About That New Convention Center Plan
Renderings for expansion look beautiful, but where’s the money?
The Wisconsin Center District released some renderings this week for a fancy new expansion of the convention center in downtown Milwaukee, but as a few local real estate reporters noted, there is still no money for this. And the prospect of a higher tax levy seems unlikely.
Crossroad Consulting, out of Tampa, Florida, and Kansas City-based Populous worked on the renderings and the plans for the district, Corri Hess reported for the Biz Times. But the plans call for a new expansion with a price tag of between $247 and $277 million. The expanded center would be more than 400,000 square feet, whereas the current center is less than 300,000 square feet.
The district can borrow up to $200 million, but would need approval from the governor and state legislature to levy a tax for the remaining funds. Crossroads also said the area surrounding the proposed convention center would need at least 1,000 new hotel rooms.
See, the whole plan is simple: Build a bigger, fancier center, attract more conventions, and ipso facto generate more cash for the local economy and tax coffers.
But they have to get the math right. They have to pay for it and also deliver something that is worth a hefty investment, and a potential increase in the tax levy for the district.
City Shows Affordable Housing a Priority
The City of Milwaukee, by way of its Common Council, made good once again on a lot of talk about the importance of affordable housing.
The price was reduced from $20,000 to $4,350, Jannene reported. A small gesture, ultimately, on behalf of the city. But one that may make a huge difference for many.
The majority of the units in the project will offer affordable housing. The city has made this a priority, even undertaking a massive redevelopment of public housing on the northwest side, the Westlawn project.
When Matthew Desmond’s book, Evicted, was published, it revealed to many what affordable housing advocates have long been seeing. And it lit a fire under local leaders to address an issue that is so critical to families living in poverty.
There is a long way to go, and it remains to be seen if we have the societal will to really solve the problem. But stories like this show we’re still in the fight.
Companies move around offices
It was reported this week that a few firms with offices already in Milwaukee are moving into new digs in the city.
This is good news. I mean, at least they’re not moving their headquarters to some sterile business park in the suburbs.
Ernst & Young LLP and National General Insurance are both leasing new spaces as Tom Daykin reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The latter took the last open space in Schlitz Business Park, and is leaving behind its offices on W. Michigan Street. Ernst & Young is relocating to the 15th floor at 833 E. Michigan Street, Daykin reported.
In Other News:
-The Freshwater Plaza saga continues.
-The Bucks have installed a huge new sign.
And in case you missed it, we featured the Coakley’s project in last week’s Friday Photos.
If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real, independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits, all detailed here.
- Eyes on Milwaukee: City Approves Wisconsin Center Deal - Jeramey Jannene - Apr 15th, 2020
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Convention Center District Authorizes $420 Million Expansion, Raises Hotel Tax - Jeramey Jannene - Apr 2nd, 2020
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Wisconsin Center Faces 50% Revenue Cut - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 30th, 2020
- Plats and Parcels: City Could Get Cash From Convention Center Expansion - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 29th, 2020
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Council Delays Convention Expansion? - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 24th, 2020
- Plats and Parcels: Convention Center Expansion Paused - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 22nd, 2020
- Plats and Parcels: 11 Key Details About the Convention Center Expansion - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 8th, 2020
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Renderings Released for Convention Center Expansion - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 6th, 2020
- Eyes on Milwaukee: City Wants $5 Million of Hotel Tax Per Year - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 3rd, 2020
- Plats and Parcels: UWM Gets Okay to Partially Demolish Columbia Hospital - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 1st, 2020
Read more about Wisconsin Center expansion here