Marcus unveils its 4th and Wisconsin proposal

Wants to expand Hilton hotel, build apartment tower [PHOTO GALLERY]

Rendering of eMbarKE by Eppstein Uhen Architects.

Last updated on May 31st, 2023 at 02:00 pm

Marcus Hotels & Resorts’ proposal for the vacant site at 4th Street and Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Milwaukee includes a 276-room expansion of the existing Hilton Milwaukee City Center hotel and a tower with up to 200 apartments.

The hotel expansion, which would bring the total number of rooms at the Hilton to 1,005, would address the number one request of meeting planners and appeal to event planners who typically bypass Milwaukee for convention business, according to Marcus representatives.

Milwaukee-based Marcus is one of two groups that responded this fall to an RFP by the city seeking development proposals for the 2-acre site south of Wisconsin Avenue between 4th and 5th streets. The site is owned by the city.

Marcus is working with Third Ward-based Eppstein Uhen Architects on the project.

Greg Uhen, CEO of Eppstein Uhen Architects said the project, called eMbarKE, will infuse new residents into the area by linking an outdoor plaza, retail and restaurants.

“We envision modern and bold structures made of glass and steel that are carved to reveal a multi-tiered green plaza,” Uhen said. “This concept also serves as a streetcar hub and major pedestrian way to connect the entire development to the city and anchor west Wisconsin Avenue.”

The other group that responded to the 4th and Wisconsin RFP, Milwaukee-based hotel development firm Jackson Street Holdings LLC, unveiled its plans for the site, to be called Nexus, on Sept. 30. The $279.6 million Nexus proposal includes three hotels totaling 506 rooms, 103,000 square feet of meeting space and 22,000 square feet of street-level restaurants, bars and cafés at the site.

The Marcus proposal for the 4th and Wisconsin site includes the addition of 61,500 square feet of meeting and exhibit space for the Hilton Milwaukee City Center, adding some space at 4th and Wisconsin and some by expanding the existing hotel building.

“This expansion provides the only enclosed, connected option to already existing parking, a headquarters hotel, meeting/exhibit space and convention space demanded, and not currently or otherwise available,” according to Marcus officials.

The July the city issued a rolling RFP for the site at 401-441 W. Wisconsin Ave. with an asking price of $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.

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