Milwaukee-based Wantable Inc. plans to move its corporate offices into a building at the southwest corner of East Walker Street and South Barclay Street, in Milwaukee's Walker's Point neighborhood. Jalem Getz, president and founder of the online fitness and fashion retailer, said the company plans to renovate and expand the building at 123 E. Walker St. This would allow the company to relocate 80 existing employees and hire another 120 people, bringing its total headcount at its corporate offices to 200. Redevelopment plans call for a café and event venue on the first floor, offices on both the second floor and a proposed third-floor addition, and a rooftop area that will include a bar, restrooms and gathering space. The building is on the same block as Wantable's current headquarters at 112 E. Mineral St. It is currently owned by Rockwell Automation, but Wantable has the building under contract, said Getz. It currently totals about 27,000 square feet, but could be expanded to 37,000 square feet. Getz said the café will be for both Wantable employees and members of the public. The company currently has a café on the second floor of its current headquarters, but is only open to employees. Getz said the company is often asked by others whether they can use it, which he said shows a need for more café options in the area. The event space could initially be used for things like professional meet-ups or tech-centric events, he said. Wantable has filed an application with the city to allow the building, currently zoned for industrial purposes, to be used as an office building. The application states the project will cost $3.5 million. The building is located in an area that's undergoing growth. A few blocks to the south is Freshwater Plaza, a mixed-use development that includes a Cermak Fresh Market, four-story apartment building with first-floor retail space, a Sherwin Williams paint store and a Summit Credit Union branch. And just to the northwest, Milwaukee-based Bray Architects is laying plans to expand its headquarters at 829 S. First St. "We love the location, that area," Getz said. "It really reminds me of the Third Ward about a decade ago." Getz also pointed out that across the street from the building is the Ivy House event venue, another draw to the neighborhood. What's more, Walker's Point has seen its share of residential projects in recent years, he said, another sign that development activity is spilling over to this neighborhood from the adjacent Third Ward. Staying in the neighborhood is a benefit to Wantable because it matches with the work and living environment many of its employees are looking for, he said. "We think this is a great location that is very representative of that type of urban environment that our 20-something (years old) type of employees really crave," Getz said. Wantable also has a 70,000-square-foot distribution center near General Mitchell International Airport. The company had previously considered moving its headquarters to the former Clarke Square Pick 'n Save building on National Avenue, but ultimately dropped those plans due to a number of issues.
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