Compiled by MCJ Editorial Staff
One of the main priorities—if not “the” main priority—of Mayor Tom Barrett was making sure Milwaukee businesses and entrepreneurs, especially those of color, were totally involved in every aspect of the Democratic National Convention, which will be in the Brew City in July.
The mayor delivered on his main priority when it was announced recently that JCP, a local Black owned and operated construction company has been selected as the DNCC’s construction general contractor.
“We’re very pleased JCP will play a major role preparing the Fiserv Forum for the convention, especially making the “national stage” (from which various speakers—including the eventual nominee of the party—will speak),” said Barrett during a phone interview with Clifton Phelps, one of three brothers who make up the construction firm.
Since winning the DNC over such major convention cities as Houston and Miami, Barrett has emphasized local residents, neighborhoods, and businesses–especially minority residents, neighborhoods and businesses– benefit from the economic windfall the political convention will bring to the city.
“The city of Milwaukee has a tremendous amount to showcase when we welcome the convention this summer and I am pleased that will include local expertise and talent that has been selected as part of the Democratic National Convention Committee’s construction and event management teams,” Barrett said in a press statement officially announcing JCP, Populous (announced as the event architect), Milwaukee’s American Design, Inc. and Hargrove (the event management firm selected for the convention).
Said Cong. Gwen Moore—who, with Barrett, co-chairs the DNC Host Committee—of the selection of JCP and the other local firms: “I made it a personal mission that our community enjoys the economic benefits of hosting the Democratic National Convention.
“I am excited that this mission is being delivered upon with the selection of these companies, which reflect our diversity. I know they will bring a caliber of excellence that makes our city shine proudly.”
JCP will have the task of transforming the Fiserv Forum from a basketball arena into the epicenter of American politics. The company will do the construction work on the one-year-old arena so that it is suitable for delegates, the media, and political figures who will be on hand to participate in or witness political history.
Founded in 2008 by Clifton and his brothers James and Jalin Phelps JCP brings decades of combined experience to the convention and provide an array of services including pre-construction, general contracting, and construction management.
JCP focuses on commercial, adaptive reuse, and large residential construction. JCP Construction has been a part of some of Milwaukee’s flagship construction projects of the past decade including Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee Mitchell Airport, and Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons.
“I appreciate the mayor bringing the DNC to Milwaukee,” said Phelps. “It’s great to be in a project like this. This is an historic moment for Milwaukee and the Midwest. The opportunity to be a part of this event is further recognition of our leadership in this industry and commitment to be an inclusive employer in our city.”
JCP’s task will be to adjust existing suites, closets, the arena bowl and the floor (or court) and other spaces into suitable areas for journalists, convention officials, delegates and their guests.
Phelps said he and his partners have been studying the arena’s schematics to determine what they will need to do in reconfiguring the home of the Milwaukee Bucks.
One challenge JCP, it’s partners on the project or the host committee has no control over is the possibility of the Bucks playing in the NBA Finals for a world championship.
If the Bucks were to reach the finals (and hopefully win), that will leave less time for JCP and its partners to do the necessary reconfiguration to make the forum convention ready.
Barrett said that possibility came up during the negotiations with the DNC to get the convention. The mayor said that would be a nice problem to have.
Phelps said such an “ideal problem” would mean a compressed schedule. “It’s going to be tight, but it will be done.”