A Milwaukee pastor wants to convert a north side office building into a hub for entrepreneurs, a project he says will mirror the entrepreneurial hub he developed in another part of the city in 2018.
Eric R. Brown plans to purchase a 7,900 square-foot office building at 3658-3660 N. Teutonia Ave., a one-story building constructed in 1966, according to city assessment records.
The new entrepreneur incubator hub would include 20 micro suites, which Brown says he’ll outfit depending on the needs of the entrepreneurs. In the basement, Brown will operate his own new business called “One Haven Project,” a resource center focused on helping the community, he said.
“It’s going to be quite a few variables with that particular business, but we’re starting out by helping young pregnant women with resources,” Brown said. “Clothes, transportation, helping them dress for success if they have an interview, whatever they need.”
Brown imagines the new entrepreneurial hub will operate similarly to his project at 4738 W. Lisbon Ave., a two-story building with 11 suites on the second floor filled with barbers, hair and nail stylists and retail clothing businesses, he said.
“It’s business suites upstairs for people who want to run their own business because I’m all about trying to empower people,” Brown said. “If you empower people you empower communities.”
To fund the Teutonia Avenue project, Brown applied for a $166,000 loan, which was granted by the Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation
on Wednesday. The mixed-use project would cost $186,000 in total, including $115,000 to purchase the property and $65,400 for improvements, according to the application.
Brown funded the Lisbon project out of his own pocket – at the time, he wasn’t aware of MEDC, he said.
“The city came out to see that and they saw what I did with the first project and so they wanted to get behind me with the second project because they were really impressed with it,” Brown said.
In fact, Brown wants to open an All-American style restaurant on the first floor of the Lisbon building called “Ruby J’s,” – those plans are still underway, but the restaurant’s opening was postponed by the pandemic, he added.
“Like I said, I’m all about empowering people and I just feel like in our city, especially in these certain areas that I’m in, it’s needed,” Brown said.
Brown is a pastor at Haven of Hope International Ministries, located at 4040 W. Fond Du Lac Ave.