88Nine Radio Milwaukee (WYMS-88.9FM) will expand its Walker's Point studio and office building for a new cafe, slated to open next year.
The organization on Tuesday announced plans for a $770,000 renovation at its 14,000-square-foot facility, located at 220 E. Pittsburgh Ave. The project's proposed cafe and eatery will take over the ground-floor retail space formerly home to a Stone Creek Coffee shop, which closed almost one year ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Led by Milwaukee chef and restaurateur Chad Meier, the new concept will feature a full food and beverage menu with rotating items.
Previously, Meier operated Meraki, a top-rated globally-inspired restaurant in Walker's Point that closed last August after five years in business -- another COVID-19 casualty.
"Our menu will be eclectic and constantly changing, just like the music that 88Nine plays," Meier said in a news release. "I look forward to sharing some amazing dishes and helping create a casual, creative space to facilitate community connections."
The project will completely remodel the cafe area, adding 330 square feet to the front of the space and a covered outdoor seating area to the front of the building. Three garage doors with windows will be installed along the sidewalk, allowing partial open-air use of the community room and connections to the outdoor seating area. A kitchen will also be added to the back of the space. When complete, the eatery will have 35 seats inside and 30 outside. Construction is slated to begin later this year, with the cafe's opening tentatively set for late February.
Milwaukee-based architecture firm The Kubala Washatko Architects were hired to design the façade and interior.
Radio Milwaukee moved in to the former manufacturing facility in 2013, the same year it purchased the then-vacant building. Now, plans to upgrade a portion of the building will further strengthen the station's ties to the local community, said executive director Kevin Sucher.
"Our latest investment will add to the economic vitality of the growing Walker’s Point neighborhood," Sucher said. "It will also create new and improved spaces where the community can have a quick bite or camp out for the day to create and collaborate, with food and beverage offerings to help fuel them."
According to the news release, funding for the renovation was provided by generous donors who ask to be anonymous. Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c. provided pro bono legal assistance.
Radio Milwaukee and Meier will hold a community reception at the station on Dec. 1 to unveil the eatery’s menu and name and other details about the project.
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