New downtown incubator will offer affordable rent for technology-based small businesses

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:28 pm

Towne Realty Inc. is opening a downtown incubator for technology-based small businesses on the entire seventh floor of the 633 Building at 633 W. Wisconsin Ave.
The incubator will provide owners of small businesses who wish to locate downtown with the opportunity to have access to high-speed internet connections, servers, and T-1 lines that would give them a competitive edge in the operation of their business.
"This is all geared strictly towards technology-based businesses," said Tom Bernacchi, vice president of commercial properties for Milwaukee-based Towne Realty.
"You’re downtown, and downtown is still where the action is," said Michael Mervis, assistant to the chairman at Zilber Ltd., parent company of Towne Realty.
Mervis said the incubator plan arose from recent discussions between company founder and chairman Joseph Zilber, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrrett and the officials from the Milwaukee Economic Development Corp.
"I just talked to Mr. Zilber, and Mr. Zilber said, ‘Make sure they (the small businesses) are successful," Mervis said.
The seventh floor has 10,500 square feet of space and will be subdivided to accommodate as many as 50 small businesses, with offices and cubicle space ranging from 200 to 1,000 square feet.
The rental rates for the space are "negotiable," Mervis said.
"We’re going to talk to everybody and give them a chance. I don’t think we’re going to have a posted rate structure," Mervis said. "We want to get small businesses into the structure. We’ll do every we can to encourage that."
The small technology firms won’t exist in a vacuum. The 633 Building is nearly full, with plenty of professional service companies, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and a local office of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
"You can also give traffic reports from there," Bernacchi said, noting that the DOT has cameras pointed at the Marquette Interchange in the building.
In the city’s landscape, the city is notable for the large Miller Brewing sign on top.
Towne bought the building in 1985 from Emory T. Clark, founder of Clark Oil & Refining Corp.
The small businesses also will have access to indoor parking in the building.
"In surveying a large number of technology based, small businesses in conjunction with the Milwaukee Economic Development Commission, we found that one of the greatest needs that they expressed was to have advance internet connections as well as convenient parking and favorable rates for leasing smaller areas of space," Kersey said. "Our new technology based, small business incubator will meet those needs. We’re pleased to provide this service to the small businesses of our area, who over time, will grow and add to the economic strength of our community," Kersey concluded.
Small businesses interested in the office space at the 633 Building can obtain further information by contacting Bernacchi at (414) 274-2637.

May 28, 2004 Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI

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