ThriveOn King construction begins

$105 million redevelopment of the former Gimbels-Schuster’s building to be completed in late 2023

The former Gimbels and Schuster’s Department Store building at the southwest corner of Garfield Avenue and King Drive is being redeveloped for the new home of the MCW/GMF partnership. Rendering: Engberg Anderson Architects
The former Gimbels and Schuster’s department store building at the southwest corner of Garfield Avenue and King Drive is being redeveloped into the ThriveOn King project. Rendering: Engberg Anderson Architects

Last updated on June 13th, 2022 at 02:09 pm

The developers behind the ThriveOn King collaboration announced the beginning of building prep and demolition work Tuesday as part of the $105 million redevelopment of the 455,000-square-foot former Gimbels-Schuster’s building at 2153 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Milwaukee.

“We are thrilled to start construction for ThriveOn King,” said Kevin Newell, founder and CEO of Royal Capital and co-chair of ThriveOn Collaboration in a Tuesday press release. “From inception, this project has been a collective effort with the community, and we are excited to bring that collaborative vision to life in this next stage.”

Milwaukee-based JCP Construction and CG Schmidt have been selected as the contractors for the ThriveOn King project.

A joint venture between Royal Capital, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, and the Medical College of Wisconsin, the overall focus of the ThriveOn King project is addressing social determinants of health and providing access to early childhood education to the Bronzeville area.

Some of the first construction activities will include internal asbestos abatement, demolition of the loading dock and removal of the metal panels on the east and north sides of the building.

The development and construction team will be “taking a proactive approach to maximize local hiring of unemployed and underemployed individuals,” with a focus on “hiring and investing in Black and Brown local talent,” a press release states.

In April, the ThriveOn Collaboration announced that Malaika Early Learning Center will open a 14,000-square-foot early childhood care and education center on the first floor. The development will also include community gathering space, 89 residential units for seniors and families and 100,000 square feet of office space. It will serve as a physical home for the ThriveOn Collaboration itself. The Greater Milwaukee Foundation will move its headquarters to ThriveOn King and the building will also be the home of several Medical College of Wisconsin programs.

In May, the collaborative announced that Versiti would also be a tenant in the new building, operating a new, 3,500-square-foot community resource and permanent blood donation center.

The ThriveOn King project has an anticipated completion date of November 2023.

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Cara covers commercial and residential real estate. She has an extensive background in local government reporting and hopes to use her experience writing about both urban and rural redevelopment to better inform readers. Cara lives in Waukesha with her husband, a teenager, a toddler, a dog named Neutron, a bird named Potter, and a lizard named Peyoye. She loves music, food, and comedy, but not necessarily in that order.

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