Joe Davis, Sr.
Press Release

Proposed arena district amendment would boost minority-owned businesses

“The amendment provides the opportunity for minority-owned businesses to be a part of this diverse, catalytic and transformational Milwaukee project – as they should be.”

By - Sep 12th, 2015 02:07 pm
Arena Development Live Block View

Arena Development Live Block View

Alderman Joe Davis, Sr. is proposing an amendment to the tax incremental district for the new downtown arena that would provide unique opportunities for minority-owned businesses.

The proposed Common Council resolution to be introduced by Alderman Davis would amend the operating agreement for TID No. 84 (downtown arena district) to ensure that 50,000 square feet of retail or commercial space is made available exclusively for minority-owned businesses.

Additionally, the measure would provide for a 25% per square foot cost reduction for minority-owned business tenants for the first five years. The amendment would include the entire “Proposed 8 Block Development” that is a key centerpiece of the arena development proposal, Alderman Davis said.

“The amendment provides the opportunity for minority-owned businesses to be a part of this diverse, catalytic and transformational Milwaukee project – as they should be,” said Alderman Davis, chair of the Council’s Community and Economic Development Committee.

Alderman Davis noted that Milwaukee has “lacked traction” when it comes to fostering success of minority-owned businesses.  “This is about the future, and attempting to chip away at the lack of growth in our number of minority-owned businesses,” he said.

“This proposal is not going to be a panacea, but in my mind it sure is a good start,” the alderman said. Alderman Davis said he expects the amendment resolution to be heard by the Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee.

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3 thoughts on “Proposed arena district amendment would boost minority-owned businesses”

  1. Milwaukee Native says:

    With the city’s minority population above 40 percent, this is a noble goal. However, the Bucks have little incentive to tweak even the edges of their sickeningly-sweet deal. They have rejected nearly every attempt to have the arena deal fiscally serve taxpayers or community needs (other than a few labor concessions).

    Their non-binding terms sheet with the city calls for 25% local tenants in their “entertainment” mall–if anyone can afford market rates (which are always high in malls). The only local businesses likely to be in the Bucks mall are groups with several establishments already, especially ones near the arena. That way they can hedge their bets. Since the mall will siphon from Third and Water St. businesses one or two locals may try to make up for it with a mall presence (probably with a little incentive thrown in).

    The Bucks terms also say a Bucks-owned business will count as a local, so a pro shop, memorabilia store etc. would help meet that 25% goal.

  2. Ryan says:

    This is a noble idea but likely a great hinderance to the entertainment district because if any of them fail it would have to sit vacant until a minority owned business would come along, which isn’t guaranteed. Don’t want to create dead space in the name of affirmative action.

    I also don’t see it siphoning anyone away from Old World Third Street of Water Street as the people who frequent the Bucks games from out of the city don’t stop there as much as it is anyways, they pop in and pop out and the people who live in the city won’t abandon favorite places for new places just because.

  3. M says:

    @Ryan, sounds like you’re saying taxpayers will spend about $100 million in direct & indirect subsidies so suburbanites will have their very own chain mall to possibly visit pre and post games. Wow! The new arena will already have many more in-house options for food and drink, including all those luxury suites that will probably draw plenty of suburbanites.

    My sister lives in Delafield and when they come downtown they eat at many places but not the chains.

    Just think what the city could have done with even some of those subsidies to really catalyze more needed development.

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