Phillis Wheatley School Redevelopment Underway

The redevelopment of Phillis Wheatley School, a former Milwaukee Public School, is underway on the north side of Milwaukee. The historic renovation of the existing school in to mixed-income apartments include new construction of a four story, stick framed multifamily building to the south. It is one of three Greenfire projects converting a former MPS school into residential housing.

Initially opened in 1902, the school includes two additions built in 1960 and 1972. The ’60’s building renovation is the furthest along with MEP work complete for about 80 percent of the second floor and framing underway at first floor. An existing stairwell imposes a significant challenge as the team works with the structural engineer to level the uneven grade and second floor deck where former stair landings and structural beams stand. At the 1902 building, 90 percent of demolition and abatement is complete, as crews work top down to frame and install rough MEPs. Installation of a new fire protection system is currently underway throughout the building. The former boiler room in the garden level requires eight feet of infill which will house the mechanical room and part of a new unit. Construction of an elevator shaft is also underway in the garden level and will tie together the ’60’s building and 1902 building. Since the buildings were constructed sixty years apart, matching grade and floor levels again poses a significant challenge. The grade of the ’60’s building is about four feet above that of the garden level in the 1902 building and requires the team to complete a series of infills to seamlessly tie both buildings together. Demolition and abatement are complete at the ’72 building which houses the kitchen, lunchroom, and gymnasium. The lunchroom will be converted into two units as the rest of the building will remain largely unchanged.

For the exterior, installation of all site utilities is complete followed concrete and asphalt. At the 1902 building, tuckpointing is complete, comprising roughly 40% of the building’s façade. Painting is underway at the southwest façade progressing clockwise followed by installation of a new roof. Exterior work for the ’60’s building consists of tuckpointing, masonry restoration and brick infills. The ’72 building requires exterior cleaning only however all buildings include installation of all new windows. Final landscaping is set for Spring of 2022.

The project relies on a number of funding sources which requires detailed coordination and communication with various governing agencies, like the National Parks Service, which has jurisdiction over buildings that earn historic tax credits. Managing renovations of former historic buildings is never an easy task. Project challenges include navigating tight elevation heights; identifying and correcting structural issues; and installing all new MEP, trash, and elevator systems and windows while maintaining and preserving historic character.

We are proud of the work put forward by our Greenfire team throughout this historic renovation, and we would like to recognize the outstanding work demonstrated on a consistent basis. The team includes Shauna Boyer, project manager, Tommy Cummings, superintendent, Austin Stueck, project engineer, and Zach Barrow, preconstruction engineer. The owner is Royal Capital Group, LLC and the architect is Engberg Anderson Architects.

Greenfire presents Urban Spaceship Conference for second consecutive year

Greenfire is once again excited to announce we are the presenting sponsor for Urban Spaceship. The conference is hosted by NEWaukee and NAIOP Wisconsin and focuses on regional urbanization projects and leaders in community growth. The conference is expected to draw over 250 attendees across the state from all professional backgrounds. Keeping in theme with urban renewal, the conference is hosted at No Studios in Milwaukee which is a historic renovation project Greenfire completed in 2019. Greenfire will also present the morning keynote panel discussion. A huge thank you to everyone who helped bring this together for another run! We are looking forward to seeing everyone in person this year!

For more information and registration, please visit here.

Greenfire celebrates wrap parties for FCP Community Center and Crescent Apartments

Mandel Group hosted a contractor appreciation reception to celebrate the wrap of Crescent Apartments located adjacent to the Milwaukee County Research Park in Wauwatosa. The multifamily space is already 90% leased and displays Mandel’s forward thinking in providing quality housing options in non-traditional residential markets. We are honored to have served as construction manager on this innovative project and could not be more pleased with the final product.


The Forest County Potawatomi Community Center scope of work is complete as the team prepares for final turnover to the Tribe. In recognition of this concluding milestone, the FCP hosted a contractor appreciation reception. It was a day of recognition for the 193,834-man hours worked and recognition the zero recorded lost hours. The open house began at 10am followed by speakers from each of the project stakeholders. The ceremony concluded with a prayer followed by lunch served by the Tribe. The remainder of the day was for trade contractors to utilize and tour the new facility with their families. We are incredibly proud of our project team for managing such a complex and long-term project that will have a profound impact on the betterment of the Potawatomi Tribe. We invite you to view the video for a deeper understanding of the Community Center’s impact by watching this video.

Greenfire collects donations for First Nations Back to School Drive

This month, we had the pleasure of presenting the donations collected for our First Nations Back to School Gift Card & Supply Drive. This is the fifth year that Greenfire has supported the First Nations Studies (FNS) program, which is an academic program funded through the Milwaukee Public Schools system that provides services at schools with concentrations of First Nations students. We would like to thank our Greenfire family, all our neighbors on the Wgema Campus, our local community, and FNS Coordinator, Richanda Kaquatosh, for making this drive a great success. Together we raised over $1,100 in gift cards and donations along with three boxes of supplies to donate. It is with your generosity will that we are able to help numerous students and families in the region and we are grateful that impact in the lives of others. Together, we are making a positive difference.

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