Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

City Preparing Menomonee Valley Site For Development

Three buildings could be built on Kneeland Properties site.

By - Apr 14th, 2022 04:12 pm
Kneeland Properties Site, 260 N. 12th St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Kneeland Properties Site, 260 N. 12th St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

A virtually hidden Menomonee Valley site could soon see new life under a federal grant.

The 15-acre Kneeland Properties site sits between the Canadian Pacific railroad line and Menomonee River, and below the Interstate 94 High-Rise Bridge leading to the Marquette Interchange.

The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee is seeking a $3.2 million grant that would partially fund an extension of W. Mt. Vernon Ave. onto the site as well as sewer and water lines.

“There has been a lot of interest in this area,” said RACM project manager Benjamin Timm to the agency’s board on March 17. “The city would put in the infrastructure and we would sell the property to the private sector.”

A conceptual plan envisions space for three buildings, with a parking lot under the part covered by the freeway.

“We are working in concert with the Menomonee Valley Partners (MVP) and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to make this happen,” said Timm.

The American Rescue Plan Act changed the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration grant program from a 50/50 match, to an 80/20 split, making it more desirable for the city. In order to access the $3.2 million grant, the city and its partners would need to provide $800,000.

The long-term expectation is that the local funding would come from a tax incremental financing (TIF) district, paid back by increased property tax revenue from new development on the site. In the short run, MVP has agreed to pledge the amount to access the grant.

It was identified as a catalytic site in both the 1998 and 2015 Menomonee Valley plans and is one of the largest remaining sites in the valley.

Most recently it was used as a staging area during the construction of the Marquette Interchange. It’s historically also used for a coal yard and lumber storage site. For a period the city stored towed vehicles on a portion of the site.

Even before the freeway began running above the middle of the site, it was difficult to access given its location between railroad tracks and a river.

The site is named for its former owner: 19th-century railroad promoter, businessman and politician James Kneeland.

It is technically three parcels today. There’s the eight-acre 260 N. 12th St. on the west side, the five-acre 907 W. Hinman St. under the freeway and the two-acre 825 W. Hinman St. on the east. But you won’t find “Hinman St” on a street sign in Milwaukee anymore. It was erased with the construction of the Marquette Interchange.

WisDOT owns the site under the freeway and RACM owns the other two parcels.

A small, curbless road currently runs just to the north of the site. It’s lightly used by trucks to access the business mail area at the rear of the Milwaukee Main Post Office facility several blocks to the east. A future street could connect with that and run through the base of the elevated mail sorting facility to N. Plankinton Ave.

The board unanimously approved seeking the grant.

Photos and Site Map

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One thought on “Eyes on Milwaukee: City Preparing Menomonee Valley Site For Development”

  1. says:

    The site has access to rail service and navigable water.
    To flourish, just add wisdom and foresight.

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