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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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Viva Downtown.
Viva Downtown. (Photo: Dan Bishop, MilwaukeeDowntown.com)

Downtown: It's the nighttime economy, stupid

Downtown Milwaukee is the heart of our state.  Helping to strengthen it will make for a much more profitable and user friendly Wisconsin not to mention the neighborhoods around Downtown. 

Three things drive great downtowns: density, diversity and discovery.  All are growing in Milwaukee. And, before you ask what I mean by "discovery," I mean those places and things that we use/consume (restaurants, landmarks, venues, bars, the Riverwalk, stores, etc.) and  the unique and authentic stuff that make an area attractive.    

Chances are, if you only visit or work in Downtown, that you may not sense the massive growth and energy that the area has.  I’ve lived in the greater Downtown area for much of life and I can testify that a lot has changed in the recent years. 

We’re not a 24/7 town, but on any given Thursday, Friday or Saturday night 30-80,000 additional people come into the Downtown area.  That's more than many area suburbs.  

Other facts:

  • The nighttime economy accounts for 61,879 full-time jobs.
  • More than 100 taxis work in the area
  • There’s $1.4 billion in income from Downtown residents
  • Downtown has 30 valet stands
  • Activity in Downtown generates $950 of tax relief per person

The numbers don’t lie, and to keep them growing Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21, has retained the services of the Responsible Hospitality Institute (RHI).  I been fortunate enough to help on this project.  And, it's been fascinating and rewarding.  

Want to join in?  Click here to take a survey. Or, just keeping coming Downtown.  The area’s growing and awaits your discovery.  

Talkbacks

speakthetruth | Oct. 2, 2011 at 10:59 a.m. (report)

Diversity of dining and retail options are important, but diversity in the context of race/religion/creed has absolutely no positive economic impact on downtown.

Downtown needs more concentration of areas which are walkable, even in inclement weather. Think something akin to the Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. The hotels, restaurant, baseball stadium, etc. are all within a short walk outside (or via the skyway) and there is light rail to get people from the burbs to and fro without traffic sucking like Chicago.

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Hckyboy00 | Oct. 1, 2011 at 3:00 a.m. (report)

Downtown needs more taxis, and desperately needs a downtown theater. For my job i meet people daily that are in town visiting and have been asked at least a dozen times a week if there is a place close by to catch a movie. From what i understand Marcus owns the former Grand Theater building and for whatever reason continues to sit on it, to the detriment to Wisconsin Ave. Either dress it up a bit like they did the Avalon for the Brass Rooster, or sell it so somebody who actually wants to do something like that. The city needs to address the issue of all the ugly downtown abandoned buildings. If the city will hold banks responsible for their dilapidated foreclosed properties, why won't they do the same to some of the buildings downtown?

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brewcitypaul | Sept. 30, 2011 at 4:58 p.m. (report)

They really need to relax on giving parking tickets to people downtown at night and during the weekends. Really puts a sour twist on the experience to people who come downtown from the outer suburbs and even those who live near downtown.

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Blaine | Sept. 30, 2011 at 3:54 p.m. (report)

*on any given Thursday, Friday or Saturday night 30-80,000 additional people come into the Downtown area* Jeff is this accurate? I could see it on a night of a large Fest -- but how often does it really happen? I think we'd have more/worse traffic issues to deal with -- and subsequently hear about it. Overall good points, though. In the last decade downtown has become a cool destination, as more folks figure out.

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