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A rendering of the Healing Collective, to open next spring.

Groundbreaking ceremony marks the start of green Healing Collective

A groundbreaking ceremony will take place this week to celebrate the new construction of a mixed-use building that will be one of the greenest structures in the country.

The eco-friendly building, called the Healing Collective, will be completed in March 2012, and to celebrate the initial efforts, the groundbreaking ceremony will take place on Thursday, May 19 from 4:30 to 5 p.m. at the future building location, 538 S. 2nd St. in Walker's Point.

The event will feature a ribbon cutting to officially celebrate the "reopening" of 2nd Street after the installation of new pavement, freshly planted trees, new harp lights, expanded sidewalks and new bike lanes. Mayor Tom Barrett will speak at the event.

A reception at the Milwaukee Brewing Company, 613 S. 2nd St., will take place following the ceremony. It will feature music by Old Sam and the Teardrops, food from neighborhood restaurants, a large raffle and, of course, beer from the Milwaukee Brewing Company. It's free and open to the public.

"This spring, a transformative building will begin to come to life on this former brownfield site," said developer Juli Kaufmann of Fix Development. "We have joined as neighbors – the businesses, organizations and residents of Walker's Point – to collectively decide how to shape the future of our community. This building enables a dream shared by the tenant occupants, the people to be served, and the project's financial backers. Together, we are committed to a more vibrant and resilient Milwaukee."

The Healing Collective's mission is to promote health, wellness and education to positively impact the community and environment.

Fix Development will construct the building which will house The Healing Center, CORE / El Centro, Aurora Walker's Point Community Clinic and, on the entire first floor, a "micro-creamery" cheese factory called Clock Shadow Creamery.

Bob Wills, a master cheesemaker who owns Cedar Grove Cheese in Plain, is opening the urban cheese factory. Wills, originally from Milwaukee, wanted to return to his roots which opening an urban cheese factory will allow him to do. The Clock Shadow Creamery will offer public tours – similar to brewery tours – and have an on-site cheese store and gift shop.

"It's kitty-corner from the Milwaukee Brewing Company, so people will be able to tour both a cheese factory and a brewery during one outing," says Kaufmann.

The Healing Collective is a collaboration of two health organizations consisting of three programs: Aurora Walker's Point Community Clinic, a free clinic for uninsured or under-insured, low income and homeless, The Healing Center of Aurora Sinai Medical Center, an innovative advocacy, support and counseling center for survivors of sexual assault and sexual abuse and CORE / El Centro, a natural healing center that provides alternative healing therapies for under-served and low-income persons.

"There is still 1,600 square feet of available space in the building," says Kaufmann.

The building, which will be built on a former brownfield site, will be constructed entirely from non-toxic materials, including reclaimed brick and reused wood from pickle barrels that were originally owned by a pickle factory on the western edge of the state.

The Healing Collective will be extremely energy efficient, feature a rooftop garden of fruits and vegetables and derive 100 percent of its water needs from captured rainwater.

The project caught the attention of socially-conscious and environmentally sensitive investors.

"This project is financed by people who care about the environment and social issues just as much as a financial return," says Kaufmann. "And we are still seeking equity investors."


pfan | May 20, 2011 at 2:17 p.m. (report)

People like Juli make me proud to say that I'm from Milwaukee. What a great project! It's this kind of thinking that will reposition the City for future success.

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