Three Hotels Begin Their Ascent
Holiday Inn Express, Home2 Suites and Tru by Hilton will occupy N. Jefferson St. complex.
Three new downtown hotels have begun to rise from the ground in East Town
Hotel developer JR Hospitality, in partnership with Hawkeye Hotels, is working to open the trio of hotels with 331 rooms planned between them. The firms intend to develop and operate Holiday Inn Express (116 guest rooms), Home2 Suites by Hilton (115 guest rooms) and Tru by Hilton (100 guest rooms) hotels at the southwest corner of E. Michigan St. and N. Jefferson St.
The two new buildings are being designed by hotel architecture specialist Base4. Adjoining hotels have become increasingly popular in recent years because of their ability to share back-of-the-house functions, like laundry or waste disposal, as well as parking.
Construction on the southernmost building, to be used by the two Hilton properties, has reached the third floor, half of the building’s planned height. The one-story concrete pedestal is all that’s visible on the northern building. Stevens Construction is leading the general contracting on both buildings.
Matching the Hop City name, two stations on The Hop’s planned lakefront streetcar line sit ready and waiting a block from the development site. They’re scheduled to go into service by the end of 2020 once they’re connected via a station in the base of The Couture, or maybe not. The city continues to delay the streetcar project as long as possible to allow The Couture’s developers to secure financing for the apartment tower.
The hotels won’t open in time for the July 2020 Democratic National Convention as the development team originally hoped. They would have seen a week of 100 percent occupancy shortly after opening, but demolition didn’t start in time according to Hawkeye Hotels development manager Samir Patel.
You can’t go more than a few blocks from the hotels’ site without hitting another construction project. Go west a block and you’re at the site of the Huron Building. Go south and you’ll find a new apartment building and electrical substation rising. Go east and you’ll find the empty lot that is planned to be home to The Couture. Go north and you’ll find a crew working to renovate the Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse and another working on the McGeoch Building.
The fact that the site was chosen for use as a hotel shouldn’t come as a surprise. The new hotels reflect a decade-long trend of new hotel development in downtown Milwaukee, with many of the new hotels opening close to Lake Michigan and the cluster of high rises along E. Wisconsin Ave. The past decade has seen the addition of Drury, Cambria, Kimpton, Aloft, Marriott, Westin, SpringHill Suites, Homewood Suites, Hyatt Place and the independent Brew House Inn & Suites hotels. A number of existing downtown hotels have been refreshed or redeveloped in that time.
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