Sherman Phoenix receives $550,000 from Nan Gardetto, Dohmen Foundation

Project has $500,000 left to raise

A rendering of the planned buildout of the Sherman Phoenix.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:22 pm

Juli Kaufmann, president of Fix Development, learned Thursday she is $550,000 closer to raising the $3.5 million necessary to finance the Sherman Phoenix project.


Nannette “Nan” Gardetto, former owner and CEO of Baptista’s Bakery Inc., issued a $300,000 challenge grant for the Sherman Phoenix project. And minutes before accepting the BizTimes Woman Executive of the Year award, Kaufmann received a note from Cynthia LaConte, chief executive officer of The Dohmen Co., that said the Dohmen Foundation will provide $250,000 for the Sherman Phoenix project.

Dohmen had already donated $50,000 for the project.

“I’m beside myself with disbelief,” Kaufmann said, adding that she is trying to match Gardetto’s $300,000 in the next 10 days.

A rendering of the planned buildout of the Sherman Phoenix.

Kaufmann and The Juice Kitchen owner JoAnne Johnson-Sabir are the co-developers for the $3.5 million Sherman Phoenix project.

The funds from Gardetto and the Dohman Foundation leave about $500,000 left to raise for the project.

Funding has come from more than 50 investors, who included angel and crowd investors as well as philanthropists and a $250,000 Community Development Investment Grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. The City of Milwaukee is also providing $215,000 in tax increment financing.

The Sherman Phoenix is to be an entrepreneurial and wellness hub, plus a food hall, which will be developed in a former BMO Harris Bank branch at 3536 W. Fond du Lac Ave. that was damaged by fire during civil unrest in the Sherman Park neighborhood in 2016. The 20,000-square-foot space is set to open this fall.

Kaufmann has described Sherman Phoenix as a cross between an indoor mall and a public market. The number of participants has grown, and the space will now have 20 small business tenants – a mix of food, wellness, beauty and retail – mostly owned by people of color.

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