Beyond Vision paying $7.5 million for former West Allis Sam’s Club

Beyond Vision's planned Ability Center in West Allis. (Rendering: Bray Architects)

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:14 pm

Beyond Vision paid $7.5 million for the former Sam’s Club location in West Allis where the nonprofit social enterprise organization plans to move its operations, according to state records.

The store, located at 1540 S. 108th St., was one of 63 Sam’s Club locations across the country to close last year. Walmart Stores Inc. selected Beyond Vision as the winning bidder for the store earlier this year. The property was assessed at $10.2 million, according to Milwaukee County records.

Beyond Vision provides employment opportunities for people with vision loss and those who are legally blind. The organization announced its closing on the purchase of the building last week, including plans to renovate the facility over the next 12 months. BizTimes originally reported on Beyond Vision’s relocation plans in April.

The organization says its current facilities at 5316 W. State St. in Milwaukee have limited space and the new location will allow it to potentially triple its workforce. Beyond Vision also wants to co-locate with other organizations serving people who are blind, documenting the larger vision for the campus in a fundraising video last year.

“We hope to co-locate eye health providers, advocacy groups, rehabilitation, education and literacy/braille services for people who are blind and their families,” said Jim Kerlin, president and CEO of Beyond Vision. “These support agencies are scattered throughout the city, creating challenges for people who are blind accessing the services they need and deserve. This co-location model eliminates these challenges.”

Kerlin said there has been a lot of interest from organizations that provide services to the blind and visually impaired community, but each organization is at a different place. Some have longer remaining leases than others or debt obligations to pay down, he noted.

“I think it will evolve over time,” Kerlin said, adding that part of the idea is that service providers can save on costs in addition to providing a single location for services for the visually impaired community.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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