Westown church to become an event venue

St. James Episcopal Church shut down last year

833 W. Wisconsin Ave., photo by Google

Last updated on January 10th, 2020 at 12:09 pm

St. James Episcopal Church, photo by Google

A 151-year-old church on the west side of downtown Milwaukee will soon be used for weddings, but not strictly for ceremonies. That’s because the historic building will soon be converted into an event space for various private parties and gatherings.

The former St. James Episcopal Church and its multi-level parish house sit on the eastern edge of Marquette University’s campus, at 833 W. Wisconsin Ave. The St. James congregation last year vacated the church and, shortly after, developer Joshua Jeffers, president of J. Jeffers & Co., purchased it with plans to redevelop the building.

Jeffers has partnered with Kate Crowle and Oliver Hunt to convert the structure, originally built in 1867, into a private event venue. Crowle is the owner of Milwaukee-based interior design company Hidden Home Interiors, and Hunt is the owner of food truck and catering service Hidden Kitchen MKE and the executive chef for West Bend-based biotechnology company Spaulding Clinical Research LLC.

With their combined background in design and hospitality, the pair plans to transform the 25,000-square-foot, two-building complex into an indoor and outdoor event space with a catering kitchen. It will be rented for weddings, community and fellowship events, birthdays and anniversary parties, and artistic and culinary events, all with on-site catering availability.

“St. James fits all our wants and needs as far as providing flexibility for two event spaces within the same building,”Crowle said. “Oliver and I have a great passion for travel, and combined, we have lived in multiple cities all over the world. We cannot wait to infuse the style and aesthetic influence that we have gathered in our travels into all aspects of St. James.”

With a seating capacity of 250, the chapel space is conjoined with a 2,000-square-foot outdoor courtyard. The smaller second floor parish house can seat 160 and offers a 1,500-square-foot exterior balcony. Both venues could be rented together or separately.

“We want to offer something that isn’t already out there.” Crowle said. “The deep and meaningful history of this building combined with the modern sensibilities that my partners and I bring to the design and development of this event space will make it a perfect, versatile space for a myriad of events.”

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Maredithe has covered retail, restaurants, entertainment and tourism since 2018. Her duties as associate editor include copy editing, page proofing and managing work flow. Meyer earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University and still enjoys attending men’s basketball games to cheer on the Golden Eagles. Also in her free time, Meyer coaches high school field hockey and loves trying out new restaurants in Milwaukee.

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