New downtown Milwaukee Marriott hotel opens today

The new 205-room Milwaukee Marriott Downtown hotel at 323 E. Wisconsin Ave. opens today, ahead of schedule. The hotel was originally scheduled to open in mid-July.

On Tuesday workers were finishing up last-minute preparations and hotel staff were practicing service on executives and employees posing as guests. Click here to see photos of the new hotel.

“The big deal was to get open for Summerfest,” said hotel general manager Jeffrey Hess.

The hotel wraps around the Johnson Bank building at the southwest corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Milwaukee. It includes a new nine-story structure and 80-foot deep portions of 1800s vintage buildings, with restored facades, along Wisconsin Avenue.

The hotel has its own restaurant called Millioke – Meat, Cheese, Beer (featuring locally sourced meats, cheeses and beer) and a Starbucks coffee shop along Wisconsin Avenue. Signage for Millioke will be added this weekend. The restaurant and Starbucks will both have outdoor seating on the Wisconsin Avenue sidewalk, Hess said.

“We’re really going to activate this streetfront,” he said.

Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers moved its downtown Milwaukee store to the hotel next to the main Milwaukee Street entrance of the hotel.

The hotel, developed by Jackson Street Holdings, cost $54 million to build and has 130 full and part-time employees. The management company for the hotel is Merrillville, Ind.-based White Lodging Services Corp.

The hotel has about 8,900 square feet of meeting space in several rooms, including a 5,280-square-foot ballroom. The hotel will provide a new option for event planners in Milwaukee.

“We have strong interest (from people planning) weddings and social events,” Hess said. “We have inquiries about holiday parties already.”

It also has a conceierge lounge on the second floor along Wisconsin Avenue. The lounge will serve breakfast and hors d’oeuvres and staff there will provide conceierge services for guests. The lounge will only be open to Marriott Gold and Platinum Elite club members or to guests who book higher-priced rooms.

The hotel also has a fitness center and a swimming pool.

Several Marriott and White Lodging staff are staying at the hotel and no rooms are available tonight.

Like all hotels in the region, the downtown Marriott is looking forward to the Harley-Davidison 110th Anniversary celebration on Aug. 29-Sept. 1. The hotel has 60 rooms available for the weekend. A four night minimum stay is required at $699 a night for that weekend, Hess said.

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