Group unveils vision for 40 acres in Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley

MILWAUKEE -- The Menomonee Valley Partners, along with the City of Milwaukee and UWM Community Design Solutions unveiled their vision for 40 acres of the Menomonee Valley on Tuesday, April 24.

The group revealed development ideas at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino.

The plans focus on five vacant or underused riverfront locations, as well as improvements for the St. Paul Avenue Corridor.

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The key sites include:

  • St. Paul Avenue Corridor, Architect: Quorum Architects

In the last two years, six businesses have opened on W St. Paul Ave between 11th and 25th streets. Quorum Architects proposes expanding the showroom, gallery, and food destination theme, along with sidewalks, lighting, and greening that welcomes pedestrians. Park space, outdoor recreation, and pedestrian connections to the16th Street Viaduct and Hank Aaron State Trail provide links to the broader community.

  • City Lights, 1601-2001 W Mt. Vernon Ave, Architect: Zimmerman Architectural Studios

With the site’s four-block-long riverfront presence, Zimmerman Architectural Studios visualizes a riverwalk extension, new street access from 25th Street to Emmber Lane, and three mixed-use commercial buildings that engage the riverfront. Proposed development includes food production and sale, light industry, and office or other uses. The easternmost building could connect the 16th Street Viaduct to the riverwalk.

  • Kneeland Properties, Architect: HGA

On the 9.8 acre vacant parcel adjacent to the downtown post office and Milwaukee Intermodal Station, HGA envisions a new street grid to reach destination food and beverage manufacturing and retail, mixed use office, and light manufacturing facing an active riverwalk with boat slips. Access to food grade steam is ideal for food and beverage manufacturing. To connect the site to the city grid, HGA innovatively suggests extending Mt. Vernon Avenue under the 6th Street Bridge, traveling on grade along the river and through the existing colonnade under the post office, to Plankinton Avenue. Wetland features with native vegetation provide a dual use amenity and stormwater management component, mirroring the Menomonee Valley Industrial Center on the Valley’s west end.

  • St. Mary's Cement, Architect: Engberg Anderson Architects

Engberg Anderson Architects proposes a catalytic gateway and entertainment hub for this highly visible riverfront site near the Harley-Davidson Museum. The existing silos would be repurposed as a focal point, embracing the site’s industrial nature. They propose a mix of food manufacturing, retail, office, hotel, and restaurant around a central space connected to a riverwalk extension.

  • We Energies adjacent land, Architect: Korb and Associates

This 22-acre parcel wraps around We Energies and runs adjacent to the Menomonee Canal to the south. New construction on this 22-acre site can capitalize on adjacent food grade steam for facilities, manufacturing, and food and beverage production and retail. The size of the site and proximity to entertainment destinations, with frontage on both Canal Street and the Menomonee Canal, make it attractive for a manufacturer with a retail/tourism component.

  • 199 N 25th St, Architect: Uihlein/Wilson - Ramlow/Stein Architects

With a prominent location on 25th and Canal Streets, this site sits between the Hank Aaron State Trail and the Menomonee River. The existing building has a steel structure which could be renovated for a single tenant or multiple smaller tenants, possibly a combination of food manufacturing and visitor’s center, retail outlet, or themed restaurant. A proposed addition provides opportunity for a highly visible vertical landmark and entrance point to the Valley. Key features of the proposed development include trails around existing ponds, vegetation, and trees, as well as a boat launch. A street-facing event pad could be a launching point for walk/runs, river events, or other activities tied to the Hank Aaron State Trail, the Valley, or Menomonee River.

Organizers say plans could become a model for redevelopment of abandoned industrial land across the country.

"We're leading with this development now and others throughout the city of Milwaukee -- showing the rest of the United States how you get good quality development done that allows the private sector to have confidence to invest and to, in effect, bring other people to the table," said Rocky Marcoux with the Department of City Development.

Some of the specific designs include an extension of the riverwalk along the Menomonee River and physical connections to nearby neighborhoods.