Five-Year Strategic Plan

Planning for Milwaukee Downtown's Next Chapter

Dear Valued Stakeholders,

five year strategic planThe future of Downtown Milwaukee has never been brighter as we continue to be a national leader in post-pandemic recovery, with notable return-to-the-office percentages, new business recruitments, pedestrian counts and cleanliness.

Since 2020, more than 7,000 new jobs have relocated or committed to Downtown. Our return-to-work rate is ranked 3rd in the Midwest and 16th out of 63 U.S. and Canadian cities, and our daytime density is approximately 78% of what it was in 2019.

Our residential population is growing and our magnetic amenities are attracting young professionals. Since 2010, Downtown’s residential population has increased 21.2%, and we’re on track for a wave of new urban dwellers as more than 2,000 additional residential units are currently under construction and thousands more are in the pipeline. We’re encouraged by this growth, and by Milwaukee’s recent acclaim as Forbes magazine’s 16th best city in America for young professionals.

This growth is paralleled by unprecedented Downtown investment across all industry sectors. Over $4.6 billion has been invested in our central business district since 2010, and more than $3.1 billion awaits in under-construction and proposed projects.

While Downtown Milwaukee’s post-pandemic recovery outpaces peer cities of our size, we remain committed to being responsible stewards of our growth. Beginning in 2021, we partnered with the City of Milwaukee’s Department of City Development to co-lead an update to the 2010 Downtown Area Plan.

After nearly two years of public outreach and engagement, the Connec+ing MKE: Downtown Plan 2040 was unanimously adopted by Milwaukee’s Common Council. This update represents an inclusive vision of Downtown as a place for every resident, in every neighborhood, to feel welcome and connected to Milwaukee's city center.

Six "big ideas" were born from the plan, including growing Downtown's population, investing in parks and gathering spaces, expanding and enhancing transit, reconnecting places divided by human-made barriers, improving streets to support all users, and redesigning streets as public places.

As Milwaukee Downtown prepared for the role it would play in implementing the plan’s recommendations, the need to review our own organization’s resource allocation arose as a priority. So, this past year, after celebrating our 25th anniversary, we engaged MIG Consulting to assist us in developing a new strategic plan for BID #21 that outlines how our resources should be prioritized and allocated over the next five years.

While clean, safe and friendly services will remain central to our operation, Milwaukee Downtown also has the opportunity to play a significant role in public space management, recruiting and retaining employers of all sizes, and convening partners for regional advancement.

We’re grateful to all those who participated in our strategic plan process. The next quarter century of our organization is proving to be as transformational as the first.

Thank you for your support and confidence in our mission.

View the Plan in Issuu View the Summary Brochure Here