Milwaukee County Transfers Buildings to Milwaukee Art Museum
Agreement Saves County Tens of Millions in Maintenance Costs
MILWAUKEE – In an agreement signed today with Milwaukee County, the Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) takes ownership of several buildings that make up its lakefront campus, along with O’Donnell Park and the parking garage beneath it. MAM will also assume responsibility for tens of millions of dollars in maintenance costs for the structures, while the county retains ownership of the land.
County Board Chairman Theodore Lipscomb, Sr. introduced the resolution transferring ownership of the O’Donnell Park structure and other buildings to the Milwaukee Art Museum in early 2016, after an effort to sell the O’Donnell parking garage and public park above it to Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance failed.
“This agreement saves Milwaukee County an estimated $28 million in deferred maintenance and future costs, and will cut in half our annual subsidy for the Milwaukee Art Museum after 2023. This is a good deal for taxpayers and promotes the use and enjoyment of Milwaukee County’s lakefront property for the benefit of the public,” said Lipscomb.
MAM will assume responsibility for maintenance of the Kahler building, including the recently constructed East Addition, portions of the Saarinen Building it occupies, and the O’Donnell Park garage, along with the 9-acre O’Donnell Park above the garage. MAM also becomes the leaseholder of the Betty Brinn Children’s museum and Coast restaurant, located in the Miller Pavilion within the park.
The Milwaukee County War Memorial will assume responsibility for maintaining the portions of the Saarinen Building that it occupies.
The agreement relieves Milwaukee County of more than $28 million in estimated repairs and maintenance costs.
The Milwaukee Art Museum will gain new revenue from the O’Donnell Park garage, which is popular among museum patrons, and has promised to make significant improvements to the garage and the park space above it.