Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

High-End Hotel Planned Across From Fiserv Forum

Bucks and partners hope to break ground in 2021.

By - Sep 9th, 2020 02:01 pm
Conceptual rendering of hotel in Deer District. Rendering by Eppstein Uhen Architects.

Conceptual rendering of hotel in Deer District. Rendering by Eppstein Uhen Architects.

The Milwaukee Bucks ownership group is taking the next step in building a full neighborhood around Fiserv Forum.

Team president Peter Feigin announced Wednesday morning that Madison-based North Central Group (NCG) was selected from multiple developers to build a “luxury, boutique” hotel on the vacant lot at 420 W. Juneau Ave.

Planned to open in 2023, the hotel will carry the Marriot Autograph Collection brand. The team will lease the land to NCG, which will in turn develop, own and operate the property.

The hotel will include approximately 230 rooms according to NCG president Jeff Lenz. “We look forward to making this hotel uniquely Milwaukee,” said Lenz, speaking at a press conference Wednesday morning inside Fiserv Forum.

What does “uniquely Milwaukee” mean? Neither Feigin nor Lenz would say at this point, both noting details were under development. Feigin said the hotel would integrate into the look and feel of the neighborhood and include artwork and a design theme reflecting the team and city. Lenz said a design consultant would integrate Milwaukee and Wisconsin themes into the hotel wherever possible. The Autograph Collection brand, which includes approximately 200 hotels, uses a slogan of “hotels like nothing else” and pitches individuality in its marketing.

Design concepts released Wednesday reflect an earlier master plan for the district and not the specific design of the hotel. Lenz told Urban Milwaukee that NCG is working with architecture firm Gary Brink & Associates on the hotel’s design.

The partners hope to break ground in fall 2021.

Even for those who never stay overnight in the hotel, there will be a variety of other amenities that are planned. At least one restaurant will occupy the hotel said Lenz, noting that further design refinement could result in multiple restaurants. Feigin said a rooftop deck would be included.

Feigin said the hotel represents the next step for Deer District, the approximately 30-acre swath of land, including the arena, the team is trying to activate.

“We want density. We want people to live here. We want people to play here. We want people to stay here,” he said.

The announcement drew praise from Mayor Tom Barrett and County Executive David Crowley.

“What we are witnessing in real time is the renaissance of this part of the city,” said Barrett. “My request is to just keep building stuff.”

“This kind of investment, job creation and tourism aid is an encouraging example of how we can continue to move forward in this time of crisis,” said Crowley.

The team previously selected Royal Capital Group to develop Five Fifty Ultra Lofts on the west side of the arena parking garage. That building opened earlier this year. Through its real estate affiliate, the team also developed three entertainment-centric buildings on the east side of Fiserv Forum and attracted a number of tenants.

“They’ve all helped make this an area people can live, work and play,” said Bucks senior vice president Michael Belot. He said the Bucks have spent over 18 months working on the hotel development. In July 2019 the team announced it was vetting multiple bids.

What’s next for the area? “We are looking at resident, we are looking at commercial,” said Feigin. The team owns the former Park East Freeway corridor north of the arena, including the lot where the hotel will go, as well as the site of the former Bradley Center immediately south of the arena.

The project is expected to be privately financed. The Bucks acquired the Park East Freeway corridor west of the river from Milwaukee County for $1 as part of the 2016 arena financing deal.

NCG operates approximately 25 hospitality properties said Lenz, including the Hilton Garden Inn in Brookfield and the Brookfield Conference Center.

The family-owned firm also owns and operates three hotels surrounding the Arizona Cardinals’ stadium and Arizona Coyotes’ arena, which are adjacent to each other in suburban Phoenix. Lenz said experience in that market has shown the firm how to anticipate demand from different events, including concerts. He said the Milwaukee hotel would also draw beyond Fiserv Forum including a growing central business district and planned convention center expansion.

A Hyatt Place extended-stay hotel, not owned by the Bucks, opened in 2018 at 800 W. Juneau Ave. The hotel is located just west of the team’s training facility property.

Renderings

Site Photos and Press Conference

Deer District Renderings

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