Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

City Wins Grant To Develop Site Beneath Marquette Interchange

With $3.25 million federal grant, Menomonee Valley site would receive street extension, water and sewer service.

By - Sep 14th, 2022 04:29 pm
Kneeland Properties conceptual rendering from 2018 Menomonee Valley design charette. Rendering by HGA.

Kneeland Properties conceptual rendering from 2018 Menomonee Valley design charette. Rendering by HGA.

A federal grant will help unlock the potential development of an effectively hidden 15-acre site in the Menomonee Valley.

The City of Milwaukee was selected as the winner of a $3.2 million U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant. The funding will be used to prepare the riverfront site for future industrial development, including the construction of an eastward extension of W. Mt. Vernon Ave. and the installation of sewer and water service lines.

Known as the Kneeland Properties, the site sits between the Canadian Pacific railroad line and Menomonee River, and below the Interstate 94 High-Rise Bridge leading to the Marquette Interchange. A conceptual plan envisions space for three buildings, with a parking lot under the part covered by the freeway. 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.

“For years, the Menomonee Valley has witnessed new industrial development and robust economic growth. The Kneeland Properties site is one of the remaining parcels in the Valley that will boost this positive momentum. New investment at the Kneeland Properties site will create manufacturing jobs for local residents that will generate economic growth in our city, our state, and our region,” said Mayor Cavalier Johnson in a statement announcing the grant awarded.

Urban Milwaukee reported on the grant application in April. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) made the grant application more enticing because it shifted the local cost share from a 50% match to a 20% match. The city will still need to contribute $798,540. The expectation shared with the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee board when the grant application was introduced was that the local funding would likely come from a tax incremental financing district and be repaid by increased property tax revenue from the site.

Working with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and Menomonee Valley Partners, the city intends to put in the infrastructure and sell the site for development.

The federal funding comes from EDA’s Coal Communities Commitment (CCC) which is backed with $300 million in ARPA funding. The CCC is targeted at supporting cities that are making the shift away from coal mining or burning. The Kneeland site was used for a period as a coal yard and is across the Menomonee River from the We Energies Valley Power Plant, which was converted in the past decade to burn natural gas instead of coal.

“This is the power of partnerships on full display,” said Johnson. “I am looking forward to returning this site to productive use, generating new economic activity, and realizing the full potential of the Menomonee Valley. Thank you to the President and our federal partners for helping move Milwaukee forward.”

Most recently it was used as a staging area during the construction of the Marquette Interchange. It’s historically also been used as a 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; 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.

Photos and Site Map

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Categories: Real Estate, Weekly

One thought on “Eyes on Milwaukee: City Wins Grant To Develop Site Beneath Marquette Interchange”

  1. kmurphy724 says:

    Some anonymous city, county, and state employees made this happen. Kudos to the mayor for blessing the effort, but those folks deserve a raise! Nice work!

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