By Kevin Collison
The Wonder Shops + Flats redevelopment at 30th and Troost is almost fully leased eight months after opening, evidence the nascent revival along that stretch of Troost Avenue is showing no sign of slowing.
Combine, a joint venture between Pizza 51 and the Milwaukee Delicatessen, is opening a 5,000 square-foot restaurant and bar in the corner space at Wonder.
It will join Blip coffee and Freight House Fitness in Wonder’s commercial space.
Developer and architect Caleb Buland is thrilled how quickly the $18 million redevelopment of the former Wonder Bread bakery has leased since its opening at the beginning of the year.
The project’s 87 apartments are fully occupied and it’s also home to the BikeWalkKC offices and shop. Four of the apartments are reserved and regularly booked as Airbnb’s.
Buland said the owners of Pizza 51 and the Milwaukee Deli, already partners at Milwaukee Deli’s downtown location at 101 W. Ninth St., were looking for an opportunity to expand into another growing community.
They plan to open this fall and expect to employ 25 people.
“For Wonder and the East Side to have folks committed to bringing local food and local beer here is important,” Buland said. “It’s a great way to serve the existing community and get fresh eyes on the community.”
The new Combine menu will offer the best offerings of Pizza 51 and the Milwaukee Deli, which specializes in deli sandwiches, and feature a big assortment of local beers. It also will have a private meeting room that can accommodate 50 people.
The Combine also will manage and cater the rooftop Skyline event space at Wonder.
Rounding out the new businesses at Wonder is Blip coffee and Freight House Fitness, which opened on the ground level last spring in 4,000 square feet of space.
The fitness club offers group classes, individual training and nutrition classes and has over 300 members, including residents living at Wonder.
“We are really excited to be apart of the development in the area,” Sean Van Horn, co-owner, said in a statement.
“When we heard about it we got excited because that’s basically the same thing we are doing with our first location down in the West Bottoms.
“We’re really looking forward to getting more and more involved with other local businesses in the area and also for ways to serve our community.”
Freight House Fitness is open seven days a week from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. It includes locker rooms and showers.
Buland said the fitness club draws people from around the area who then patronize other businesses after their workouts including Blip upstairs and Ruby Jean’s Juicery across the street.
“What I love about where Wonder has gotten is we have an immersive city block here,” he said. “We have restaurant options, fitness options and coffee and entertainment options.”
All that’s missing is dessert.
“Our commercial space is 95 percent leased,” Buland said. “We have a spot left for an office and a spot for an ice cream shop.”
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