Approaching the end of an active year


Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:12 pm

You are holding in your hands the last BizTimes Milwaukee issue of 2017 (unless, of course, you are reading this on

There has been a ton of news in the southeastern Wisconsin business world to keep us busy this year.

The most noteworthy story, of course, was Foxconn Technology Group’s plans for a $10 billion, 20 million-square-foot LCD plant in Mount Pleasant. The story has dominated the news ever since President Donald Trump first dropped a hint about the project during a June appearance at Waukesha County Technical College.

Equally as shocking as the massive scope of the Foxconn project is the enormous amount of state and local incentives that were provided to get the deal done. The state incentives of $3 billion were pushed through by Gov. Scott Walker’s administration. It will take years to determine if that was a good decision by Walker and the Republican-controlled Legislature. For better or worse, the Foxconn project will be his legacy, even more significant than Act 10.

There was more big merger and acquisition news this year. The state’s biggest bank, Green Bay-based Associated Banc-Corp, announced it will acquire the largest bank in the Milwaukee area, Brown Deer-based Bank Mutual Corp. As a result, several of the bank branches that are in close proximity will be closed.

Rockwell Automation Inc. rebuffed repeated acquisition attempts by St. Louis-based Emerson Electric Co. Good for Milwaukee, which retains a Fortune 500 headquarters.

Aurora Health Care Inc. recently announced it will merge with Illinois-based Advocate Health Care Inc. The combination will create the 10th largest health care provider in the nation. Interestingly, the two organizations say they will retain their headquarters. Employment shouldn’t change at Aurora hospitals and clinics, but it seems obvious some changes are coming to headquarters staff, where there must be some duplication with Advocate. Hopefully any synergies created by the merger result in much-needed health care costs savings for patients and their employers in the region.

Construction cranes towered all over the region in 2017. Major projects downtown included the Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons, completed this summer, and the ongoing construction of the new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Notable projects in the suburbs included the opening of The Corners of Brookfield, anchored by the state’s first Von Maur store, and the 84South retail project along I-894 in Greenfield. Brick-and-mortar retail isn’t dead yet.

Those are just some of the biggest area stories we followed in 2017, and in most cases will continue to follow in 2018. Look for my full recap of the biggest stories of 2017 on at the end of the year.

Want to know what lies ahead in 2018? Come to the annual Northern Trust Economic Trends breakfast on Jan. 19 (, and read the January economic trends issue of
BizTimes Milwaukee.

Until then, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.

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