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Bader Philanthropies taps JCP Construction for headquarters building

JCP Construction has been named the general contractor for Bader Philanthropies' new global headquarters on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Milwaukee.

JCP Construction has been named the general contractor for Bader Philanthropies’ new global headquarters on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Milwaukee.

Bader Philanthropies, in selecting a general contractor to build its new headquarters building in Milwaukee’s Harambee neighborhood, is turning to a company whose owners know the area well.

Bader Philanthropies officials announced Friday morning that JCP Construction will oversee the construction of the charitable foundation’s new headquarters on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, north of Concordia Avenue.

The foundation announced plans in August to move to a new building in Milwaukee’s Harambee neighborhood, an area bordered by Interstate 43 to the west, the city’s boundary with Glendale to the north, Holton Street to the east and Walnut and Pleasant streets to the south.

The project is expected to cost $9.5 million.

Dan Bader, president and chief executive officer of Bader Philanthropies, said he and other staff currently work out of a 10,000-square-foot office in the Third Ward, a neighborhood just south of downtown Milwaukee. The new headquarters will contain more than 22,000 square feet of space.

The foundation hands out $17 million in grants a year and supports a number of initiatives in places in and around the Milwaukee area — including the Harambee neighborhood. This spending provides support for youth development, workforce development, education, the arts and older people, said Bader.

Bader said Harambee was a natural fit for the new headquarters.

“In essence, we’ll be living our mission,” he said, noting that much of Bader Philanthropies’ work is meant to better the lives of residents of Milwaukee’s central city.

He said the move, “will help us understand the needs and realities” of those living in that area.

The new headquarters building’s first floor will include a 10,000-square-foot conference area. The second floor will consist primarily of office space.

Frank Cumberbatch, project manager at Bader Philanthropies, said the project will also include a 10,000-square-foot addition, which will be used for a kitchen and office space.

The new headquarters building is being built by a family company whose principals’ familiarity with the neighborhood reaches back decades. JCP Construction was founded in 2008 by James, Jalin and Clifton Phelps, three brothers who grew up in the Harambee neighborhood near the corner of 2nd and Locust streets.

James Phelps, president of JCP Construction, said he remembers driving every week by the building where the foundation’s new headquarters will soon be and imagining what it might look like if properly redeveloped.

Cumberbatch said that choosing JCP Construction, a certified minority-owned business, meant the foundation could give a minority-owned company an opportunity going beyond purely subcontracting work.

“In living our mission, especially the workforce side, it’s a great opportunity for us to maximize the number of minority companies participating in this project,” he said.

But Cumberbatch was quick to add that JCP Construction met all the criteria the foundation was looking for in a general contractor, and that its work would be held to the same expectations as that of any other firm.

JCP Construction has worked on various prominent projects, such as the Moderne apartment tower, the Northwestern Mutual headquarters building and the Bucks arena. The firm has also headed up work on other jobs, such as the construction of a new Pete’s Fruit Market, which is scheduled to open this year.

But the Bader Philanthropies headquarters will be the largest project the company has worked on as a general contractor.

Phelps said that Bader Philanthropies’ new headquarters will be a great addition to Martin Luther King Drive. He also pointed out that it was especially good to see another project being built north of Locust Street, since it seemed much more redevelopment has happened on the south side of that street in recent years.

“I think it would be a great neighbor for the neighborhood,” he said.

Phelps expects work to begin on the project in April. Bid invitations will most likely go out to subcontractors sometime in March. The project is expected to be complete next year.

About Alex Zank, alex.zank@dailyreporter.com

Alex Zank is a construction reporter for The Daily Reporter. He can be reached at 414-225-1820.

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