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Historic train depot becomes community gathering spot

July 24, 2023
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Coffeeville building exterior

Café combines coffee and history with help from WEDC

BROOKFIELD, WI. JULY 24, 2023 – After years of planning and restoration work, Brookfield’s historic 1860s train depot reopened to the public Monday in a new location and featuring a new coffeehouse café, Coffeeville.

“The depot is quite literally going to be a community hub for Brookfield,” said Sam Rikkers, deputy secretary and COO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), the state’s leading economic development agency. “Serving as a trailhead for a Waukesha County bike trail, the depot is also an iconic entrance to the city’s historic village area. Meanwhile, Coffeeville is building its business by offering not only quality coffee and food but also a place for residents to gather and support local musicians, crafters and others.”

WEDC supported the project with a $250,000 Community Development Investment Grant in 2019. The city had purchased the 1860s depot from the Canadian Pacific Railway for $1 with an agreement that they would relocate the depot to a new site across the road at the intersection of North Brookfield Road and North Hills Dr.

On Monday, Rikkers, Brookfield Mayor Steven Ponto, Coffeeville owner Jack Kulwikowski, developer Ram Subedi of Noby Ventures and others gathered to officially open the depot and café.

“The historic train depot of 1867 in the village area, the second oldest building in the city, has a new lease on life as the latest location for The Coffeeville Company, a local organic coffee roaster,” Ponto said. “After decades of planning and over six years of coordinated city, county, state, and private development efforts, this new role, which includes serving as a trailhead for Waukesha County bike transportation, preserves the revitalized depot as the visual and social landmark overlooking the junction of the railroad tracks at this historic place for years to come.”

Based in Jackson, just south of West Bend, this is the second location for Coffeeville, Kulwikowski said. The history of the building is a large part of what drew the company to Brookfield.

The original Coffeeville café in Jackson is in an 1800s log home that Kulwikowski spent 20 months rehabbing. Kulwikowski said he’s been working on the depot project for about three years and he’s grateful for the WEDC grant to help with the higher costs of working in an historic building.

That history is what makes the shop special, he said.

“We want people to feel comfortable,” Kulwikowski said. “But the main thing we offer here in Brookfield is an immersive experience to feel what it was like way back then. Everything is about quality, honoring history and providing an experience for customers.”

WEDC’s Community Development Investment Grant Program supports community development and redevelopment efforts, primarily in downtown areas. The matching grants are awarded based on the ability of applicants to demonstrate the economic impact of the proposed project, including public and private partnership development, financial need, and use of sustainable downtown development practices.

From the program’s inception in 2013 through March 2023, WEDC has awarded nearly $45.2 million in CDI Grants for 215 projects expected to generate nearly $879 million in capital investments statewide.

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