Stewart “Stu” Wangard is chairman, CEO and founder of Wangard, a Wauwatosa-based real estate investment, development and management firm. His firm is one of several that is building or planning to build urban housing in Milwaukee to meet the demands of young professionals. Here he explains what projects need to appeal to that demographic.
“The apartment market in downtown Milwaukee is thriving as young professionals in the Millennial generation are increasingly drawn to the vibrancy, growth and new opportunities the city has to offer.
“Now more than ever, real estate development is key to the economic vitality of the greater Milwaukee area, and it’s crucial for developers to provide an environment for job creation. A dynamic and attractive central business district needs high-quality housing choices for its occupants. In planning for these developments, there are a few items to keep in mind.
- Listen to the marketplace, and stay ahead of the game. By understanding current and future trends, developers can plan for future needs. Wangard regularly engages young professionals in the Milwaukee area in researching what current and potential residents want in their living spaces.
- Consider the environment. Many existing properties lack the modern luxuries and eco-friendly amenities that today’s residents demand. Millennials are looking for energy efficient, environmentally sound facilities and property managers that are proper stewards of their resources. They want to be able to connect to their environment and live within walking distance to mass transit and convenient shopping.
- Connect your community with the urban attractions that our city has to offer. Millennials want to live in lively communities in close proximity to the local pubs and restaurants that serve as their gathering spaces. With modern residents invested in quality and all the action of a downtown environment, developers must be dedicated to giving them value for their dollar when planning for urban residential living spaces.
“By analyzing, understanding and researching the key players in the market, developers can successfully deliver the living spaces their communities are demanding. In doing so, we can all play a role in continuing Milwaukee’s growth and vibrancy in years to come.”