header Real Results
Good Afternoon,

As 2016 comes to a close and we gear up for the new year, we want to take a moment to note just how important this year was for Milwaukee, bolstering its status as a world class city. It was a banner year for development with new offices, retail shops, hotels, thousands of new apartments, and numerous companies moved downtown.  The new Bucks arena and ancillary development started construction, the Milwaukee Streetcar gained approval, the Lakefront Gateway was completed opening up new connections and development opportunities, Bublr Bikes expanded to over 50 stations, and the region took major steps forward to potentially approving a bus rapid transit system. With all of this activity, we are very excited for the momentum to continue in 2017!

Speaking of new development, in this edition of Real Results, we spotlight the recently announced plans for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra to move into a new home on West Wisconsin Avenue in the Grand Theater. This is a key project to continue the revitalization in the corridor.

We also sit down with Aaron Ebent of Kahler Slater. Aaron is one of the talented local architects behind several recently completed office and hospitality projects that are transforming Milwaukee's skyline. Find out what recently proposed project he is most excited to be working on.

Also, learn about a new highly anticipated winter festival that is being brought to downtown by our friends at NEWaukee and The Underground Collaborative. Snowpocalyspse 2017 will bring tons of outdoor energy and excitement to downtown Milwaukee, January 26-29. We look forward to seeing you there!

In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your holiday season and as always, thanks for reading!   
fake signature Matt Dorner   

Matt Dorner
Economic Development Director
Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21
Follow us on Twitter @RealResultsMKE
The Milwaukee's art and culture scene closed out 2016 with the exciting announcement that the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO) could relocate to a new home on West Wisconsin Avenue if everything continues as planned.  Their new home would be the Warner Grand Theatre located at 212 West Wisconsin Avenue. Built in 1930, the currently vacant concert hall is a centerpiece in the continued revitalization of the West Wisconsin Avenue corridor. Currently, the only active use in the building is the ticket window that is staffed by Milwaukee Downtown Public Service Ambassadors as a downtown visitor information center.

Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Symphony

According to several news sources, MSO is approximately half way to its $120 million fundraising goal to make the project a reality.  This project budget includes the funds needed for the refurbishment of the concert hall to accommodate MSO, the redevelopment of the neighboring property on the corner of 2nd Street into a new lobby, a ticketing area and a a bar, and the establishment of a $20 million endowment fund.

The project is exciting for several reasons.  This building requires a tenant like MSO to take advantage of its unique layout. The project would also bring new life back to a largely vacant historic building in the core of downtown. In addition, MSO would likely plan a connection to The Shops of Grand Avenue to utilize the existing parking structures. This connection could be a catalyst to help move forward the planned reinvention of the mall into a mixed use center as the patrons of MSO are likely to drive demand for new restaurants and services.

Looking ahead, 2017 promises to be a hallmark year for West Wisconsin Avenue. There are several major development projects expected to make progress, including the reinvention of The Shops of Grand Avenue, the 4th and Wisconsin development, bus rapid transit, and now the rehabilitation of the Grand Theater for MSO. In addition, the public and pedestrian space will be made more appealing through a new lighting installation and several other public arts projects. For more information on the rapid activity going on in the corridor and to see a list of available commercial spaces, visit www.WisconsinAve.com.

Milwaukee Downtown issues two bi-annual signature publications and the latest editions are hot off the press! The Ripple Effect and economic development focused, MKE BluePrint, are two communication tools that help convey the tremendous momentum in downtown as well as keep downtown stakeholders in the loop on key initiatives and new developments.  

As the longstanding official publication of Milwaukee Downtown, the Ripple Effect is distributed widely and provides an update on a variety of initiatives that we are working on. In the latest edition, readers got insider information on affordable, family-friendly downtown activities to do during the holiday season, a biography on the 125-year-old Wisconsin Club, which is featured as this year's holiday ornament, an overview of the Central Library's offerings to help the growth of small businesses and start-ups, an update on the Key to Change initiative that Milwaukee Downtown is leading to assist chronically homeless individuals in our community, and so much more.

To complement the Ripple Effect, we launched the MKE BluePrint, an economic development focused publication that aims to inform interested parties about the unprecedented momentum in downtown Milwaukee. The latest edition of the MKE BluePrint featured articles on the growing hospitality industry and the driving forces behind new downtown hotel development, the city of Milwaukee's expansion of the Better Buildings Challenge  and the benefits to commercial property owners for getting involved, an update on several transportation projects that are improving downtown's connectivity, and a recap on the first annual Milwaukee Startup Week.

We hope that you take the time to check out these two publications and use them as you market and sell downtown. Both are accessible on www.milwaukeedowntown.com, and if you are looking for additional hardcopies, just let me know!

January 26 - January 29
Behind The Shops of Grand Avenue

Milwaukee Downtown is proud to support an exciting new event that promises to add outdoor energy and vibrancy to downtown in the middle of winter. In a response to a call for more outdoor winter activities, here comes Snowpocalypse 2017 presented by NEWaukee and The Underground Collaborative! The storm will last for four days and includes a flurry of festivities. So lace up your winter boots, double up your mittens and brave the weather with us in true Wisconsin fashion. 

There will be tons to do during Snowpocalyspe 2017, and the forecast also calls for several signature events, including:
  • January 26: NEWaukee Social & Happy Hour, 5 to 10 p.m.
  • January 27: Westown Mixer & Happy Hour, 6 to 10 p.m.
  • January 28: Snowpocalypse, noon to 10 p.m.
  • January 29: Burnout Brunch, noon to 4 p.m.
Snowpocalyspe 2017 will also feature an ice bar, live music, food trucks, fire pits, s'more roasting areas, and a photo booth courtesy of Milwaukee Downtown.

For more information and to register for Snowpocalypse 2017, click here .
In This Issue
Net Employment Outlook by the ManpowerGroup measures the difference between companies that plan to increase and those that plan to decrease their employee count in the upcoming quarter.
For the 20 Midwest metropolitan areas included in the Manpower survey, 17% of businesses expect to grow employment levels, 6% anticipate decreases, and 75% expect no change, resulting in a Net Employment Outlook of +11% in the entire region. With a net positive of 14% of employers expecting to increase employment levels in Milwaukee, the area ranks ninth and is above average when compared to the Midwest as a whole. 
More Milwaukee businesses expect to hire employees during the first quarter of 2017 than in other midwestern cities like Chicago, Kansas City, Madison and Columbus.
AIA, Associate Princiapl of Kahler Slater

Aaron Ebent of Kahler Slater has led the design of some downtown Milwaukee's most signature hospitality and office projects. Ebent is now focusing his talents on downtown's most recent office project announcement, the BMO Harris Financial Center, which will be a significant part of continuing the downtown skyline transformation.

What services does Kahler Slater provide to clients?
Founded in 1908, Kahler Slater began as a regional provider of design services and has grown to become a global, award-winning firm. Today, we partner with clients around the world to design transformative experiences and environments through architecture, interior design and environmental branding. We focus on serving corporate, hospitality, multi-family housing, health care, higher education, sports and fitness clients. Kahler Slater is based in Milwaukee and has additional offices in Madison and Singapore.

What downtown Milwaukee projects that you worked on are you most proud of?
I have been very fortunate to contribute to the built landscape of downtown over the past decade, and every project has been special and impactful in some way. Two of my designs that come to mind are Marriott Milwaukee, which set the tone for the hotel renaissance going on now, and Kimpton Journeyman, which is an incredible destination we were able to blend into the context of the Historic Third Ward. I am also very proud of 833 East. The quality of that project has attracted some of the most notable tenants in the city, and it was a great collaboration by exclusively local talent.
What downtown Milwaukee project that you are currently working on are you most excited about?
I am very excited about the BMO Harris Financial Center project that was recently announced by Irgens. The location of the project reinforces Milwaukee's central financial district, and the contemporary design interacts very well with the historic City Hall. The project will provide new Class-A office space and amenities for its tenants and will also help activate several key streets in the neighborhood.

What other projects do you see as key to keep positive momentum going in downtown and throughout the city?
It is important to expand the convention center and complement it with additional development such as our design for the Nexus project at 4th and Wisconsin. The key to the success of the streetcar system is to connect other neighborhoods with downtown. Almost any project that adds density through infilling vacant lots or repurposes underutilized building stock will be good for the health of the city.

What do you see as downtown Milwaukee's biggest challenge?
Investment in public infrastructure is key to support the continued private investment. It always seems to be a challenge in our city to find the money to pay for upgrading our parks, streets, sidewalks, etc. We also need to do a better job of attracting corporate and tech jobs from outside the metro region. 

What peer cities offer the best examples for Milwaukee to learn from?
Cities like Oklahoma City, Indianapolis, Kansas City and Columbus provide good examples for innovative ideas on regional infrastructure and arts funding. Milwaukee, however, is truly a unique city and needs to continue to celebrate and exploit that identity. We need to find our version of a growth engine to retain and attract an influx of new residents.

When you are not working, what are your favorite hobbies?
I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and working on my house and yard. I love to travel, which exposes me to new places, ideas and cultures. I document my explorations through photography and sketching. I also have been known to brew my own beer.

Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21
Matt Dorner
600 East Wells Street
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202-3811
(414) 220-4700 ext. 4