How will Milwaukee live, work and play in 2020?

A lot can happen to a city’s real estate in a decade. Think of the past 10 years, when the Milwaukee Art Museum, Miller Park, the Milwaukee Public Market, the University Club and Kilbourn Towers virtually redefined Milwaukee’s skyline.

Condominiums boomed in the Historic Third Ward. The Park East Freeway came down. Manpower Inc. moved its headquarters downtown. The Pabst Brewery site is being reborn.

What will the next decade bring? How will Milwaukee live, work and play in the year 2020? And how will those factors shape commercial real estate development in the region a decade from now?

Those are the questions to be explored by the panelists at this year’s BizTimes Commercial Real Estate & Development Conference, which will take place Thursday, Nov. 11, at the Potawatomi Bingo Casino. The public is invited to attend the breakfast event. For additional information, visit

The featured panelists at the conference will include:

  • Mark Eppli, professor and Robert B. Bell Sr. Chair in Real Estate at Marquette University. Eppli will discuss the demographics of Milwaukee in 2020. Who will we be as a people? What will be our racial, generational and economic makeup? How many of us will be living in the suburbs? How many of us will be retired? What will be our income levels? How will all of these factors change economic development and commercial real estate development?
  • Rocky Marcoux, commissioner of the Milwaukee Department of City Development. Marcoux will provide us a sneak peek at downtown Milwaukee in 2020. What will become of the Bradley Center? The Shops of Grand Avenue? The Park East Corridor? O’Donnell Park? The Summerfest grounds and the Third Ward? Will the condo market be revived? What will be the city’s downtown priorities in the next 10 years? Will the streetcars get done, and if so, how will they change economic development patterns? Will the city be successful in creating a water industry cluster?
  • Tom Rave, executive director of the Airport Gateway Business Association. Rave will discuss the emerging aerotropolis development around Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport. He also will share his insights about the transportation infrastructure that southeastern Wisconsin will need in 2020 to compete in a global marketplace and the need for a mobile workforce – with or without high-speed rail.
  • Andrew DeGuire, vice president of strategy and acquisitions, Johnson Controls Inc. DeGuire will discuss how commercial buildings will be constructed and re-equipped by 2020. How will they be heated? What technologies will by then be commonplace and readily available? Will solar energy be widely feasible by then? How will our buildings be powered? What kind of vehicles will we be driving? How will they be fueled? How are all of these technologies going to change economic development patterns?
  • Jill Morin, chief executive officer of Kahler Slater Inc. Morin will provide the bookend to Eppli’s demographic presentation. She will account for the human factor. What will the consumer trends be in 2020? How will we live, work and play? How will commercial buildings reflect and accommodate who we are? What kinds of jobs will we be doing? How will the workplace be different?

Each of these panelists brings different skill sets, backgrounds and viewpoints to the discussion.
A companion publication, the BizTimes Commercial Real Estate Book, will be published along with the event. Highlights of this publication will include coverage about the deals of the past year, commercial real estate vacancy charts, a Commercial Association of Realtors Wisconsin (CARW) membership survey, the annual Honor Roll of Prime Leasable Space and a collection of “signs of life” in the local commercial real estate market.

Steve Jagler is executive editor of BizTimes Milwaukee.

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