Event Preview: Commercial Real Estate conference will examine ‘what’s next’ for Milwaukee

Milwaukee skyline
Milwaukee skyline

Milwaukee has arrived, some might say. So, now what?

The city’s downtown has boomed in recent years with significant developments, including numerous new apartment buildings and hotels, the Northwestern Mutual Tower & Commons, Fiserv Forum, the BMO Tower, redevelopment of the former Grand Avenue mall and many other recent and ongoing projects.

The suburbs have also seen significant activity, including Drexel Town Square in Oak Creek, The Corridor and The Corners in Brookfield and 84South in Greenfield.

But the area still faces significant long-standing challenges, such as racial inequity and stagnant population growth. And there are still plenty of areas in need of development, from vacant or underused downtown sites to entire commercial corridors in the outlying neighborhoods.

The eyes of the nation seem to be on Milwaukee more than ever. The Democratic National Convention next year will bring unprecedented attention to the city. The metro area’s bright spots and its issues will be on full display in the coming months as a result. Meanwhile, two of the nation’s biggest sports stars — Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks and Christian Yelich of the Brewers — have brought even more exposure to Milwaukee.

The 17th annual BizTimes Media Commercial Real Estate and Development Conference will examine where the industry stands at this dynamic time in Milwaukee’s history and seek answers as to how it can address its challenges and further improve.

The event will be held on Friday, Nov. 15, at the Italian Community Center in Milwaukee, with registration beginning at 7 a.m. and the program running until 9:30 a.m. Click here to register.


The keynote presenter will be innovation futurist Michael Perman, who has worked with several major brands during his career including Nike, Adidas, Williams-Sonoma, Levi’s, Gap, Starbucks, Del Monte, General Mills, Google and Hyatt Hotels. A Milwaukee native, Perman will examine what lies ahead for Milwaukee.

“I think cities bloom from advocating for the right anchors that attract people,” he said. “I will share core cultural and business trends that commercial real estate professionals can think about as catalysts for the future.”

Following the keynote will be a panel discussion with prominent local real estate professionals who will discuss opportunities for economic growth in metro Milwaukee, as well as the significant challenges facing the region and how they will impact commercial real estate development in the area. The panel will be moderated by Andy Hunt, director of the Marquette University Center for Real Estate.

The panelists will include: Kalan Haywood Sr., president of Haywood Group LLC; Juli Kaufmann, president of Fix Development; Steve Palec, chief marketing officer of Irgens; and Blair Williams, president of WiRED Properties.

The conference is sponsored by CliftonLarsonAllen, Husch Blackwell and Wintrust. Exhibit sponsors are Acoustech Supply Inc. and Innovative Signs. Event partners are Marquette University and the Commercial Association of Realtors Wisconsin.

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