A redevelopment project planned for the site of the former Astronautics headquarters in Milwaukee’s Thurston Woods neighborhood is moving forward even though Milwaukee entrepreneur JoAnne Sabir, who was initially named as a partner for the project, announced she is no longer taking part in it, according to a project partner.
According to a press release issued last Thursday, a new three-story development at 4115 N. Teutonia Ave. will serve as a center for economic empowerment. The mixed-use development is planned to increase access to resources and opportunities for Black women, youth, and their families through offerings ranging from health and wellness programming, financial inclusion programming, a marketplace, affordable housing for seniors, and more.
Immediately after Thursday’s press release was issued and reported by the media, including BizTimes Milwaukee, Sabir announced that she was not moving forward with the project.
Sabir provided more information in a statement issued Monday, saying she is working on a different project in Miami.
“I have decided to take on a mixed-use development in Miami,” she said in the statement. “It’s a $66 million endeavor. My family has relocated for a short stint as of Friday. The Astronautics building will be advanced towards great impact, however, I will no longer be connected to the project at this time. I do not have the capacity to move forward in the desired direction at this time. I remain excited for all that’s possible in my beloved Milwaukee.”
Sabir was not immediately available for further comment Monday.
Amit Ray, who was listed in Thursday’s press release as the owner of the former Astronautics headquarters building and as a partner with Sabir in the redevelopment project, told BizTimes Media on Monday that the project is still in the works.
“The project will move forward no matter what. The source for that article or whatever came out (Thursday) was premature,” Ray said.
The press release on the Thursday was issued by Union, New Jersey-based WhitPR. Sabir said she was not able to notify the firm that she was backing out of the project before the release was sent out to the news media.
Ray declined to share further details about the redevelopment at this time. Thursday’s press release states the new space will include space for community-focused nonprofits as well as an undisclosed “tech equity” firm that will provide technical training for girls in the community to prepare them to become software developers, IT specialists, and more.
Astronautics Corporation of America announced in 2019 that it would be consolidating operations in Oak Creek, moving out of Milwaukee altogether. The company had maintained a presence in the city since 1959 prior to the move.