Good Afternoon,

Summer is officially here and the warm weather isn't the only thing heating up in Milwaukee! Development is continuing at an unprecedented pace and people are taking notice. 

In this edition of Real Results, we focus on yet another catalytic hotel project that gained a key approval earlier this month.

We also checked in with Carolynn Gellings of The Milwaukee Streetcar construction team for an update on the great progress being made. Plus, we highlight the Oregon-based beer company that chose Milwaukee as one of its five host cities for its famous Street Pub festival. 

Lastly, ManpowerGroup recently released its latest employment outlook figures, so we take a closer look at how Milwaukee is trending.

As always, thanks for reading!  

fake signature Matt Dorner   

Matt Dorner
Economic Development Director
Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21
Follow us on Twitter @RealResultsMKE

The hospitality industry has been a large part of the construction boom underway in downtown Milwaukee. Nearly 1,000 new hotel rooms have either been completed since 2016 or are currently under construction.  

Fresh off the U.S. Open at Erin Hills, which brought in thousands of visitors and millions of dollars to Milwaukee, recently opened hotels such as The Westin Milwaukee have benefitted from the increase in tourism. Now, another hotel may be nearing a start date following a recent approval--the Ascendant Holdings hotel at the Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic Center. Ascendant plans to purchase the Masonic Center and develop the hotel with Portland-based Provenance Hotels operating the finished project. 

Ascendant plans to preserve the historic building, while adding a 14-story, 220-room glass tower suspended above the roof of the current building. The original building would be updated to function as the hotel's lobby and bar/restaurant area, as well as include private meeting room spaces. The rooftop of the existing building would become an open amenity with food and beverages available. 

Pending final approvals and agreements, this project would be more than a $60 million investment and could be open by mid-2019, according to Eric Nordeen, principal of Ascendant Holdings. 

This is a positive sign for downtown Milwaukee, as Provenance Hotels only invests in communities that they see as increasingly vibrant. In a recent Fast Company article, Bashar Wali, president of Provenance Hotels, stated that "[Milwaukee] meets Provenance's criteria for investment: a place that reflects a nugget of desire for doing really creative things." 

The hotel and hospitality industry is responding to the increase in tourism and influx of people to cities, like Milwaukee, that preserve their authenticity while embracing the future. According to the latest VISIT Milwaukee annual report, tourism spending in Milwaukee County grew for the fifth consecutive year, increasing 3.9 percent to $3.45 billion. The increase in tourist spending continues to drive demand for more hotel rooms and hospitality offerings.

We are pleased to announce the latest edition of the Downtown Area Investment Map, which has proven to be an important tool for city officials, brokers, investors, businesses and everyone in between to illustrate the unprecedented development underway in the greater downtown Milwaukee area!

From the under-construction Milwaukee Bucks arena, to The Milwaukee Streetcar, to thousands of new housing units as well as commercial buildings, over $3.6 billion has been invested in completed private and public projects, and more than $3.6 billion is currently under construction or proposed to start soon. This record investment traverses all industry sectors, underscoring the strength of the downtown real estate market.  

Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21 maintains this tool for you to use while promoting and sharing the positive momentum downtown that is leading to a resurgence in the region. Download an electronic copy here or feel free to contact me at for a hard copy.

Saturday, July 22  I  2 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Pere Marquette Park

With summer officially here, festivals, great food and happy crowds are everywhere in Milwaukee...and it's only about to get better! The Hunger Task Force and Westown Association are partnering with Oregon-based Deschutes Brewery to bring their Street Pub festival to Pere Marquette Park and the streets of Westown. Milwaukee is one of only five cities that this one-day event is visiting! 

The Deschutes Street Pub will include over 50 beers on tap, a variety of culinary treats, live music from local artists in partnership with 88Nine Radio Milwaukee, and much more. The festival is free and open to all ages. Attendants can pre-order tokens and VIP tickets. VIP tickets provide access to the lounge inside the Milwaukee County Historical Society where there will be a variety of beer tastings and catered appetizers. 

VIP tickets also include two beer tokens, a Hydro Flask True Pint, rare barrel tastings, Humm Kombucha on tap, merchandise discounts and more. For more information on this family-friendly event and to order tokens or VIP tickets, click here.
In This Issue
Net Employee Outlook measures the difference between companies that plan to increase and those that plan to decrease their employee count in an upcoming quarter for the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the United States.

Milwaukee area employers have a positive net employee outlook of 20%, which is consistent with the second quarter and an increase of 6% when compared to the first quarter of 2017. More Milwaukee businesses expect to hire employees during the third quarter of 2017 than other Midwestern cities like Chicago, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Cleveland.

Streetcar Project Manager, DAAR Corporation

As The Milwaukee Streetcar Project Manager, Carolynn Gellings is a leader in planning and executing the large-scale project and its various phases. Learn more about her role with the streetcar project and the advantages of having a fixed-rail system in Milwaukee.

What is your role with The Milwaukee Streetcar project? 
I manage the construction phase of the project for the City of Milwaukee. This means I work with the contractor to ensure the project is built to the plans and specifications, resolve issues that come up in the field, and coordinate the construction work with the broader community. We have a team that includes construction expertise in rail and urban construction, as well as public outreach.  

How do you see Milwaukee benefitting from the streetcar and why is it an important project for Milwaukee's future? 
The benefits of The Milwaukee Streetcar extend beyond providing transportation options and a new way to get from place to place. The Streetcar will provide connectivity throughout downtown. It will open up a plethora of restaurants along the route that downtown employees can get to quickly on a short lunch break. It enhances the City's Park Once Program, in which visitors can park in one lot or structure and hop on The Milwaukee Streetcar to get within walking distance of numerous retail shops, restaurants, parks and other attractions. It connects residential areas with employers and all that downtown has to offer.    

What advantage does a fixed-rail system bring that is not realized by other transportation modes? 
Fixed infrastructure enforces a level of permanency that's appealing to developers. Similar to constructing a new freeway interchange, investing in a fixed-rail system sends the message that the route will be in place for years to come. We've seen extensive economic development surrounding streetcar routes in other cities. 

With the project now underway, what has been the most interesting piece of Milwaukee's  history that has been unearthed so far? 
So much history lies beneath the current asphalt and concrete roadways. We've uncovered extensive amounts of rail and cobblestones from the old streets and streetcar system. Finding the old rail is interesting because you can really see the footprint of the old system. It's fun to think about the construction team that came before us that built the original tracks.  

What other projects are you particularly excited about in terms of their impact on the future of Milwaukee? 
There are so many projects to be excited about right now. I'm excited about all the changes at the Lakefront. Minimizing the footprint of the urban freeway system to allow major developments like the Couture was a big success for the City. I'm also excited about the Harbor District revitalization and the City's focus on being the freshwater capital of the world. 

When you are not working, what are your favorite hobbies? 
I used to be an avid runner; lately, that's been replaced with chasing after my toddler. I also enjoy camping, fishing, bow hunting and pretty much anything that gets me outdoors.

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