Hotel developer proposes $279.6 million project at 4th and Wisconsin

Three hotels, expanded convention center planned at long-vacant downtown site [PHOTO GALLERY]

Rendering of Nexus

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 05:01 pm

The first proposal for the redevelopment of a long vacant site at a key location in downtown Milwaukee has surfaced.

Milwaukee-based hotel development firm Jackson Street Holdings, LLC is proposing a $279.6 million plan at North 4th Street and Wisconsin Avenue that would include three hotels totaling 506 rooms, 103,000 square feet of convention space and 22,000 square feet of street-level restaurants, bars and cafés.

The project, to be called Nexus, would fully integrate the city’s planned downtown streetcar, according to plans from Milwaukee-based Arrival Partners, which is developing the project with Jackson Street.

The hotels included in Nexus would be premium brand and provide a selection of price points for guests and convention attendees, according to the plans. Restaurants would be located on the first floor with convention and meeting space on floors one through four.

The fourth floor would include sky lobbies of the hotels and fitness centers. The hotels would share back-of-house staffing. The guest rooms would be located in two towers. The northwest triangular-shaped tower would include 150 rooms. The 270-foot tall east tower would include 20 floors with two hotels totaling 356 guestrooms and suites.

Jackson Street Holdings has been active in downtown Milwaukee hotel development in recent years. The firm is currently building the 220-room Westin Hotel just south of the U.S. Bank tower.

On the 4th and Wisconsin project, Jackson Street is working with Merrillville, Ind.-based White Lodging Services, Arrival Partners and Milwaukee architectural firm Kahler Slater.

The 103,000 square feet of convention space provided in Nexus would exceed the amount necessary to support the three hotels and provide the expansion the Wisconsin Center District has been looking for with the convention center, according to the proposal.

In July, the City of Milwaukee issued a request for proposal for the 2-acre site south of Wisconsin Avenue between 4th and 5th streets. The decision to issue the RFP for the site was a result of multiple inquiries from local and out-of-state developers who are interested in the property for a mix of uses including residential, office and a hotel, Rocky Marcoux, commissioner of the department of city development, said at the time.

The $279.6 million project would be paid for by multiple stakeholders.

The city’s asking price for the site (at 401-441 W. Wisconsin Ave.) is $4.6 million. The city has already agreed to fund all streetcar-related infrastructure, but has stated tax incremental financing or other city assistance is not available for development of the site.

The Wisconsin Center District would fund and own the convention and meeting facilities in the Nexus project. The convention and meeting spaces would be into and built over the streetcar route. The skywalks will be funded by the city and the Wisconsin Center District, according to the proposal.

The project would create approximately 2,500 direct and indirect jobs, according to Arrival Partners. In addition, more than 600 jobs will be created upon opening of the convention space, hotels and restaurants.

The hotels will generate city and county lodging tax revenues in excess of $75 million over a 25-year period, according to the report.

The RFP closed today; however, the city has the option to roll it over if officials are not satisfied with the quality of applications.

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