Good Afternoon,

As temperatures dip, downtown is ramping up its holiday cheer with the 18th annual Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival. Between now and January 1, make plans to see the holiday lights and sights of downtown during the most magical time of the year! Check out the Event Spotlight section in this edition of Real Results for more information.
On another note, as an ambassador to the MKE United initiative, Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21 encourages you to get engaged by completing the Public Survey and sharing your thoughts on how we can build a more inclusive downtown, while leveraging the current development momentum, to help spur new growth in the near-to-downtown neighborhoods.
Also, with this year's Milwaukee Startup Week being well received, we sit down with Matt Cordio, co-founder and CEO of Startup Milwaukee. Get Cordio's take on how startup businesses play an important role in Milwaukee's future economic growth and what should be done to accelerate this growth.

Lastly, check out the recently released plans for the Bucks Live Block in the Project Spotlight section below. This highly anticipated project is key to integrating the arena district with surrounding neighborhoods.

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 Bucks design team recently released renderings of the highly anticipated Live Block, which will be the entertainment hub of the new arena district. Designed by San Francisco-based Gensler and local architectural firm Rinka Chung, with landscaping services provided by the Office of James Burnett, the Live Block will be located east of the new arena, where the 4th Street and Highland Avenue parking garage is currently being demolished. It  will feature a mix of entertainment, retail, and eating and drinking establishments, along with public spaces.

The Live Block intends to better connect the new arena district with surrounding neighborhoods. For example, the design includes a walkway connection to the Old World Third Street entertainment district, well-equipped with a beer garden, media wall and retractable roof. This walkway will be created in what is now a surface parking lot between existing bars and restaurants on Old World Third Street.

In addition, a public plaza, which will be used for a variety of outdoor summer and winter events, will be located at the center of the Live Block. The space will include a promenade, featuring public art, gardens, water features and event lawns. A future streetcar extension will also travel through the public plaza in what is now currently 4th Street.

In a previous statement, Matt Rinka of Rinka Chung Architecture, Sasha Zeljic of Gensler and Jereck Boss of Office of James Burnett said, "The design of the entertainment block strives to connect the surrounding community, acting as a catalyst for the development and evolution of the district and downtown Milwaukee through an active and inspiring environment for people to live, work and play in the heart of the city."

For more information on the Live Block and to follow the progress of various projects in the arena district, visit


Earlier this year, MKE United Greater Downtown Action Agenda (MKE United) was launched to carry out a comprehensive plan that outlines a shared and inclusive vision for downtown Milwaukee and its adjacent neighborhoods.  

Last summer, the MKE United project team held workshops designed to help shape the initiative's vision, priorities and strategies. More than 100 community members from a variety of sectors participated in these workshops, sharing insight and feedback about the challenges and opportunities in the Greater Downtown area. Click here to view the  summary of key takeaways from the workshops. 

The MKE United team has now launched a Public Survey to gather even more input on the initiatives and the recently created MKE United Transformative Directions. As a community ambassador for MKE United, Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21 is working to strengthen downtown neighborhoods' involvement, and therefore, encourages you to share your thoughts about the proposed recommendations.

Please take a few moments and provide your feedback by completing the Public Survey !


November 17 - January 1, 2017
Downtown Milwaukee

Coming off a record crowd at the festival's kick-off event earlier this month, the 18th annual Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival is making spirits bright now through January 1, 2017!

The six-week festival gives downtown Milwaukee a boost of holiday cheer with 500,000+ colorful lights and animated displays in Cathedral Square Park, Pere Marquette Park and Zeidler Union Square. Plus, visitors, workers and residents can marvel at downtown's glowing streetscape with sparkling rooflines, harp lamp lighting and suspended d├ęcor above more than a dozen of Wisconsin Avenue's intersections.
In addition, you can enjoy Jingle Bus rides presented by Meijer to acquaint yourself with downtown landmarks and the most decorated scenes! Narrated by Milwaukee Downtown's Public Service Ambassadors, this 40-minute tour is a top holiday attraction. Even better, rides are just $1 per person! Hop aboard at the Warming House in The Shops of Grand Avenue. Tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis, beginning at 5:30 p.m. each night. Tours operate Thursdays through Sundays, now through December 30 from 6 p.m. to 8:20 p.m. For  more information on the Jingle Bus and all other downtown holiday festivities, click here .

In This Issue
During November's first ever Milwaukee Startup Week, a Kaufmann Foundation analyst presented the latest ranking for the 40 largest metro areas and 25 largest states in these categories: 1) main street entrepreneurial activity; 2) startup activity; and 3) entrepreneurial business growth.
The Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis area and the state of Wisconsin both fared the strongest in the main street entrepreneurial category with rankings of 22nd and 2nd, respectively. This category is based on the rate of small business owners, small business density and survival rate. The ranking focuses on companies that have existed for five or more years and have 50 or fewer employees.
The other two measures suggest that Milwaukee and Wisconsin could build on its main street entrepreneurial strengths and focus on creating a stronger environment that supports more business startups. 

Visit for the complete reports.

Co-Founder & CEO, Startup Milwaukee and General Manager, Skills Pipeline

Matt Cordio of Startup Milwaukee is striving to make Southeast Wisconsin a stronger place to launch and grow small businesses. 

Describe the vision you hope to accomplish with Startup Milwaukee.
Startup Milwaukee's vision is to attract and retain the best high-growth entrepreneurs and startups here in Southeast Wisconsin. We pride ourselves on being entrepreneur-led and mission-driven because we think that helps us design solutions relevant to entrepreneurs.   

What was your motivation behind hosting the first annual Milwaukee Startup Week?
Milwaukee Startup Week was the first attempt at highlighting the many resources and assets our region has to offer to entrepreneurs who choose to start here. A second reason for the weeklong event was to prompt a dialogue about the importance of startups to the local economy here. Research points out that startups, especially technology-focused or technology-enabled startups, are the primary creators of jobs in our economy. If we want our region to thrive in the 21st century, we need to focus more attention on these facts and develop robust strategies to foster the growth of the startup community here in Southeast Wisconsin. 

What do you believe was the best outcome of the first annual Milwaukee Startup Week?
We were able to connect a lot of entrepreneurs to a lot of great resources. It also grabbed the attention of Southeast Wisconsin for the week and drove across our message that for the local economy to thrive in this century, we need to increase investment and attention in startup companies. 

What initiatives are key to keep positive momentum going in downtown and throughout the city?
We need to take more small bets on entrepreneurs who are willing to launch and scale their companies here in Southeast Wisconsin. We do have three accelerator programs in Milwaukee doing just that: gener8tor, The BREW (Water Council) and WERCbench Labs (M-WERC). I think these programs are critical to the health of the startup ecosystem, and there is room for more. For example, St. Louis, a city similar in size, has five startup accelerators in that region.   

What do you see as Milwaukee's biggest challenge?
Creating a startup community in a city doesn't happen overnight, and it can't be centrally planned. We need more entrepreneurs and community leaders stepping forward, engaging with entrepreneurs and working with the community to develop solutions to support the entrepreneurs that work. It will take 5 to 10 years for us to see substantial returns. 

What peer cities offer the best examples for Milwaukee to learn from?
St. Louis and Detroit are two cities doing a lot to foster their startup communities, and results are showing. In both cities, public, private individuals, foundations and corporate citizens have come together to catalyze the momentum. 

When you are not working, what is your favorite hobby?
Lately, I'm having a blast exploring all of the craft breweries opening around the Milwaukee area. I always enjoy supporting local entrepreneurs doing what they love. I also enjoy hanging out on a boat up north on the Chain O' Lakes in Waupaca. 

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