Downtown Milwaukee

Raysonho / Wikimedia Commons

It has been just over five years since Johnson Controls merged with Tyco International and moved its headquarters from Milwaukee to Cork, Ireland.


From the opening of the Fiserv Forum to the Milwaukee Streetcar, 2018 was a year of major changes for downtown Milwaukee. But 2019 may prove to be even more transformative for the central city.


Earlier this week, the new owners of the Shops of Grand Avenue unveiled their plan to redesign the space in downtown Milwaukee. Plans include adding office space, a possible grocery store and moving restaurants and food stalls into the first floor. They hope the new plans will revitalize the urban mall, which has faced a laundry list of problems over the last decade.

TKWA UrbanLab

The new owners unveiled ambitious plans Monday for the 300,000 square foot Grand Avenue Mall in downtown Milwaukee, including a trendy mix of office space, shops, restaurants and even a grocery store.

The planners say they're confident their vision will help bring back the crowds.

Shoppers have dwindled since the Grand Avenue Mall first opened in the early 1980s. Today, a few stores still lure people, so does the food court – especially during the work week. But some spaces seem to draw virtually no one’s attention.


The Milwaukee Bucks agreed yesterday to a 30-year lease on the new arena, which they hope to begin construction on this summer. They’ll pay a minimum of a million dollars a year to the Wisconsin Center District. Meanwhile, another nearby project the Bucks are partnered with also took a step forward this week.


More new construction is coming to Milwaukee’s near west side. A new athletic research facility will be built on four city blocks bordered by Michigan Street, north 6th Street, 10th street and the Marquette Interchange. The project is a partnership between Marquette University, Aurora Healthcare and the Milwaukee Bucks.

Jeramey Jannene / Flickr

Milwaukee has five new hotels in the works. That’s not including hotels opened in the last couple years, and updates to existing hotels. All-told, the new developments will add hundreds of hotel rooms to downtown Milwaukee. But what’s who’s filling these hotel rooms, and what’s driving the ever-changing landscape of hotel real estate?

“I think it comes from the fact that over the past few years there’s been great growth in revenue, and great growth in demand,” says Paul Upchurch, CEO of Visit Milwaukee.

Marti Mikkelson

There seems to be renewed interest in downtown Milwaukee. This week, another hotelier announced plans to build on a lot near the Shops of Grand Avenue. 

For Sale: Downtown Milwaukee Post Office Building

May 15, 2015
Creative Commons

The owners of the property are selling it for $12.8 million, touting its location along the Menomonee River as a prime site for development.

The U.S. Postal Service has leased the building since 1970.

It includes one-million square feet of space and covers nine acres.

Next door, is the Milwaukee Intermodal Station, a transportation hub for rail and bus.

Courtesy of the Milwaukee Bucks

As the Milwaukee Bucks prepare to host the Chicago Bulls in Game 6 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs; supporters of a new arena are hoping to employ a full-court press to get a funding deal accomplished. They say a plan would ensure pro basketball has a future in Milwaukee.

Recent polls show support for an arena among Milwaukee area residents, but much weaker support in other parts of the state.

Ann-Elise Henzl

Downtown Milwaukee is in the midst of a building boom, including along the Milwaukee River.

The city credits its ongoing Riverwalk construction for luring people to a stretch of land most had ignored.

Now as the decades-long project nears an end, builders are gobbling up the remaining land along the walkway.

There have been so many projects along the Milwaukee River, you can’t write a list that’s both short and comprehensive.

If you want to see an example of a vision coming to fruition – after years of planning and construction – head to downtown Milwaukee.

The city began building the Riverwalk two decades ago. The project almost is complete, with just a few spans yet to be built.

Milwaukee officials believe the walkway has spurred millions of dollars in development, and has helped people see the river through a new lens.

The riverfront revival is most impressive, if you know a bit of the city’s history. More than 150 years ago, the river was one reason people settled here.

Reinventing Downtown Milwaukee

Nov 4, 2014
Ian Freimuth / Flickr

Downtown Milwaukee could be at the cusp of something big. But will our city's leadership capitalize on it?

Troy Freund Photography

There are lots of farmer’s markets to visit during summer, but the one debuting in a parking lot on 4th and Wisconsin offers different twists.

Downtown Milwaukee Signs Offer Parking Guidance

Jun 25, 2014
Scott Wise

New electronic signs refer drivers to real-time openings in nearby parking garages.

UPDATE: The family of Dontre Hamilton placed mementos near the place where he died on Wednesday.

A former insurance company headquarters in downtown Milwaukee may be transformed into new apartments.

The new 32-story office tower Northwestern Mutual plans to build in downtown Milwaukee, will be just one change to the landscape.

While Milwaukee awaits construction of a 32-floor Northwestern Mutual office tower, work will begin on new passageways along the downtown lakefront.

5 Must-See Sites at Doors Open Milwaukee 2013

Sep 18, 2013
CJ Schmit, Flickr

Some of Milwaukee best-known buildings – and some lesser-known places will welcome visitors this weekend.

Doors Open Milwaukee has grown to include 134 buildings in its third year. 

"There's a lot of places on Doors Open, a lot of new sites that people don't even know are there," says program manager Amy Grau. "The idea of Doors Open is to open every door in Milwaukee."

If you don't have time to check out all the sites, Grau offers a few spots you should make sure to see:

Steve Marcus Calls for Downtown Sculptures, Sales Tax for Civic Projects

Sep 17, 2013
Michelle Maternowski

For more than half a century, Steve Marcus has helped shape the city of Milwaukee.

Eric Thayer, Getty Images

Gov. Scott Walker won’t be the only governor in Wisconsin later this week, when Milwaukee hosts the annual meeting of the National Governors Association.

MMSD Must Make Big Fix Below Downtown Milwaukee

Jul 18, 2013

The Milwaukee Metro Sewerage District may have to make costly repairs to its Deep Tunnel in downtown Milwaukee, because of a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision on Thursday.