A new proposal for development at the long-dormant city-owned parking lot at North Fourth Street and West Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Milwaukee includes three hotels, a hub for the Milwaukee streetcar, and more than 100,000 square feet of convention space, the Milwaukee Business Journal has learned.
The plan would include three hotels with 506 guestrooms and suites along with 22,000 square feet of street level restaurants, bars and cafés. The development proposal, being called “Nexus,” is from Milwaukee-based Jackson Street Holdings as lead developer. The “public private investment” for the project totals $279 million.
The City of Milwaukee will fund improvements related to the streetcar route and station. This investment provides a base of funding that other components build upon. The Wisconsin Center District will fund and own the convention and meeting facilities that are integrated into and built over the streetcar route. The skywalks are funded by the city and the Wisconsin Center District. The hotels will be privately owned and operated.”
There are a lot of details to look through, but my first reaction is that there seems to be a tremendous of “public” money involved in this “public-private” partnership. Be wary of developers who get a lot of taxpayer money to fund a project based on rosy projections. Remember that the developers are paid up front and walk away. The taxpayers have to live with the development long term.