News and Updates from Milwaukee County Economic Development 


$1.6 Million Economic Development Fund with Near West Side Partners

Milwaukee County is proud to announce a creative new partnership with the Near West Side Partners (NWSP) that will support economic growth in one of Milwaukee's neediest neighborhoods.   The NWSP Economic Development Fund is a matching grant program with up to $800,000 committed by both the NWSP and Milwaukee County.  This fund supports the strategic revitalization plan of the NWSP and can be used for projects that improve the built environment, safety, workforce, and quality of life of the neighborhood.  With funds originally budgeted for the demolition of the County's City Campus complex at 2711 W. Wells, the Economic Development Division was able to re-apply these funds in a meaningful way that re-affirms Milwaukee County's commitment to the neighborhood even as we reduce our physical presence in the Near West Side.  For more information on the Economic Development Fund and the Near West Side Partners, please visit the links below.




Park East Momentum Spurs Millions in New Investment


  The Milwaukee Bucks’ proposal to purchase Park East Blocks 1, 2, 4, and 7 and to construct a new arena in Downtown Milwaukee was announced earlier this year.  In the small window since that time, Milwaukee’s development community has taken a keen interest in the land immediately surrounding the Park East.  It was recently announced that Pabst Brewing would begin the rehabilitation of an historic church just west of Block 1 to house a new craft brewing operation.  That micro-brewery will produce 2,000 barrels of beer per year and also house a test kitchen for Pabst recipes. The 6,000 sf property will also include restaurant and bar to be built on the second floor.  Pabst’s new owner, Kashper's Blue Ribbon Intermediate Holdings LLC, will invest $3 to $4 million to renovate the former church and it is estimated that 10 people will work in the brewery, and another 50 to 60 will work in the restaurant and bar.


Also announced within the last week is Wangard Partners’ plan to buy the former Laacke & Joys building at 1433 N. Water St.  Wangard recently completed the Avenir development in the Park East and plans to convert the former Laacke space into offices.  There are buildings and developable lots adjacent to this property as well and Wangard could develop a larger new building to the north of up to 200,000 square feet.


A partnership formed by Milwaukee-based development firms WiRED Properties and Phelan Development LLC announced their purchase of a long standing downtown landmark, the National Ace Hardware at 1303 N. 4th St.  The purchase price was for $2.5 million, higher than its assessed value of $1.7 million.  The partnership, known as Hardware HQ LLC, has yet to announce their plans for the property which consists of four buildings totaling 65,850 square feet.


In addition to these significant investments to the north and west of the Park East corridor, the Milwaukee Bucks development group continues to purchase land and properties around the proposed arena.  Deer District LLC purchased the building at 505 W. Juneau Ave. for $2.5 million, a property located in the footprint of the proposed arena.  Deer District LLC also recently purchased a 0.2-acre parking lot at 1129-35 N. Old World Third St. which is immediately adjacent to the proposed “live block”. The Bucks ownership purchased the surface parking lot for $750,000.


As of July 1, 2015, Park East Block 22 is eligible for new bids under the rolling RFP process.  Please visit the Park East website below for more details.



FDI Magazine Names Milwaukee and Franklin Top Cities for Foreign Direct Investment


Participation in the global economy is key to the economic success of a region, which is why we are thrilled to have received such positive attention in the April/May 2015 issue of Foreign Direct Investment magazine.  A subsidiary of the Financial Times, FDI has named Milwaukee and Franklin, WI as "American Stars" and distinguished cities of the future as it relates to economic potential.  To create their ranking, FDI analyzed 421 locations throughout the world on such factors as connectivity, human capital, cost effectiveness, and business friendliness.  Cities were then categorized by size and ranked according to overall score.  We are proud to have the communities of Milwaukee and Franklin, which together represent 54.6% of the land in Milwaukee County, advertised to the world as prime locations for foreign direct investment.





Intent to Award Park East Land Sale to Bucks Ownership Group


Upon receiving a recommendation from the Park East RFP review committee, the Economic Development Division hereby publishes a notice of intent to award an Option to Purchase for Park East blocks 1, 2, 4, and 7 to Head of the Herd, LLC.  The managing partners of Head of the Herd are the majority owners of the Milwaukee Bucks NBA franchise and their intent is to develop a mixed use downtown district on the 9.8 acres.  This site has extensive environmental contamination and the anticipated cost of remediation exceeds $9 million.  The RFP response from Head of the Herd LLC meets or exceeds all of the scoring categories put forth in the Park East Redevelopment Compact.  As such, the Division recommends approval of the Option to Purchase this land.


Notice of Intent to Award - Head of the Herd LLC for Blocks 1, 2, 4, and 7

Option to Purchase (pdf download)

Description of Proposal (powerpoint download)

Additional project information (pdf download)


Block 8 Lot 1

Block 7






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