Discovery World seeking $800,000 MEDC loan

Would help finance expansion of Milwaukee lakefront museum

A rendering of the expansion at Discovery World.

Discovery World is seeking a $800,000 loan through the Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation to assist with the expansion of its Milwaukee lakefront museum.

A rendering of the expansion at Discovery World.

Construction on the project, which is adding about 20,000 square feet to the museum, has been underway since last fall. The first phase of the project, a new 10,000-square-foot pavilion to replace the seasonal tent pitched on north lawn of the museum, is expected to be completed in time to host its first event in mid-July.

Pledges for the project, combined with the MEDC loan, would bring total financing for the project to $11.9 million.

The cost of the project initially was estimated at about $18 million, but that figure has come down slightly since it was first announced, according to Discovery World president Joel Brennan. Any additional funding raised above project costs would be directed to the organization’s endowment and maintenance funds.

Discovery World currently has 65 full-time and 49 part-time employees. It expects to hire seven more full-time employees within two years, according to plans submitted by Discovery World on the loan application.

BMO Harris Bank is the primary lender on the project.

The MEDC’s loan committee will review Discovery World’s request Tuesday.

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