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.
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More about the Wisconsin Center expansion
- Plats and Parcels: Gilbane, CD Smith Will Build Wisconsin Center Expansion - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 12th, 2020
- Wisconsin Center District Announces Construction Manager for Wisconsin Center Expansion - Wisconsin Center District - Jan 10th, 2020
- Wisconsin Center District Announces Architectural Team for Wisconsin Center Expansion - Wisconsin Center District - Dec 19th, 2019
- Plats and Parcels: River One Apartments Construction Starts in March - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 1st, 2019
- Plats and Parcels: New Apartments Near Streetcar Line - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 20th, 2019
- Convention Center Expansion Advances - Alana Watson - Aug 17th, 2019
- Wisconsin Center District Board Unanimously Passes Resolution Regarding Exposition Center Expansion - Wisconsin Center District - Aug 16th, 2019
- Plats and Parcels: State Aids Convention Center Expansion - Jeramey Jannene - Jun 30th, 2019
- Plats and Parcels: Convention Center Expansion Inches Forward - Graham Kilmer - May 20th, 2019
- Wisconsin Center District Updates Timeline for Completion of the Wisconsin Center - Wisconsin Center District - May 10th, 2019
- Evers Budget Overlooks Convention Center - Corri Hess - Mar 8th, 2019
- Plats and Parcels: About That New Convention Center Plan - Graham Kilmer - Jun 17th, 2018
- Plenty of Horne: Downtown Power Brokers Mull Expanded Convention Center - Michael Horne - May 15th, 2014