Last updated on March 16th, 2022 at 03:40 pm
The Green Bay Packers recently announced the second phase of their Titletown District development. It will include an office building, an apartment building and townhomes. Titletown District, located west of Lambeau Field, already includes Lodge Kohler hotel, Hinterland Brewery, a community football field, a playground and a snow tubing hill. A tech hub is under construction.
The Packers are one of several major pro sports teams doing mixed-use development around their stadiums or arenas to enhance the game day experience and generate more revenue. The Milwaukee Bucks are working on a development district around Fiserv Forum, including an entertainment block across the street from the arena that includes Good City Brewing and Punch Bowl Social (a bar/restaurant with games). The New England Patriots developed the Patriots Place open-air shopping center around Gillette Stadium. The Chicago Cubs’ upgrades of Wrigley Field include new buildings outside the ballpark with office space, retail and a hotel. The new Atlanta Braves stadium, SunTrust Park, was built to anchor a mixed-use development district called The Battery Atlanta.
Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said SunTrust Park and The Battery will be the “model for future ballparks.”
“The scope of the mixed-use development surrounding the ballpark and the economic opportunity it has created for the club is what people see as revolutionary,” he said.
The Milwaukee Brewers have an opportunity to do something similar. As I write this, they are preparing for the playoffs. But they should also be considering economic development opportunities near Miller Park.
The news that Komatsu Mining Corp. will consolidate its local operations at a new corporate headquarters in Milwaukee’s Harbor District is great for the city. But West Milwaukee will lose a major employer and see the company abandon its 44-acre complex at 4400 W. National Ave., near Miller Park.
Village officials hope to see someone eventually come forward with plans to redevelop the Komatsu site. Who should it be? The Milwaukee Brewers, that’s who. The site is closer to Miller Park than the Molitor parking lot north of I-94.
In addition to the Komatsu site, the Brewers could put development on some of their own parking lots. The logical strategy would be to extend South 44th Court through the Miller parking lot between Miller Park Way and the Menomonee River. The Brewers should develop all of that land between the freeway and the river. That would still leave massive amounts of parking, and room for tailgating, in the remaining lots around the ballpark. New development could include parking structures to accommodate some game parking.
Imagine a mixed-use development district along the east side of Miller Park Way between West National Avenue and I-94, visible from inside the ballpark, with bars, restaurants, retail, hotel, residences, office space and baseball-related entertainment (such as a batting cage). It would be a cool addition to the area and the Brewer game experience.