Mayor Johnson proposes $15.75 million in TIF for Vel R. Phillips Plaza on Wisconsin Avenue downtown

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson today unveiled a $15.75 million tax incremental financing proposal to fund construction of Vel R. Phillips Plaza on the south side of Wisconsin Avenue, west of Vel R Phillips Avenue, in downtown Milwaukee.

The site is a parking lot, across Wisconsin Avenue from the Wisconsin Center convention center.

The funding would pay for the construction of the 30,000-square-foot plaza, a 2,900-square-foot food/beverage retail space, a garden, a flex space that could host farmers markets, food trucks or other community events, an informational kiosk, public art installations, and a station to accommodate Milwaukee County’s Bus-Rapid Transit Line.

- Advertisement -

The plans preserve 50,000 square feet of space on the site for future development.

“The city of Milwaukee is prepared to move forward on the Vel R. Phillips Plaza that will add to the positive momentum taking place in the Westown neighborhood, which is witnessing a string of exciting development, investment, and activity,” Johnson said. “I am a strong supporter of gathering places and plazas. From economic development benefits and expanded public transit connections, to cultural and educational opportunities that are accessible for all, gathering places enhance the quality of life in our communities. As the nation recognizes and celebrates Women’s History Month, I am looking forward to this plaza honoring the legacy, activism, and public service of Vel R. Phillips, as well as providing a dynamic and active gathering place for the community to utilize and enjoy for years to come.”

Phillips was as an attorney, jurist, politician and civil rights activist. She was both the first African American and first woman elected to the city’s Common Council, the first female judge in Milwaukee County and the first black judge in the state of Wisconsin. She was the first woman to hold the office of Secretary of State in Wisconsin and the first African American to win a statewide election.

- Advertisement -

“I applaud the City’s work to create this public space in honor of a true icon of our greater community, Vel R. Phillips,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley. “Milwaukee County is investing in and building upon transportation infrastructure to expand mobility and spur economic activity throughout the County. I’m pleased to see this project come to fruition, as it aligns perfectly with Milwaukee County’s commitment to ensuring residents can take any mode of transport anywhere in the community in a safe, affordable, and efficient manner.”

The funding is part of a proposed tax incremental district amendment that would also include $4.35 million for infrastructure and lighting improvements in the area and $500,000 for the Commercial Revitalization Grant Program that provides financial assistance to commercial property owners for building renovations and improvements.

Sign up for the BizTimes email newsletter

Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

What's New


Sponsored Content

Stay up-to-date with our free email newsletter

Keep up with the issues, companies and people that matter most to business in the Milwaukee metro area.

By subscribing you agree to our privacy policy.

No, thank you.
BizTimes Milwaukee