Unprecedented Investment Spurring Additional Growth
Downtown Milwaukee is the economic engine of the region. Since 2005, over $3.3 billion has been invested in completed, private and public projects, and more than $2.6 billion is currently under construction or proposed to start soon. This record investment traverses all industry sectors to create a balanced portfolio, which underscores the strength of the downtown real estate market.
Below, we have highlighted downtown's catalytic projects, helping secure Milwaukee's standing as a competitive and vibrant, world-class city. Check back frequently for emerging projects and updates.
Anchoring the lakefront development boom, the $450 million, 32-story, 1.1 million square feet Northwestern Mutual headquarters will be the largest office building in the State of Wisconsin when completed in 2017. The flagship property is creating more than 1,000 construction jobs, will preserve 1,100 corporate jobs, and is expected to bring more than 1,900 jobs at the company's Downtown Milwaukee campus in the coming years. Learn more about this project by clicking here.
West of Northwestern Mutual's headquarters at 777 N. Van Buren Street, construction is underway on a $100 million, 34-story companion mixed-use tower featuring 308 apartments, 1,400 parking stalls and approximately 10,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space. The project will be completed by the spring of 2018. Learn more by clicking here.
The development of The Milwaukee Streetcar is moving forward following city approval in February 2015. The final design of the Phase 1 route is completed and utility relocation work is currently underway. In October 2015, the Federal Department of Transportation announced a $14.2 million TIGER grant to cover half the costs for implementing the Lakefront Extension. The Request for Proposals (RFP) for streetcar vehicle construction was issued and selection of a vehicle vendor, US-based Brookville Equipment Corp., is complete. Learn more by clicking here.
Milwaukee Bucks Arena
Construction of the new $524 million Bucks arena is well underway. This is the centerpiece and anchor for a new 25-acre entertainment district and neighborhood encompassing the former Park East freeway corridor. Phase 1 also includes a 243 stall parking structure with ground floor retail that is under-construction directly to the north of the arena. Also under construction is a new 55,000 square feet training facility to the west of the arena and east of The Brewery neighborhood. Also recently started is the decommissioning and demolition of the existing parking structure located at 4th and Highland Avenue to make way for a "Live Block" entertainment complex directly to the east of the new arena.
Construction of the arena began in late summer 2016 and is expected to be completed for the 2018-2019 NBA Season. The parking structure and Live Block are also expected to be completed by the time the arena opens. The remaining Park East land is expected to be fully redeveloped within the next decade.
The $25 million Lakefront Gateway Plaza is the centerpiece of hundreds of millions of dollars of infrastructure improvements at the lakefront. The Plaza will create stronger connectivity between the lakefront and central business district and be a community gathering place for the whole city and region. The consultant team is led by Milwaukee-based GRAEF and also includes PFS Studio, Rinka Chung, Dan Euser Water Architecture, and local social architecture firm, NEWaukee. The consultant team is currently holding public engagement meetings to gain input about the design from stakeholders. Initial conceptual design elements include the possibilities for a new public plaza, water features, and pedestrian bridges. Learn more about this project by clicking here.
Directly to the west of the new 833 East office building and south of the US Bank tower, construction is well underway on the 220-room Westin Hotel. The 10-story hotel will boast 9,000 square-feet of meeting space, a 5,000 square feet ballroom, and restaurant space. The hotel will feature direct connections to the US Bank Center's Galleria and the recently opened 833 East Michigan via skywalk bridges.
The $50 million investment marks the fourth Downtown Milwaukee hotel development led by Jackson Street Holdings, LLC. Milwaukee's lakefront will be the home to the State of Wisconsin's first Westin Hotel and will also be Milwaukee's closest hotel to Lake Michigan when completed in June 2017. Learn more about this project by clicking here.
Soon to be a signature tower in Milwaukee's lakefront skyline, The Couture, a $122 million, 44-story mixed-use tower, will feature over 300 apartments and approximately 50,000 square feet of retail space. The Couture will replace the existing Downtown Transit Center with a new, state-of-the-art multimodal transit hub for the Milwaukee Streetcar lakefront extension and the bus rapid transit line that will connect Downtown Milwaukee and the Milwaukee County Research Park. The Couture will also provide public amenities and pedestrian connectivity between the central business district, O'Donnell Park and Milwaukee's lakefront. Learn more about the Couture by clicking here.
The Shops of Grand Avenue
The Shops of Grand Avenue was recently purchased by a new ownership group with Milwaukee-area ties. In late spring 2016, the new owners unveiled their vision for the future of The Shops of Grand Avenue. The plans for the three connected blocks along the south side of West Wisconsin Avenue includes a creative mix of small retailers and restaurants on the ground floor, an urban grocery store, brew pubs, and other well-integrated spaces. The upper two floors can be reconfigured to host as much as 120,000 square-feet of unique office space overlooking a lively marketplace below. Anchor tenants like TJ Maxx, Boston Store, and others will remain and benefit from the increased traffic.
Jack Miller, retired founder and President/CEO of Quill Corporation, one of the nation's largest office product companies, is focusing his attention on Downtown Milwaukee. After selling Quill to Staples in 1998, Miller started Millbrook Real Estate Company and Millbrook along with Fulcrum Asset Advisors purchased 250 East Wisconsin Avenue in July of 2015.
The new owners have already white boxed the top three floors, cleaned and repaired the facade, and completed structural repairs on the parking structure. Next renovation plans include a new state-of-the-art tenant fitness center, WI-FI lounge, conference center, remodeled common spaces including the main lobby and entrance, and all new elevators. Along with rebranding the building, the $8.5 million existing competitive amenities, including the attached 445 parking spaces and skywalk connections. Learn more about Two-Fifty East by clicking here.
Vangard Group LLC, Cardinal Capital Management Inc., and Endeavour Corporation are in the process of repositioning one of the city's most iconic historical landmarks. Located at the intersection of Wells Street and Plankinton Avenue at 135 W. Wells Street, the 120-year-old Germania Building is undergoing a $22 million reinvestment. The eight-story building will be repurposed to include 46 market-rate and 44 affordable apartment units with street-level retail. The project will be complete in summer 2017.
Laacke & Joys Redevelopment
The former Laacke & Joys site, located at 1421-1475 N. Water Street, is undergoing a redevelopment into an 113,000 square feet, five-story office building. Led by Wangard Partners, the $33 million project will be anchored by the relocation of Bader Rutter and its 230+ employees from Brookfield to Downtown Milwaukee. The project will also feature over 500 feet of Milwaukee River frontage, onsite parking, and 12,500 square feet of first floor commercial space with a patio. The first phase of the project will be completed by 2017. The second phase with early plans for a 12-story hotel is also being contemplated.
Mackie Building Restoration
The 136-year-old Mackie Building is undergoing a $12.4 million historic renovation that will convert the upper three floors of the former Grain Exchange Building into 25 luxury apartments to be renamed as the Mackie Flats. The project also includes a comprehensive historic restoration of the building's facade, foundation, and bell tower. The project will also preserve the beautiful Grain Exchange event space and ground floor retail suites. The revitalization of the historic Mackie Building is expected to be complete in December 2016.
Marquette University, with the support of a $40 million partnership with Aurora Health Care, is gearing up for a $120 million state-of-the-art athletic performance and research facility that better connect downtown and the Marquette University campus. The facility will combine indoor playing fields for Marquette's lacrosse and soccer programs, an indoor track, and a world-class athletic performance research facility led by researchers and clinicians from Marquette and Aurora Health Care. It will also create access to recreation and fitness facilities and enhance health and wellness across the region. Learn more about this project by clicking here.