Depending on which news sources you follow, Milwaukee is going through either a “renaissance” or a “reinvention.” Or maybe it’s a “reboot” or a “reimagining,” like that crappy Tim Burton version of Planet Of The Apes. However you want to define it, it’s safe to say that Milwaukee is currently building a lot of new shit.
• There’s a lot of potential New Shit currently on hold: streetcar expansions, The Couture, whatever the hell is supposed to happen to the old Northridge Mall. Then there’s New Shit that’s on the fast track. Take the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee, for example. Plans for a $300 million renovation and expansion of the oft-renamed convention center have been percolating for quite some time; now, thanks to a recently passed resolution that “jump starts” the process, the new and improved Wisconsin Center is aiming for a grand opening in 2023. Better yet, it’s all happening with no money from the state—even though “the latest state budget guarantees state funds would cover any debts the Wisconsin Center revenues aren’t able to pay back.”
“We are not presently seeking any sales tax increases, any funding from either the city, county or state,” said Wisconsin Center District’s President and CEO, Marty Brooks, in a press release. “We expect to be able to fund the debt for this from our existing revenue streams.”
If all goes well (the Wisconsin Center District is now looking for consultants and contractors), construction could begin in 2021. [Wisconsin Public Radio]
• In Drastically Downsized New Shit news, the Historic Preservation Commission finally approved a proposed Kinn Hotel at 602 N. Broadway. But what started as a nine-floor, 62-room hotel (the existing building has four floors) has now shrunk to a five-floor, 27-room hotel. “The initial proposal, at five [additional] stories, I almost fell out of my chair,” said Ald. Robert Bauman. “I thought that absolutely looked awful.” [Milwaukee Business Journal]
• Meanwhile, a proposed 21-story mass-timber tower at 700 E. Kilbourn Ave. (the tallest in the Western Hemisphere!) may get laaaaarger. [Urban Milwaukee]
• As if the north end of Bay View wasn’t busy enough with a giant new Kinetik apartment building and a soon-to-be-improved Zillman Park, the city is interested in a multi-family housing redevelopment for a half-acre plot of land at nearby 353 E. Bay St. [Milwaukee Business Journal]
• The Milwaukee Public Library still wants to replace its Capitol and Martin Luther King branches with “mixed-use libraries.” The new facilities would be “the fifth and sixth mixed-use libraries developed as part of a city program that seeks to replace aging branch libraries with new buildings that combine tax-paying housing with a new, state-of-the-art library.” [Urban Milwaukee]