It's less than two square miles, but Downtown Milwaukee has more than 10 percent of the city's tax base. It is the economic and entertainment heart of the city, not to mention the entire state. It's also a growing residential neighborhood with more people living in greater Downtown than Shorewood and Whitefish Bay combined.
According to The Atlantic, Milwaukee's not alone in this Downtown growth. As Nate Berg recently reported, "In all U.S. metro areas, 16.1 million people were living within two miles of City Hall by 2010, about six percent of the total metro area population of 258 million."
How does Downtown truly add up? What are its new numbers? Milwaukee Downtown, the Business Improvement District that covers Downtown proper, has released new key economic indicators.
So, here they are, just the facts. Here are Downtown's new numbers.
- More than $1.7 billion in development investment has taken place since 2005
- More than $400 million in additional projects are currently under construction
- Since 2000, population has increased by 25.5 percent
- More than 81,000 workers are employed within Downtown
- 31.5 percent of these workers have college or advanced degrees
- 60.4 percent of the study area employees live less than 10 miles from work
- Convention attendance grew by 80.2 percent between 2007 and 2011
- 3,123 criminal offenses were reported in 2011, down 21.8 percent from 2009
- 21 percent of Downtown workers are under the age of 29.
- More than half (51.5%) of Downtown Milwaukee's workers are female, and the majority of employees fall within the age 30 to 54 cohort (60.6%).
- Downtown's retail vacancy went from 16.9% to 16.0%, and lease rates declined from $19.71 to $18.79 between first quarters 2011 and 2012.
- Restaurant and bars (37.4%) and personal services (22.5%) are the top two retail categories in Downtown Milwaukee.
Those are numbers. They don't lie.
What are your thoughts about Downtown? What does it need to continue its renaissance? Chime in via the talkbacks or Facebook.
I absolutely love Milwaukee. It is easy to say "develop the Park East" or "tear down the Transit Center." Good ideas both, and I am sure the future holds great things for developments in those areas. But to me, the 2 most pressing issues are improving MPS and improving our public transportation system. If we don't, then all the fancy riverwalks and glass buildings in the world won't stand a chance against the pervasive and debilitating poverty that exists in and around our great city.
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