Three predictions for three projects in 2012
We kickoff 2012 with three predictions about how three projects, which have the potential to change Milwaukee’s landscape, will unfold in 2012. The projects? The reconfiguration of the Lake Interchange, the Milwaukee Streetcar, and Kohl’s potential re-location to downtown Milwaukee.
Will WisDOT approve re-configuring the Lake Interchange as per the Long-Range Lakefront Plan? The Long-Range Lakefront Plan not only included the addition of a bike trail to the Hoan Bridge, but also included a new design for how downtown connects to the lakefront. A key part of this plan is the reconfiguration of the Lake Interchange with the goal of creating a new boulevard and opening up new lakefront property to development. WisDOT’s quick dismissal of the Hoan Bridge bike trail, combined with its less than stellar track record of working with the City of Milwaukee doesn’t give us much faith in cooperation. In this light we believe WisDOT will argue they can’t make the changes requested due to ‘safety’ and ‘congestion’ concerns. No, this project is not going to happen.
Will Kohl’s choose to move its headquarters to the Park East in downtown Milwaukee? The City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County are working together (how about that), to bring Kohl’s to the Park East. Working together the governmental entities have put together a proposal that would include more than $100 million in federal New Markets Tax Credits, potentially other incentives, and assistance far outweighing the $41 million TIF approved by the Village of Menomonee Valleys to entice Kohl’s to stay. During Chris Abele’s acceptance speech he indicated his intent to work with the City of Milwaukee to develop the Park East land, and again during his and Mayor Barrett’s combined re-election announcement event he and Mayor Barrett reiterated this partnership, hinting at a possible deal. Yes, Kohl’s will announce they are moving to the Park East as the deal being put together will be too good to pass on.