Jeramey Jannene
Plats and Parcels

See Inside Convention Center Expansion

Plus: A recap of the week's real estate news.

By - May 23rd, 2021 08:08 pm
Wisconsin Center expanded exhibition hall. Rendering by tvsdesign and Eppstein Uhen Architects.

Wisconsin Center expanded exhibition hall. Rendering by tvsdesign and Eppstein Uhen Architects.

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.

“Where we are now is we’ve completed schematic design. We’re in the design development phase,” said Rob Svedberg of tvsdesign, the head of the project design team. Eppstein Uhen Architects is also working on the building design.

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.

The district has already sold more than 47,000 tickets to the Beyond Van Gogh immersive exhibit. Patrick Baldwin, Jr. choosing to attend UW-Milwaukee to play basketball for his father, UWM’s coach, is expected to boost revenues at district-owned Panther Arena.

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.



Current Building

Weekly Recap

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.

Read the full article

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.

The Century City effort got a shot in the arm when an affiliate of Good City Brewing acquired the building in late 2018. Now two new companies are joining the brewery.

Read the full article

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.

Read the full article

$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.

Read the full article

State Home Sales Up 15% Over Spring 2020

Wisconsin home sales keep increasing, even as the market continues to tighten.

The latest report from the Wisconsin Realtors Association found 6,935 sales of existing homes in April.

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.

Read the full article

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.

Read the full article

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.

Dana World-Patterson‘s Foundations for Freedom will acquire and renovate an eight-unit apartment building on the city’s north side.

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.

Read the full article

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.

“It’s far more accurate than photographs or measuring buildings by hand,” said UW-Milwaukee architecture professor Matt Jarosz to members of the Public Works Committee on May 12th.

Read the full article

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