Economic Development and Job Creation

Downtown Milwaukee is on a roll. Since 2005, $2,621,200,000 in public and private capital has been invested and over $2 Billion in projects are either under construction or proposed.  Downtown is attracting new residents, new hotels, new businesses, and an ever expanding array of new bars and restaurants. Older buildings are being repurposed or renovated and new residential and commercial construction is underway. At present downtown represents approximately 3% of Milwaukee’s land area but over 18% of the city’s tax base. Downtown is an increasingly desirable neighborhood to live, work, invest, and play.

This explosion of growth did not happen by itself. Alderman Bauman has played a major role in dozens of economic development projects in Downtown Milwaukee and the neighborhoods of the 4th District that have significantly impacted Milwaukee’s built environment and that have created construction and permanent jobs and expanded Milwaukee’s tax base.

Alderman Bauman’s work has included authoring legislation creating and approving Tax Incremental Districts, development agreements, redevelopment districts, general and detailed planned developments, project labor agreements, zoning changes, land disposition reports, real estate acquisitions, historic designations, and design and architectural standards. Alderman Bauman has been directly involved in most real estate developments in the 4th district as a result of his position as chair of the Public Works Committee and the Third Ward Architectural Review Board and membership on the Zoning and Neighborhood Development Committee and Historic Preservation Commission. This involvement has included negotiations with developers, property owners, architects, and major tenants and neighborhood meetings with residents and other stakeholders. Throughout this process Alderman Bauman has always stressed job creation and quality architecture and design.

Listed below is a sample of Alderman Bauman’s development projects:

  1. Resolution approving a Project Plan and creating a Tax Incremental District for the renovation and redevelopment of the Milwaukee Amtrak Station; resolution approving a Cooperation and Development Agreement for Tax Incremental District #60 for the Milwaukee Amtrak Station and an ordinance that changed the zoning map for the renovation and redevelopment of the Milwaukee Amtrak Station. Files #050592, 050724 & 050530. These files represent the legislative action that enabled the city and federal government to provide additional funding for the Amtrak Station renovation that created a modern, functional and architecturally significant station design.

  2. Resolution approving a project plan, creating a Tax Incremental District and development agreement for the Brewery Project (former Pabst Brewery complex); an ordinance amending the zoning map for the former Pabst Brewery complex; and an ordinance creating a Development Incentive Zone overlay district for the Brewery Project. Files #060913, 060912 & 060911.  This project was undertaken by Joseph Zilber and the Zilber Group after a previous development plan was rejected by the Common Council. Alderman Bauman made a personal appeal to Joe Zilber to undertake the project as a legacy to Joe’s long success in the real estate business both locally and nationally. The project has been a huge success resulting in several new and renovated historic buildings providing office space, a hotel, the UWM School of Public Health, four residential buildings (with a fifth on the drawing board); two bar/restaurants and the planned return of the Pabst Brewing Company.

  3. Resolution approving a project plan and tax incremental district to facilitate the historic renovation of the City Center at 735 N. Water (built in 1914) which was designed by the firm of D.H. Burnham & Co. of Chicago. The tax incremental funds were used to restore the original cornice of the building that would have otherwise been removed by the developer. The Common Council initially rejected this project but after strong advocacy by Alderman Bauman the project was eventually approved.

  4. Ordinance approving a general and detailed plan development for the Concordia Trust Property (former Concordia College campus at 33rd and State in the Historic Concordia Neighborhood owned by the Forrest County Potowatomi). This project entailed negotiations over building renovation standards, setbacks for new construction, parking lot and fence design, permitted land uses at the site and architectural standards. File #110446 & 110445. The Forrest County Potowatomi also agreed to acquire and renovate several single family and duplex homes in the vicinity of the campus. Over the last several years the FCP have invested tens of millions of dollars in new construction and renovation at the campus including the renovation of 5 homes on 33rd Street one of which was fire damaged and vacant and construction of a state-of-the-art data center.

  5. Resolution approving a project plan, tax incremental district and project labor agreement to facilitate the construction of the new $600 Million office tower at the headquarters campus of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company in downtown Milwaukee. This project will result in the retention of over 1100 jobs and accommodate over 1900 new jobs in downtown Milwaukee. Alderman Bauman met with the CEO of NML on several occasions to discuss the project while NML was evaluating the merits of building downtown or at their campus in suburban Franklin. Alderman Bauman also discussed the design of the building with the project’s architect, Jon Picard. When completed, this building will be the largest office building in Wisconsin.
  6. Resolution approving additional funding for Tax Incremental District #48 to facilitate the construction of the Moderne, a 30 story mixed use apartment and condo building at 1141 N. Old World Third St. in downtown Milwaukee. File #090687. Alderman Bauman was actively involved in the financial negotiations of this project to insure that tax payer interests were protected. The Moderne is fully leased up and is home to Carson’s Restaurant. 
  7. Resolution approving a project plan, development agreement and Tax Incremental District #80 for the historic renovation of the Posner Building (a/k/a Caswell Building) at 152 W. Wisconsin Ave. in Downtown Milwaukee. This former office building, built in 1908 and 1914, stood largely vacant for nearly a decade. As a result of the city’s actions, this building is being renovated and converted to 105 market rate apartments and first floor retail. The Posner Building project is a key element of a multi-faceted initiative to revitalize West Wisconsin Avenue. File #140200.
  8. Certificate of Appropriateness for the renovation of the historic Iron Block Building at Wisconsin and Water St. in downtown Milwaukee to house the corporate headquarters and a clinic for Dental Associates. The renovation of this pre civil war building is perhaps the most extensive and historically accurate renovation of a commercial building ever undertaken in Milwaukee. Alderman Bauman worked with the building owner and architect on all details of the project in his capacity as a commissioner on the city’s Historic Preservation Commission.

  9. Numerous certificates of appropriateness for new construction, alterations and renovations of buildings in the Historic Third Ward in Alderman Bauman’s capacity as chair of the Third Ward Architectural Review Board. The careful and thorough review of proposed building plans by the Architectural Review Board has been a major factor in the tremendous growth and the quality of life in the Third Ward since 2004.

  10. Special use permit from the Board of Zoning Appeals for Veterans Manor at 35th & Wisconsin which provides 52 units of permanent supportive housing for low income, extremely low income and disabled veterans. Alderman Bauman took the initiative to suggest that the Center for Veterans Issues should locate their proposed supportive housing facility at 35th & Wisconsin instead of a site at 2nd & Lincoln which Alderman Bauman did not believe provided sufficient amenities and which was encountering neighborhood opposition. The Center for Veterans Issues agreed and Veterans Manor was built on a long dormant vacant lot that had only attracted proposals for gas stations and convenience stores up to that time.

  11. Resolution approving the acquisition of the gas station at 714 N. 27th (27th & Wisconsin Ave.) by the city’s Redevelopment Authority. File #140727. This gas station has been demolished and now ready for redevelopment in connection with the Near West Side Partner’s initiative. Prior to acquisition, this gas station generated the most police call for services of any property in the Third Police District for several years.

  12. Resolution approving a State-Municipal Agreement for preliminary engineering for the Lakefront Gateway Project. File #131303. The Lake Front Gateway Project will redesign the Lake Interchange at Lincoln Memorial Drive and Clybourn Ave. to provide additional lakefront real estate for development and a new interchange with Interstate Highway 794 in the Third Ward.   

  13. Alderman Bauman initiated the effort to move three historic homes from the site of the Ambassador Hotel to a new location at 830, 834, and 840 N. 26th St. All three homes were fully renovated and are now owner-occupied. The houses were slated for demolition to make way for a parking structure at the Ambassador Hotel. Alderman Bauman asked the owner of the hotel to donate the houses instead, asked the West End Development Corp to undertake the house move and renovation and lined up the funding for the project.