Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Lake Parkway, Kohl’s and Target, Frontier vs Southwest, and More

By - Feb 29th, 2012 02:53 pm
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I-94 Construction

I-94 Construction

Welcome to the second weekly installment of Eyes on Milwaukee, a new column running down what’s happening in urban Milwaukee.

Did Milwaukee Dodge a Bullet by Failing to Land Kohl’s HQ?

The relationship between Target and Minneapolis has recently shown that Milwaukee might have dodged a bullet by failing to land Kohl’s. Target recently announced they’re moving 3,900 jobs from their downtown headquarters to a suburban location. Curiously they’re also leasing an additional 200,000 square-feet of space downtown, and have acquired a handful of nearby parcels.

I know big projects are sexy, but give me 1,000 five-employee companies before one 5,000 employee company who demands large public subsidies.

New Highway Construction in Milwaukee County

The Hoan Bridge was known as the “Bridge to Nowhere” for a number of years, and with a proposed extension of the Lake Parkway could become known as the “Bridge to a 200 Million Dollar Highway that runs parallel to a 1.8 Billion Dollar Highway”. While I don’t see the new name catching on, the point still stands.

The proposed $207 million extension of the Lake Parkway (Wisconsin Highway 794) would add nearly six miles to the southern end of the highway. Supervisor Patricia Jursik has championed the plan, and views it as a first step towards extending the Lake Parkway the entire way to the Illinois state line.

Area residents will get a chance to comment on that concept at a public information meeting Wednesday at the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center, 901 15th Ave. The session will run from 6 to 8 p.m., mainly in open-house format, with a presentation and question-and-answer session starting at 6:30 p.m. – Journal Sentinel

Mobility is an important issue for the region, no question. I just can’t see the need to build a new freeway-grade highway in a very-low density corridor when there is a $1.8 billion project underway less than 3 miles west that will add a lane in each direction as well as a number of other congestion-reducing reconfigurations to existing interchanges and ramps.

It seems to me the more logical thing to do is to make smaller enhancements north and south, and focus on better connectivity with the recently expanded Interstate 94 to the west.

For what it’s worth, the projected capital costs of the Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee commuter rail project were $232.7 million.

Frontier Airlines and Southwest Airlines Game of Musical Chairs Drawing to a Close

A lot is changing at General Mitchell these days, and that’s going to have ripple effects throughout Milwaukee. With Frontier slicing their daily departures from Milwaukee from 67 in 2011 to 20 by the summer of 2012, and reducing their workforce locally by up to 446 people, the door appears wide open for a new airline to brand itself as Milwaukee’s major airline.

Southwest Airlines is moving to take the mantle of Milwaukee’s major airline, at least for now, by paying to become the official airline of the Milwaukee Brewers.

No word yet on when the Frontier Airlines Center (formerly Midwest Airlines Center) becomes the Southwest Airlines Center.

Development News

The Potawatomi Casino Hotel was approved at the City Plan Commission on Monday and will move to the Zoning & Neighborhood Development Committee.

The East Library project, now to be known as The Standard at East Library, was also approved at City Plan Commission, but will go to the Public Works Committee (the building complies with zoning).

The owners of Casablanca won approval at the Historic Preservation Commission to erect a second-story.

The Highland Ave Pedestrian Bridge is closed (or technically speaking, open) until early March thanks to a failure of an operating valve in the bridge’s hydraulic system. Given that the Juneau Avenue Bridge is also closed, the closing is a significant inconvenience to Bradley Center event goers that arrive from east of the river and to the night-time bar patron between Old World Third Street and Water Street.

The single wind turbine the city built at the south end of the Port of Milwaukee is nearly ready for operation. It’s about half the size of the ones erected elsewhere in Wisconsin. The project was funded through a stimulus grant, the state’s Focus on Energy program, and We Energies.

The detailed plan development for the Milwaukee School of Engineering Parking Garage proposal for land that used to be in the Park East redevelopment corridor was approved by the Zoning & Neighborhood Development Committee as well as the full Common Council and is awaiting Tom Barrett’s John Hancock.

Openings and Closing

Good News

c. 1880 (which I’ve also seen titled Circa 1880), a restaurant focused on Wisconsin ingredients, is set to open at 1100 S. 1st Street in the former Marchese’s Olive Pit space.

Clutch, a previously mentioned bar/restaurant, will open as a tapas restaurant as early as late March in the former La Piazza space at 1504 E. North Ave owned by the Mandel Group. Siam “Sam” Saeng, who also co-owns Screaming Tuna in the Mandel-managed First Place on the River space is the owner of the new restaurant.

My Yo My!, a frozen yogurt shop, will open at 100 S. Water Street in Walker’s Point in early to mid-April says owner Ken Thompson.

Pizzeria Piccola, a Bartolotta group restaurant, has opened at Concourse C at General Mitchell. The menu is a somewhat smaller version of the other Pizzeria Piccola in the Wauwatosa village.

Sven’s Cafe should be opening any day now on N. Water Street in the former Steamer’s space according to their previously announced schedule.

The SURG restaurant group is taking over Bradford Beach starting this summer. The beach was formerly managed by the Hi-Hat Group.

Ugly’s Pub and Grill will open this summer in the building where Asian Mart is currently located at 1125 N. Old World Third Street.

Von Trier is set to start serving food in early March in the form of “upscale small plates”. I hope the popcorn and pretzel sticks live on.

Bad News

Asian Market will close shortly. Owner Carmelino Capati is retiring.

Libiamo’s is closing on March 24th because of a “combination of a lot of things.” Major construction (or destruction) will begin sometime in the near future to remove the adjacent Schlitz Brewhouse building. Owner Dean Cannestra also owns and operates Nessun Dorma in Riverwest.

Rupena’s at the Milwaukee Public Market is closing at the end of February. The restaurant opened at the market in late 2008, and has another location at 7641 W. Beloit Road, West Allis. The Milwaukee Public Market is finalizing a deal with another vendor for the space.

Political and Election News

Milwaukee County Supervisor Patricia Jursik is apparently scared of Patrick Farley. Farley is the Milwaukee County employee who wore a wire in the Johnny Thomas bribery case. Jursik remarked “Every time I get together with Pat Farley, guess what I’m wondering.”

I was completely, 100% wrong regarding who Angel Sanchez would support in the race for 12th District Alderman. Sanchez is supporting Witkowiak. The low-turnout primary breakdown was as follows: Perez 49%, Witkowiak 35.5%, and Sanchez 15.5%.

Photo of the Week

Milwaukee map by wrokic

Milwaukee map by wrokic

Categories: Eyes on Milwaukee

9 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: Lake Parkway, Kohl’s and Target, Frontier vs Southwest, and More”

  1. Tracy says:

    I love this new series, great information! I just relocated for the next 3 years out of Milwaukee (from living Downtown to the sprawled vast-land of Orlando). These keep me in touch and help when I get homesick and will prevent any huge shocks when I move back to MKE. Thank you!

  2. Jim Tarantino says:

    This is really a great column – nice layout, succinct, and typically great analysis. Re: airport – Southwest is going to make some major moves in the next 2-3 years. Nationwide they’ve been re-opening direct flight lines previously provided by other carriers that they’ve helped put out of business. Also, with their functional ownership of Airtran, around 60% of flights through GMIA are via Southwest. The jury’s out on whether or not this is a good thing – look to Midway, once Southwest traffic hit a certain threshold it became a hub which spurs further traffic growth.

  3. Hyrax Suzuki says:

    Nice work on the series! Great updates…

    Regarding KRM (the obviously superior) solution to the “problem” of congestion on the south shore: Could streetcar money be redirected there? Would you support that? Could be a meme worth starting!

  4. Eric S says:

    @Hyrax You want to redirect transit funds from the City of Milwaukee to the south suburbs, is that what you are suggesting?

  5. Mike Rohde says:

    Jeramey, great series. Like the brief analysis and updates on what’s happening. Thanks!

  6. Hyrax Suzuki says:

    @Eric – not exactly, I’m suggesting the funds be used for KRM, which clearly benefits Milwaukee as well. I’m not against the streetcar, but I’m scared that it’s never going to get the funds to grow big enough to be useful. I’d consider swapping it for KRM, yes.

  7. Jesse Hagen says:

    @Hyrax, the streetcar money is not portable. It would be like Walker canceling the Madison to CHI high speed rail, because he wanted the money for highways. Except somewhere else got the money & taxpayers are paying for millions of $ in improvements that have to happen anyway without the grant.

    The real question is why does WIS-DOT have money to build new freeways but not maintain the ones we have? Why are state freeways & state roads in horrible shape? We literally have sinkholes forming on our freeways & don’t have money for maintenance, but we’re looking at building more lane miles. Fail.

  8. Milwaukee did not dodge a bullet by losing Kohl’s, they took another one to the leg. Target has been a staple of Downtown Minneapolis for decades. It keeps the businesses and streets busy and other businesses have moved downtown that work with Target. While they just moved some employees to their suburban lactation I have no worries that they will leave the city.

    1. Their suburban location is located on the future Bottineau LRT Transitway which will end only blocks from their Downtown Location (which, by the way, is already blocks from two LRT lines).


    2.Target pours money on the city. Target Field, Target Center, They sponsor the Walker Art Center, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, The Guthrie Theater, The Aquatennial, etc. 


    3. They just bought one of the most desirable and developable pieces of land in the city. 


    Kohl’s not moving here is yet another sign that Milwaukee doesn’t stack up to other cities its size. We already are short on fortune 500 companies in this state, why are we not enticing them with great deals? Yes we may lose out in some ways, but big businesses equal big results and we don’t have time to wait for the smaller companies to grow.

  9. Dave Reid says:

    @Andrew
    “Kohl’s not moving here is yet another sign that Milwaukee doesn’t stack up to other cities its size. ” Just haven’t seen this to be true…And I think the point is even if we throw millions of dollars as a big firm there’s no guarantee that down the road the company will begin shipping jobs out anyhow. Hence the 3900 jobs Target is transferring. Further “Without startups, there would be no net job growth in the U.S. economy. From 1977 to 2005, existing companies were net job destroyers, losing 1 million net jobs per year.” – Kauffman Foundation

    So maybe some emphasis on new business is a good idea.

    We already are short on fortune 500 companies in this state, why are we not enticing them with great deals?

    We are? I’m pretty sure this is actually the case “The Milwaukee metropolitan area ranks fifth in the United States in terms of the number of Fortune 500 company headquarters as a share of the population. “

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