Milwaukee Named one of Forbes’ 15 U.S. Cities with Emerging Downtowns

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Milwaukee, southeastern Wisconsin’s hidden downtown gem, is often cast aside in favor of the big city to the south, Chicago. The latest article from Forbes 15 U.S. Cities with Emerging Downtowns details the effort, growth and change of Milwaukee’s downtown since the late 1980s.

Longtime Milwaukee residents remember the first signs of downtown growth in 1988 with the Riverwalk Initiative. Spanding nearly three miles through the heart of the city, the Riverwalk runs from the Historic Third Ward through Caesar’s Park near Brady Street. It has grown to include art displays, the “Bronze Fonz”, a mix of residential and commercial buildings and water taxi parking. On many summer days, rowing teams and chartered cruises can be seen going down the Milwaukee River from the Riverwalk.

Another huge push for Milwaukee’s downtown culture was the 2001 dismantling of the Park East freeway, which led from the suburbs into the center of downtown. According to the Congress for New Urbanism, “per-acre land values within the freeway footprint had surged 180% by 2006 from 2001.”

In the last 12 years, the downtown Milwaukee population has increased by nearly 26%, while the greater city of Milwaukee has experienced overall decline. As Shorewest reported in July, urban growth is continuing to outpace the suburbs for the first time in a century, a trend Milwaukee is also experiencing. The median income of downtown households has climbed by 38% in the same time period, compared to 2% for the city overall, showing that former suburbanites are investing in the downtown community and setting up homes there.

There are many signs of future growth for Milwaukee’s bustling downtown. Announced earlier this month, the lakefront will undergo major redevelopment beginning this fall. With the expansion of Lincoln Memorial Drive into the Third Ward and the 3-acre land now available for businesses and the city, the $34 million project will bring new jobs and opportunities to downtown Milwaukee.

Want to learn more about or visit the sites of Milwaukee? View any of our Riverwalk attractions or contact our Relocation Services Team to assist you with any questions about making the move to downtown Milwaukee.

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Categories: Community, Neighborhoods

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