Some more great news for Downtown Milwaukee was announced in today's Journal Sentinel
. Bank One is relocating its suburban Menomonee Falls back office operations, which consists of 750 people, to its Downtown Milwaukee headquarters in Bank One Plaza at the southwest corner of E. Wisconsin Avenue and N. Water Street. The move will more than double the current number of Bank One employees in the building once renovations are made and the move is complete early next year. Incoming employees will be filling up space in Bank One Plaza that will be vacated when the Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek law firm moves into its new offices in Cathedral Place early next year.
Such a move is significant, especially since this is the second company this year to announce relocating operations from suburban Waukesha County to Downtown Milwaukee. Of course, Roundys, Inc. committed earlier this year to consolidate and relocate its operations from suburban Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties to the soon-to-be-completed 875 East [Wisconsin Avenue] office building.
Read the article for more details: Bank One moving 750 suburban workers downtown
An article from yesterday's Journal Sentinel
describes another new business venture just across the river and over one block. A new Irish pub and restaurant is moving into a prominent building on the northwest corner of W. Wisconsin and N. Plankinton Avenues. Mo's Irish Pub is filling space vacated by St. Francis Bank, which relocated into the Shops of Grand Avenue (also currently under renovation) across the street earlier this year. This is the lastes in a series of Mo's restaurants/shops--all of which are located within a few hundered feet of each other (restaurant Mo's: A Place for Steaks, 720 N. Plankinton Ave., which opened in 1999, and deli/wine shop Mo's Market: A Place for Wine, 717 N. Plankinton Ave., which opened in 2001).
The article also briefly touches on some of the other revitalization projects on that stretch of Wisconsin Avenue, including the nightclub Pure, the Boston Lofts above the Boston Store, apartment conversions in the Majestic Building, and the new retail stores coming to the Shps of Grand Avenue later this year.
Check out the article for more info: Downtown projects heat up - Mo's Irish Pub is latest addition to developments along Wisconsin Ave.
The big news story announced in today's Journal Sentinel
is the latest step in the process to redevelop the Menomonee Valley--the once-buslting industrial center of Milwaukee. The City has announced its purchase (as part of the condemnation process) of the former Milwaukee Road railroad shops and yard facilities. The 134-acre site, owned by CMC Heartland Partners of Chicago, has sat vacant for 20 years after the Milwaukee Road went out of business. CMC had announced plans several times that it was going to redevelop the property but never really made any serious effort to do so. After getting fed up with empty promises, and realizing the potental of the proprty, the City of Milwaukee began a fight to condemn the land a few years ago, clean it up, and prepare it for proper development. The City has offered CMC $3.55 million for the land, which is a cruicial step in revitalizing the entire Valley.
The City has been working with other interested parties to prepare a development plan for the entire Valley, including the Milwaukee Road Shops site. It is expected the Valley will return to its industrial roots, becoming a modern-day center for industrial and light-manufacturing uses, creating thousands of jobs for Milwaukeeans--in addition to entertainment, recreational, office, retail, and residential uses in other parts of the Valley. Plans call for a focus on "green architecture," buldings and site plans designed to incorporate environmentally sustainable elements. Another key to redevelopment is to improve access to the Menomonee Valley with the extension of W. Canal Street, which has connections to nearby freeways, as well as extensive railroad access. Work on Canal Street is expected to start and finish in 2004, with the possibility of opening some sites up for development by summer 2005 (pending environmental contamination cleanup).
See the article for an in-depth look at the announcement: Valley deal plants seeds for growth - Dormant for 20 years, Menomonee land is sold to city for development
Finally, a Journal Sentinel
article from this past Monday describes the experimental "green roof" atop the offices of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. A green roof is one design feature of the aforementioned practice of environmentally sustainable design. The experiment placess thousands of plants on the roof, in hopes of controlling rainwater runoff/stormwater retention, reduce the wear and tear on the roof, and lower temperatures inside and outside the building because of the cooling effect green roofs have. The effects of the experimental green roof atop MMSD's office will be closely monitored, and can be ealisly modified if the need arises.
The green roof concept is widely used in Europe, but has been somewhat slow to take off in the US. Once of the more well-known US green roofs is the one atop City Hall in Chicago. As far as I know, this is the first green roof in Milwaukee, and the concept will be encouraged elsewhere in the city.
Read more about it in the article: Sewerage district touts 'green roofs'
Also included in the article is a photo of the MMSD green roof, with a northeasterly view of the Milwaukee skyline in the background. MMSD's offices are located just off S. 2nd Street in Walker's Point, right where the Menomonee Canal splits off the Menomonee River directly across the river from the Post Office Building near Downtown. Note the tower crane for Cathedral Place (topped out now at 18-floors) in the background.