The Urban League of Greater Madison, the City of Madison and the Madison Community Development Authority held a press conference on Thursday in front of the Urban League on Madison’s south side to announce the new Urban League Black Business Hub project will be located at The Village on Park.
“Today, it’s amazing to have the mayor, alders, the CDA chair and all of you standing with us and betting on Black businesses … because that’s what we’re doing, we’re betting on Black businesses,” said Dr. Ruben Anthony, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Madison. “We’re putting this hub out there because we want Black businesses in this corridor and we want them to achieve.
“Believing that we can do something right here in south Madison is a big deal. If we don’t bet on Black businesses, who will?” he added.
Of the Black Business Hub, Anthony said that “this is a rare occasion where we are not relegated to sitting on the sidelines and watching the community landscape change with zero input.”
“Together, we have a chance to create an economic renaissance at the gateway entrance into this city. The landscape is changing very fast in south Madison and Black leaders are having an opportunity to help define what that change will be,” Anthony said.
The Black Business Hub will be a “50,000 to 60,000 square-foot, 3-story, class-A office building modeled after the Sherman Phoenix Building in Milwaukee,” Anthony added.
“The Urban League is currently negotiating with several commercial tenants to bring over 100 employees on this site who will occupy about 25,000 square feet of the building,” Anthony said. “We are seeking them and other strong anchored tenants for the long-term financial viability of this project.”
Mayor Satya Rhodes Conway said that it’s going to be a “really exciting phase” for all of south Madison.
“This will serve as part of this amazing gateway to the City of Madison. It’s going to continue to emphasize this place as a civic and commercial center for south Madison,” Rhodes Conway said. “Our goal is to integrate this Black Business Hub into the larger vision of the Village on Park as not just a business center, but as our social and civic and community center here.
“I am really happy to support this really important equitable economic development project and the continued development of south Madison for the people and businesses of south Madison and for our whole community,” she added.
Camille Carter, who represents over 400 Black-owned businesses in the Madison area as president of the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce, said their mission is to build and promote community and to lead and advocate for Black-owned businesses.
“It is essential that our businesses are represented here on the south side of Madison and alongside the Urban League because as a collective, we know that we are stronger together,” Carter said. “As we build community and as we seek to promote businesses, it is important to note that historically our businesses have operated singularly in silos … and that is really a very difficult platform for an entrepreneur to build on.
“So we support this collective full-heartedly,” she added. “In this vision for the economic hub, we envision a lot of collaboration but also motivation and encouragement of our business owners and entrepreneurs to help one another and to build and support one another.”