City hopes to attract development to Bronzeville site along I-43

Issues RFP seeking project for 7th and North

The city of Milwaukee is hoping recent investments in the Bronzeville neighborhood, just north of downtown, will attract development interest for a vacant site along I-43.

This image shows the site for the RFP for two properties owned by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee (RACM). I-43 is on the left. A privately-owned property, with a billboard, is in the middle of the site.

The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee has issued a request for proposal for two city-owned properties totaling about 1 acre at 2225 N. Seventh St. and 2233-43 N. Seventh St. for $200,340.

Acceptable uses of the property, according to the RFP, include: a boutique hotel, a conference center with banquet hall and/or catering component, a mixed-use development with first floor retail, a theater with an open plaza, or uses that contribute to or exemplify the existing Bronzeville Cultural and Entertainment District.

There have been several recent developments in Bronzeville including Pete’s Fruit Market, which opened at North Avenue and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in September 2017 and The Griot Apartments at the former Garfield School, which is also the new home of America’s Black Holocaust Museum.

Just south of the neighborhood, the Bucks will open their new, $524 million arena on Aug. 26. The city is also seeking funding to extend the streetcar north along King Drive to North Avenue.

Alderwoman Milele Coggs said the site at 7th and North is one of the gateways to Bronzeville, making it a prime spot for investment.

“This is a wonderful parcel of land, right off of the highway and a unique opportunity for developers to get into Bronzeville,” Coggs said. “Hopefully through the submissions, we see some creative proposals that will add to the beauty of the neighborhood.”

The ClearChannel Outdoor billboard located at 2233 N. 7th St. is on a privately owned parcel in the middle of the RFP site. One of the RFP’s options for the property is to not include the billboard in the project. A second option is to include the billboard and work with the owner, PMG Holdings Inc. to incorporate the billboard into the development. Coggs said part of the reason the city is issuing the RFP at this time is ClearChannel is considering upgrading the billboard.

In 2007, former NBA player and former Milwaukee Bucks coach Terry Porter announced plans to build a five-story, mixed use building at the southwest corner of North Seventh Street and West North Avenue. The building would have included a sports and entertainment complex with a restaurant and condominiums on the upper floors. That development never came to fruition, but Porter’s parking deck could have incorporated the ClearChannel billboard, Coggs said.

“Before (ClearChannel) invests hundreds of thousands in upgrades (at the site), we wanted to put the RFP out to see what proposals come back,” Coggs said.

RACM would consider a lands swap with PMG Holdings in order to facilitate development at the site, according to the RFP.

Proposals for the property must be submitted by Aug. 30. Click here for a link to the RFP.

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