java, will feature coffee from a local coffee roaster while A&B Desserts, a concept featuring desserts, ice cream, adult smoothies and snacks like popcorn. Both concepts will be managed by the food hall itself.
Meanwhile, the Market’s main bar, along with a 12-seat lower level speakeasy called Mosler’s Vault, will be operated in partnership with Bittercube, 4828 W. Lisbon Ave.
Additional market vendors include Sharon’s Table (a new concept which will serve soul food), Juana Taco/Mangos Cafe, Twisted Plants and Arty’s Sweet Talk Cupcakes. Services, including massages and facials will be offered by Opulent Studios, which will occupy a space on the garden level.
Additional tenants wanted
Morse says there is still space available in the food hall for additional tenants to serve menus featuring items like sushi, pizza, Greek fare, soup and salad or even produce. But he says proposals are open for a variety of proposals which complement the current tenant line-up.
Available spaces include two vendor stalls on the main floor (one 98-square foot space on the Southwest corner which comes with a service window that opens to the sidewalk; and a 146 square foot stall on the Northeast corner of the building. A 206 square foot garden level space is also available, as well as a vendor stall which will house a pop-up tenant.
Office space is also still available (spaces can be secured for flexible time periods that accommodate daily half- or full-day rental as well as weekly, monthly or yearly rates).
Prospective vendors who share Morse's vision are encouraged to reach out to Marnie Noel at email@example.com or Chris Morse at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information, including upcoming vendor tour dates can be found at northavemkt.com.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.