Radio station 88Nine RadioMilwaukee (88.9 FM) has purchased a two-story, 14,000-square-foot building in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood near downtown to house its studios, offices and a new 100-seat broadcast performance space.
The brick building, at 158 S. Barclay St., was constructed in 1953 and has been vacant for several years. Most recently, it housed the Barclay Gallery & Garden Café. It was previously home to other businesses that included a machine shop and a foundry operation.
The move to the new location is expected later this year after the building is renovated, will allow the 6-year-old station to build a new state-of-the-art studio visible from the street and other facilities that will let the public provide stronger connections with the station, executive director Mary Louise Mussoline said.
“Our new facility will enable RadioMilwaukee to enhance our programs and develop a greater physical presence in the community by bringing people together under one roof for events, live performances, broadcasts, student internships and discussions,” Mussoline said. “Our new home will allow RadioMilwaukee to further our mission of helping to improve Milwaukee and creating a more inclusive and engaged city.”
The station’s studio and air and production staff are currently located within Milwaukee Public Schools’ central office facility s at 5225 W. Vliet St. The station’s administrative staff is housed out of in a small rented commercial building across that street. The Barclay facility would unite the station’s program, production and administrative staff in a single location and double the station’s its total space to 12,500 sq. ft.
A new ground- floor Stone Creek Coffee café will be located in the facility in about 1,500 square feet. The new café will feature the Milwaukee’s first 100 percent manual brew bar store, where every cup of coffee will be prepared to order. The store, which will be the Milwaukee-based company’s 10th area cafe, will also include two state-of-the-art espresso bars serving classic and signature Stone Creek drinks.
“Our partnership with Radio Milwaukee dates back to the founding of the station,” said Eric Resch, Stone Creek’s chief sip slowly officer. “It’s exciting for all of us to combine local coffee and local music under one roof – a coffee and music jam.”
The project will include a 100-seat performance studio for live musical interviews, performances by full bands, community events and discussions, and a rooftop space for small events.
“As we partner with and promote hundreds of local organizations, businesses, nonprofits, musicians and individuals, RadioMilwaukee will take full advantage of this uniquely accessible facility to energize and build our community,” Mussoline said.
The cost of the building purchase was $1.175 million.
The station has kicked off a $2.8 million capital campaign, “Sound Foundation: Building a Better Milwaukee,” that has so far raised $1.2 million. It has secured lead gifts from philanthropists Peter and Jennifer Buffett, the Astor Street Foundation and 25 other early donors to the project.
The renovations will be designed by HGA.