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Major downtown developments move forward as The Hop kicks off

Posted at 9:08 PM, Nov 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-02 23:12:41-04

A delayed downtown development is now moving forward, that happens the same time Milwaukee's streetcar service gets underway.

The Couture site now has the financing it's been waiting for to start moving the project from an empty space to a high-rise across from Discovery World.

As The Hop started making its way around, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said it's partially responsible for what's to come. 

"The streetcar is a significant factor in downtown's vibrancy and the incredible Renaissance this portion of our community is experiencing right now," Barrett said.

That includes Fiserv Forum and the new entertainment district that is set to open. The latest announcement, the Couture site now has federal backing.

"They tore down the transit center in early 2017," said Sean Ryan, reporter for the Milwaukee Business Journal. "They have not really been able to start on the building because they have been waiting for financing."

The high rise will include a two-story grocery store, public green spaces and part of The Hop will make a stop in the building. But all this focus downtown has some people, like Alderman Bob Donovan, concerned. 

"Certainly we all want a vibrant downtown that's all good. At the same time you can't neglect our neighborhoods," Donovan said. "Neighborhoods are where most of the people do their living and business so we need to redirect our efforts as far as I'm concerned to our struggling neighborhoods." 

"Downtown Milwaukee is getting a lot of attention. It has a level of investment that we haven't seen in recent memory or in longer term memory. So the real question is how long can the city sustain that. That depends on attracting more jobs to downtown buildings and having people wanting to move here," Ryan said.

No word yet on when the Couture will open. The Hop is expected to expand to the lakefront by 2020.