Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Inside The Trade Hotel

Deer District hotel hopes to win lots of business, including from NBA teams.

By - May 18th, 2023 02:51 pm
The Trade hotel. Photos by Jeramey Jannene.

The Trade hotel. Photos by Jeramey Jannene.

Milwaukee’s newest hotel will welcome its first guests Thursday night.

The Trade, a 207-room, full-service hotel, is officially open in the Deer District neighborhood at the north end of Downtown.

“Tonight, when guests arrive, they are going to experience something that is truly Milwaukee,” said Andy Inman, vice president of hotel owner and operator North Central Group (NCG), during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday morning.

Part of the Marriott Autograph Collection, the four-star hotel is named for the gritty people and industries that built Milwaukee said Inman. Its design features a substantial amount of metal and masonry, as well as industrial imagery throughout. A large staircase in the lobby is designed to look like the Hoan Bridge and Cream City-brick accent walls are included near the elevators on every floor.

But the blue-collar homages give way to a high-end experience throughout. The hotel features three restaurants, a special, extra-tall floor designed to lure in other basketball teams, a large ballroom and a two-story presidential suite.

“We have already begun to fill it with convention and meeting attendees who have been clamoring to see it since it was announced,” said VISIT Milwaukee CEO Peggy Williams-Smith. She said it was the first full-service hotel to open in the city in at least four years. It’s also the rare new hotel designed to compete at the top end of the market.

“The addition of the Trade Hotel to Milwaukee’s hotel network could not have come at a better time,” said Mayor Cavalier Johnson. He noted that not only will the hotel welcome guests for the Republican National Convention next summer, but it will also take advantage of the grand opening of the expanded Baird Center convention center and be a welcome amenity for several new downtown employers including Milwaukee Tool and Fiserv.

The hotel, 420 W. Juneau Ave., is directly across the street from Fiserv Forum. It’s built on land, owned by the Milwaukee Bucks real estate affiliate, that was formerly underneath the Park East Freeway. NCG has a long-term lease for the property from the Bucks.

Senior vice president of Bucks Ventures and Development, Michael Belot said NCG has been “a partner in every sense of the word.” The Bucks, as team president Peter Feigin has routinely repeated, have a vision of making Deer District a place where people live, work, play and stay. “We have definitely accomplished the stay part.”

J.H. Findorff & Son led the project’s general contracting. Gary Brink & Associates served as the project architect.


There are three public-facing restaurants in the hotel, including one on the ninth floor with a rooftop deck.

Just off the lobby, guests are greeted by Craft. The restaurant and bar offers breakfast, brunch and dinner every day and features a large tap beer list and a vast selection of spirits. On the second level, Solomon’s serves up small plates and a whiskey-heavy drink list. It opens at 4 p.m. and is closed on Monday. A series of meeting rooms, decks and a 400-person ballroom wrap the restaurants.

Il Cervo offers a high-end, modern Italian dining experience on the ninth floor. Operated by the Madison-based Food Fight restaurant group, the restaurant has a large dining room, rooftop deck and bar. The restaurant’s name translates to “the deer” in Italian. It opens daily at 4 p.m.

Full menus and hours for each restaurant are available on The Trade website.

The fourth floor of the hotel is targeted at landing the business of the visiting basketball teams. The floor is two-feet taller than the other guest floors, the shower heads are mounted higher and the toilets are taller (“extra comfort height” size). It also includes a large lounge. Teams primarily stay at the Pfister Hotel, Kimpton Journeyman Hotel or Saint Kate The Arts Hotel today. The NBA’s collective bargaining agreement requires teams to find “first-class hotels” with extra-long beds and porters to carry baggage.

The top of the building isn’t just for Il Cervo. A two-level presidential suite, approximately 2,000 square feet in total, spans a portion of both the eighth and ninth floors. The hallways around the large suite are designed to allow the adjacent smaller rooms to be combined with it to create a multi-room super suite that can sleep more than 10 people. A private rooftop green roof deck is included, as is an open two-story space with a fireplace and large windows.

There are more than 20 suites in the hotel. The majority of the rooms offer king-sized beds, a reflection that the hotel is focused on “convention and weekend” travelers, and not families.

Parking for the hotel is being accommodated through the adjacent 5th Street Parking Garage jointly built by the city and Bucks. The north half of the block The Trade sits on is expected to eventually house another building, with a future parking structure dividing the two.

An approximately 1,100-square-foot commercial space is located on the west side of the first floor, but no tenant has been announced.

Property tax revenue from the privately-financed hotel will go toward paying back the tax incremental financing district associated with the arena project, primarily debt associated with the parking garage and plaza. The hotel should generate a steady stream of tax revenue. The Aloft Hotel, located two blocks east, is assessed for $20.5 million but is both smaller (160 rooms) and positioned lower in the market.

Despite being otherwise immersed in Milwaukee imagery, the hotel’s design has one geographic issue. It has nods to two of the three Milwaukee founders in Solomon’s restaurant (Solomon Juneau) and the Walker Room (George Walker), but it fails to mention Byron Kilbourn. The omitted founder created Kilbourn Town, which included the west side of downtown where the hotel sits.

The hotel’s initial general manager is Rich Lundt.

Interior Photos


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2 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: Inside The Trade Hotel”

  1. Andrew B says:

    Are people clever here, or just plain ignorant of culture?

    They must actually know what “trade” means, right?

  2. ZeeManMke says:

    For $290/night and $30 in taxes for the smallest room it should be nice.

    Breakfast? Extra charge.

    Parking? Extra charge.

    Pool? No pool.

    Hot tub? No hot tub.

    Motel 6? They leave the light on for you.

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