Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 10:58 am
Before the tracks have even been laid, the Downtown Business Improvement District is using the Milwaukee Streetcar as an economic development marketing opportunity.
The BID, which represents downtown business owners, is planning to launch a website highlighting the commercial real estate properties available for sale or lease within a quarter mile of the streetcar line.
About 75 properties will be listed on the site, ranging from 1,000-square-foot retail spaces to the 90,000 square feet of office space that will be available when the FBI vacates its space in the Plaza East building at 330 E. Kilbourn Ave., this spring.
“To have (the BID’s) backing in a project of this magnitude is huge,” said Rocky Marcoux, commissioner for the Department of City Development.
Last year, the Common Council approved the $124 million downtown streetcar project.
The main downtown line is expected to be operational in 2018. Through December, the city has spent $9.1 million on the streetcar project. Construction bids will be issued within the next 90 days.
Pennsylvania-based Brookville Equipment Corp. will build the first four streetcar vehicles for $18.6 million.
Meanwhile, the finishing touches are being put on the BID’s streetcar real estate website, said Matt Dorner, economic development director with Milwaukee Downtown.
The city has also created the “Milwaukee Streetcar Development & Investment Guide,” a full color brochure that highlights developments along the route.
Tucson, Ariz., created a similar brochure and website and has found much success, Dorner said.
According to the city’s website, Tucson’s 3.9 mile streetcar has triggered transit-oriented development since it started running in 2013. To date, more than $800 million has been invested by the private sector including 50 new restaurants, bars and cafes, 1,500 new student housing apartments, 58 new retail businesses and mixed-use housing developments, according to the site.