See Inside Convention Center Expansion
Plus: A recap of the week's real estate news.
The Wisconsin Center District is pushing forward on its bet that large, in-person gatherings will return by 2024. The first site work on a $420 million expansion project will start in July. Formal construction will begin in January and take approximately two years.
The district board was briefed on the effort by the project team during its Friday morning meeting.
The project will add 112,000 square feet of exhibition space, creating a 300,000-square-foot hall. A new 2,000-person ballroom and 24 meeting rooms would also be added, creating the capability to host two major conventions simultaneously.
The designs are not final, but the proposal calls for multiple outdoor decks, an indoor waterfall and revamping existing common spaces. The district is being represented by CAA Icon on the project.
A nearly six-minute-long video (included below) was shown to board members that features a fly-through of the interior of the revamped building.
The expansion will be built atop what is currently a surface parking lot along W. Kilbourn Ave. The building, currently with an entrance at W. Wisconsin Ave. and N. Vel R. Phillips Ave., will be reoriented to the north with a new front door at the southwest corner of N. Vel R. Phillips Ave. and W. Kilbourn Ave.
District CEO Marty Brooks told the board that things are looking up for the district’s business. All of the laid off employees are back at work, there is a general uptick in people looking to book events and a series of indicators portend that there is an interest in more events.
Brooks previously said the new facility would keep Milwaukee competitive with expansions planned or underway in St. Louis, Indianapolis, Columbus, Nashville and Louisville.
The project is being funded by district revenue, which includes a series of taxes in addition to rental fees. The district debt is backed by a 3% county-wide hotel room tax, 0.5% food and beverage sales tax and 3% rental car tax.
As part of approving the expansion in April 2020, the district raised the countywide hotel tax by a half percent (to 3%) to expand its debt reserve fund. The Common Council negotiated a revenue-sharing agreement with the district as part of the expansion.
The convention center’s use as a COVID-19 mass vaccination center will end May 28th as part of a transition to mobile and neighborhood clinics.
Brady Street Development Underway
Milwaukee Bucks guard Pat Connaughton is presumably more concerned this week with the pick-and-pop tendencies of the Miami Heat offense, but that doesn’t mean his real estate firm is standing flat-footed.
Three Leaf Development started construction earlier this year on its second Milwaukee project, a two-story building at the southwest corner of E. Brady St. and N. Marshall St.
The first floor will contain a divisible commercial space while the second story will contain a 2,400-square-foot apartment.
Century City Building Has Two New Tenants
A cluster of food and beverage-related businesses are emerging as the long-term users of the Century City 1 building.
The 53,160-square-foot warehouse was built as a spec building with no pre-leased tenants in 2016 by a partnership of General Capital Group and the City of Milwaukee. It was designed as a showpiece of the potential of the Century City business park, but permanents tenants have been hard to find for the 84-acre development near W. Capitol Dr. and N. 31st St.
Proposal Funds Attorneys For Tenants Facing Evictions
Milwaukee County could have a program providing free legal counsel to residents facing eviction by July.
Supervisor Ryan Clancy told Urban Milwaukee he has drafted a resolution that would allocate funding to a county “Right to Counsel” program for residents facing eviction and foreclosure. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates the program would provide help more than 14,000 households in Milwaukee.
During the 2021 budget process, Clancy sponsored an amendment that requested the county DHHS to analyze potential ways for the county to establish a “Right to Counsel” program. The amendment specified the program would only be for residents in the 53206 ZIP code, which has the most evictions in the county and children under the age of 18 at the time of the eviction.
$140 Million, 32-Story Third Ward Tower Revealed
A proposed residential apartment tower for the Historic Third Ward would rise 32 stories (365 feet) and contain 295 units, becoming the tallest building in the neighborhood.
The $140 million proposal from Hines Acquisitions for the 0.79-acre site at 333 N. Water St. was presented to the Historic Third Ward Architectural Review Board Wednesday afternoon for preliminary review.
It would occupy what is today a surface parking lot at the southwest corner of N. Water St. and E. St. Paul Ave. kitty-corner from the Milwaukee Public Market.
State Home Sales Up 15% Over Spring 2020
Wisconsin home sales keep increasing, even as the market continues to tighten.
That was a 14.6 percent increase from sales a year earlier, though economist David Clark of Marquette University said the increase isn’t a surprise, since the state was still under Gov. Tony Evers’ “Safer At Home” order a year ago.
East Side Condo Plan Still a Parking Lot
There is still hope that the final piece of a 2005 redevelopment plan for the Kenilworth complex will happen.
The Common Council approved a zoning change that year that allowed a development group to redevelop the Kenilworth Building complex, 2185 N. Prospect Ave., into a student housing facility for UW-Milwaukee, the Kenilworth Square Apartments, a home for the Peck School of the Arts and first-floor retail space. A public pedestrian street between the two buildings that front N. Prospect Ave. and N. Farwell Ave. was created to provide access to the Oak Leaf Trail.
It also included approval of an eight-story condominium building.
New Housing for Human Trafficking Victims
The City of Milwaukee has found a partner and a building for a new emergency housing facility for victims of human trafficking.
The seven-year-old nonprofit works with females that have been compelled to provide commercial sex acts through physical force, fraud or other kinds of coercion.
City Could Require Laser Scanning of Buildings Slated for Demolition
A proposal pending before the Common Council would add a new way for the city to record its history.
Property owners seeking to demolish buildings would be required to conduct a laser survey of the exterior of their structures.
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- Plats and Parcels: See Inside Convention Center Expansion - Jeramey Jannene - May 23rd, 2021
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Who Wants To Name the Wisconsin Center? - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 1st, 2021
- Plats and Parcels: Riverwest Hostel Becoming Cooperative Housing Facility - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 13th, 2020
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Wisconsin Center Gives Final Approval for $420 Million Expansion - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 9th, 2020
- 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
Read more about Wisconsin Center expansion here