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 (hold on to your monocles, everyone who complains about this column every other week) new shit.
• Sure does seem like an odd time to go ahead with a $420 million taxpayer-backed expansion of a downtown convention center, doesn’t it? You know, with the whole pandemic thing having absolutely decimated the travel and convention industry? Turns out, it’s a great time! Yes, the $420 million taxpayer-backed expansion of Downtown Milwaukee’s Wisconsin Center is going full speed ahead. The planned expansion will double the size of the current convention center, adding a second ballroom, an outdoor terrace, and additional meeting rooms. Groundbreaking is set for 2021. Opening is set for 2024.
Oh, and about that whole pandemic thing? According to Marty Brooks, president and chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Center District, the convention industry is expected to fully recover by 2023, and the new Wisconsin Center will “ride the wave” of that recovered industry. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
• The $58 million redevelopment of two former Milwaukee Journal Sentinel buildings is going full speed ahead, too. The main building will be converted into a 116-unit apartment building; another building will become and a 77-unit student housing building for MATC. Oh, and the whole thing is now getting a boost from $1.7 million in public loans. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
• The Forest Home Library, 1432 W. Forest Home Ave., has been closed since 2017. Immigrant rights community group Voces de la Frontera considered rehabbing the building for its new headquarters in 2018, but eventually found a different location. Now, the closed library is set to be sold to the city, demolished, and the site redeveloped into an 18,000-square-foot medical office for Children’s Hospital. BUT WAIT! The building—built in 1966—has been nominated for historic designation and may be preserved. [Urban Milwaukee]
• Everyone hates that giant concrete slab on the corner of Humboldt and Wright in Riverwest. It was built (illegally, it seems) as a parking lot for the adjacent apartment building, and now the city may require that it’s cut down to half its size. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
• That multi-unit house on the corner of Downer and Park that was nearly destroyed by a fire in 2019 is still going to be replaced by a four-unit townhouse-style apartment building. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
• St. Francis of Assisi Parish, 327 W. Brown St., is getting a new monastery and some general renovations. [Urban Milwaukee]