The Ball State College of Architecture and Planning invites you to a virtual lecture by Juli Kaufmann at 4 p.m. March 22. Kaufmann is president of Fix Development, an award-winning Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based commercial real estate company. Her topic is Milwaukee INVESTS, an economic development model that uses commercial real estate development as a vehicle for transformation. The approach leverages local talent, and it pools community assets to transform vacant commercial properties into thriving spaces for commerce and community building. In so doing, this for-profit, community-driven model helps to revitalize neighborhood Main Streets and open more inclusive pathways to community wealth building in disinvested communities.

Fix Development creates “quadruple bottom line” real estate projects that aim to have positive cultural, social, environmental and economic impact. Fix Development uses a place-based, market-driven Main Street redevelopment model that disrupts local commercial real estate and financing systems to support small local businesses that create entrepreneurial jobs.  Using community-design, co-development, and crowd funding strategies, Fix Development catalyzes local economic opportunity and wealth creation, even in our most disinvested neighborhoods.  Fix Development imagines an equitable city where all citizens can realize their potential.   Juli has developed more than $25 million in real estate projects and is currently focused primarily in the Lindsay Heights, Sherman Park, Riverwest and Harambee Neighborhoods of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Her work as recently expanded to Illinois with a Chicago area project slated to open in 2021.

Learning objectives for this lecture include:

  • Recognize how decades of policies, actions, beliefs and choices – by individuals, organizations, businesses and government –  collectively lead to the systematic outflow of capital and resources from specific communities.  
  • Learn new strategies that are critically needed to reactivate commercial development in disinvested neighborhoods. 
  • Review case studies from Milwaukee, Wisconsin that showcase innovations that maneuver outside of entrenched real estate and financial systems to regenerate opportunities for investment and growth that are inclusive of current residents. 

In conjunction with the Indiana APA, the college is offering credit for AICP members. Credit is also available for AIA members.

Write to for a link and/or to inquire about receiving continuing education credits.


Photo:  wondering what Fix Development had to do with the Sherman Phoenix?

From the Fix website:

The Sherman Phoenix is a model for healing our city by generating positive economic and social returns in communities of color. The civil unrest in Sherman Park in 2016 shed light on long-standing injustices and inequities, and the critical need for inclusive pathways to economic opportunities for all Milwaukeeans to thrive. This project uses an innovative approach to leverage community assets and create a more inclusive economy.

  1. Redevelop vacant and damaged property into high-quality commercial space. The project redeveloped the fire-damaged BMO Harris Bank building located near the intersection of Fond du Lac Avenue and 35th Street into an economic hub for 30 small businesses owned by entrepreneurs of color, who offer prepared foods, wellness services, and arts & cultural activities.
  2. Strengthen entrepreneurs of color to help them grow their businesses, generate jobs and support the local economy. The Phoenix offers business support through mentorship, business coaching, and networking. This support strengthens the tenant businesses and improve sustainable growth. In turn, these businesses create 100+ jobs, including entry and mid-level positions that provide training opportunities.
  3. Build community wealth and ownership through direct neighbor investment and an innovative co-developer model. In addition to traditional financing, the project includes neighborhood investors as a means of strengthening community ownership, wealth and support for tenant businesses. Additionally, the project uses a co-developer model that blends the strengths of a real estate developer with that of a community developer to build a model for community empowerment and transformation.