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Milwaukee's Top Development Trends Of The Last Decade

There have been a lot of developments in downtown Milwaukee over the last decade, but developments have also taken place in other areas of the city.

So much has changed in Milwaukee over the last decade. Over just the past few years, the Hop streetcar has connected downtown neighborhoods, the Northwestern Mutual Tower has transformed the city's skyline, and the Fiserv Forum has redefined the neighborhood now known as "The Deer District." 

But these changes haven't been solely relegated to Milwaukee's downtown. That's something journalist Tom Daykin made clear in his recent Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article about the city's most important development trends of the last decade

"I really wanted to let readers know that it’s more than just downtown, that there have also been things happening in other neighborhoods," says Daykin. 

Daykin says that one of the most significant commercial development trends has been the addition of condos and apartments in neighborhoods throughout the city, including Walker's Point, Harambee, and Bay View. Those residential buildings have spurred a lot of other growth in neighborhoods, as well. 

"Obviously, you get a growing number of people living in a neighborhood like Walker’s Point, you then get the greater demand for the super markets, the drugstores, the restaurants, and other retail," Daykin explains.

"I really wanted to let readers know that it's more than just downtown, that there have also been things happening in other neighborhoods."

He says some of the least-reported developments over the last decade have happened in Milwaukee's Harambee neighborhood (which encompasses Bronzeville). The Harambee neighborhood added new apartments, but it also got some key businesses that have improved the area. 

"Within the Bronzeville area, for example, you've got two apartment buildings that are next to each other that developed. One, a historic redevelopment of the former Garfield Avenue School and then next to it, a brand new building that has space for the future America's Black Holocaust Museum," says Daykin.

He continues, "You've got Pete's Fruit Market, which in any other neighborhood that really wouldn't be that big of a deal, but in a neighborhood that badly wanted a grocery store with fresh food — specifically fresh produce — that was a godsend." 

Daykin also points to the Menomonee Valley as an area that has seen significant redevelopment, which largely includes commercial and manufacturing buildings. 

"The city took a big risk putting up money to buy land, to do an environmental clean-up, extend Canal Street through there so you'd actually have access to these various sites, and it's paid off," says Daykin "I mean, it's really a national success story. The Menomonee Valley Industrial Center, the city-developed business park, is now completely full."

Joy is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
Tom Daykin has been covering commercial development at the Journal Sentinel since 1995.