Can the Downtown Support Several New Hotels?

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:37 pm

Several hotels have been proposed in recent months for downtown Milwaukee, and the city’s hotel room capacity is on the verge of rising dramatically.

Some of the proposed new sites are located less than three miles of the site of a proposed new hotel on Milwaukee’s east side (see accompanying story):

•    Chicago-based RSC & Associates plans to build two 140-room hotels in the Park East corridor.

•    Weas Development Co. plans to develop a 150-room Renaissance ClubSport by Marriott Hotel in a Historic Third Ward development at the southeast corner of Broadway Street and St. Paul Avenue.

•    Charlotte-based Ghazi Co. has proposed a 32-story building at Fourth Street and Wisconsin Avenue, which would include a hotel.

•    U.S. Bank and JBK Properties want to include a 214-room hotel in the 42-story building they plan to construct just southeast of the U.S. Bank building at 777 E. Wisconsin Ave. The U.S. Bank/JBK project is on hold until they find an anchor office tenant.

•    Badger Pacific Equity Partners wants to develop a small, high-end hotel in a new building or in an existing building in downtown Milwaukee, said Craig Stoehr, co-founder and managing partner of Badger Pacific Equity Partners.

Doug Neilson, president and chief executive officer of Visit Milwaukee, said he thinks the downtown area could support all of the proposed new hotels.

Currently there are about 3,500 hotel rooms in the downtown area. The largest hotel is the Hilton Milwaukee City Center with 730 rooms.

Downtown Milwaukee’s hotels had an occupancy rate of only about 63 percent last year, Neilson said. However, new attractions and development coming to downtown will provide more visitors to fill the additional hotel rooms, he said.

The addition of Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin and the Harley-Davidson Museum will bring more tourists to Milwaukee. Manpower Inc.’s move downtown will bring more business travelers to downtown.

Ghazi Co.’s development could include an entertainment component such as a Hard Rock Café, House of Blues or ESPN Zone, which would also help attract visitors. The Midwest Airlines Center could have its long-planned 100,000-square-foot third phase built in 2008 or 2009, Neilson said.

“You’re talking about the evolution of Milwaukee as a destination,” he said. “(Downtown Milwaukee) is going to be a different place in two years.”

Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

No posts to display