Jeramey Jannene

Downtown Dog Park Will Include Riverfront Brewery

Foxtown Landing will include Foxtown Brewery and Fromm-sponsored dog park.

By - Nov 2nd, 2022 12:53 pm
Proposed Foxtown Landing and downtown dog park along the Milwaukee River. Rendering by Stephen Perry Smith Architects.

Proposed Foxtown Landing and downtown dog park along the Milwaukee River. Rendering by Stephen Perry Smith Architects.

The quest to build a sizable downtown dog park took a major step forward Wednesday morning.

The park, planned for a vacant riverfront site along N. Plankinton Ave., now has a naming rights partner and a proposed next-door neighbor.

Fromm Family Pet Food is the naming rights partner for the project. In addition, the Fromm-Nieman family-owned Foxtown Brewing will build a 28,000-square-foot brewery on the southern edge of the site. The joint development is to be known as Foxtown Landing.

“Milwaukee is rich in history, as is the Fromm brand and our family. When we learned about the dog park project, we began exploring the larger opportunity to develop a true ‘dog district’ where people and their pets can gather along the river at the nexus of where the Historic Third Ward and Downtown meet,” said Fromm president Tom Nieman in a statement. “With dog ownership rapidly increasing in recent years in the greater downtown area, we see this as a natural fit for us and a game changer for the City of Milwaukee.”

The dog park, first proposed in 2020, would be built at the southeast corner of the intersection of N. Plankinton Ave. and W. Clybourn St. Much of that site is located underneath Interstate 794 and publicly owned.

The brewery complex, which would include a taproom, distillery and restaurant, is to be located on a privately-owned, vacant site, 412-420 N. Plankinton Ave., at the northeast corner of N. Plankinton Ave. and W. St. Paul Ave.

A new riverwalk segment would run along the 1.4-acre site, filling in one of the last remaining gaps in Downtown. The dog park would include separately-fenced areas for both large and small dogs as well as artificial turf.

Matt Dorner of Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21, and Paul Schwartz of Third Ward, BID #2 have jointly pursued the project on behalf of their organizations, hosting many dog-themed fundraisers and securing a $25,000 grant. But Wednesday’s announcement marks a notable upgrade to a project that had lagged and was originally to be completed by the end of 2020.

“This is a significant milestone for the project and certainly a vote of confidence from one of the country’s largest specialty pet food manufacturing companies,” said Schwartz. The pet food company and original Foxtown Brewing location are both in Mequon.

“This is a generational opportunity to reinvent a long-dormant, underutilized, but highly visible area of Downtown into what will be a true destination that enhances Downtown’s quality of life and bridges the gap between the Historic Third Ward and Westown neighborhoods,” said Dorner.

Stephen Perry Smith Architects is designing the building while GRAEF is continuing to design the dog park. Scott Welsh of Colliers International is representing Fromm in purchasing the brewery site and was an early supporter of the dog park effort.

It would be the first public dog park located Downtown. The nearest dog parks are approximately three miles away, either to the north in Riverwest or south in Bay View.

A press release announcing the latest development said an updated project timeline would be released at a future date.

A historical marker is expected to eventually be installed immediately south of the new brewery following the county’s formal recognition of the site of the former Black Nite tavern and associated Black Nite Brawl as a landmark. The 1961 brawl, which occurred outside the since-demolished gay bar, is considered a major event in the early history of the gay rights movement.

Foxtown Renderings

Dog Park Renderings

Site Photos

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One thought on “Downtown Dog Park Will Include Riverfront Brewery”

  1. Polaris says:

    What a great project all around! I was just thinking this morning about how the Riverwalk could use more activating…and here MKE gets more riverwalk and more activation. My boy, Duke, and I may need to move back to MKE and make “Dogtown” our new home…

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