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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, April 24, 2014

Wed
Hi: 47
Lo: 38
Thu
Hi: 52
Lo: 34
Fri
Hi: 44
Lo: 32
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Construction will end this summer and the hotel is projected to open in the fall.
Construction will end this summer and the hotel is projected to open in the fall.
In-progress ceiling decor on the hotel's third floor.
In-progress ceiling decor on the hotel's third floor.
Here comes the carpeting!
Here comes the carpeting!
Guest room, almost completed.
Guest room, almost completed.
The flame will remain!
The flame will remain!
Internal communications specialist Chantel Kuczmarski  (on left) and Kaelyn Cervero on the hotel patio.
Internal communications specialist Chantel Kuczmarski (on left) and Kaelyn Cervero on the hotel patio.
Exterior shot from patio.
Exterior shot from patio.
The future hotel lobby will feature a "tree canopy."
The future hotel lobby will feature a "tree canopy."
New terrazzo floor.
New terrazzo floor.
Under-construction Tribal Room.
Under-construction Tribal Room.
A rendering of the hotel's banquet room.
A rendering of the hotel's banquet room.
Rendering of a queen suite.
Rendering of a queen suite.
Rendering of the finished project.
Rendering of the finished project.

First look: Potawatomi's new (and still under-construction) hotel

Earlier today, I added a hard hat and safety goggles to my average Monday attire and toured the still-under-construction Potawatomi Bingo Casino Hotel. (The hotel will change its name this summer to Potawatomi Hotel & Casino.)

Construction started in the summer of 2012 and is expected to be completed by mid-summer 2014. The hotel will, most likely, open to the public this fall.

Despite the tarps and dust and unpainted walls and exposed plumbing, the hotel is already impressive due to the incredible amount of natural light and the views, which will undeniably rival as some of the city’s best. 

When complete, the hotel will be 18 stories high  – the superstitious will be happy to know there won’t be a floor 13 – with 341 rooms ranging in size and amenities. (Fun factoid: 415 soap dishes and 381 ice buckets are already on order.)

The hotel will also include seven meeting / party rooms, in-house dining, full bar, coffee shop and exercise area. An additional parking garage featuring 1,400 more stalls is also in the works.

"All of this will allow us to bring people to Milwaukee who have never been here, as well as national conventions," says Kaelyn Cervero, Potawatomi's sales and catering operations manager.

The restaurant concept and coffee vendor is still in the works, but Hassan Abdel-Moneim, Potawatomi’s hotel director, says they are shooting for local.

"We are going with local companies whenever we can," says Abdel-Moneim. "Including local construction companies and Kohler fixtures."

The hotel will cost about $150 million with $97.5 million in construction costs and $47 million in construction payroll. Once in operation, the project is estimated to generate $10 million a year in additional revenue for the city of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, VISIT Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin.

The hotel will add approximately 230 permanent jobs to the 2,600 already existing jobs at the casino.

The project has been in progress for 514 days without a singl…

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Winter lives on at the Pettit Center's open skating.
Winter lives on at the Pettit Center's open skating.

Might we miss winter?

Yesterday, I stopped at Pettit Ice Center and took a few spins around the rink during Open Skate. (OK, that sounded a lot more graceful than it actually was. It’s more like I clunked my way around in circles, arms straight out like the "t" in topsy turvy.)

Despite my questionable skating abilities, I managed to stay upright the entire time, and I enjoyed myself. I wouldn’t say I got a workout, rather, it was more relaxing, almost meditative going around and around and around.

Even though, it seems, half of my Facebook friends are photographing their naked feet on a Florida beach, I am OK ice skating during spring break. I even looked up the schedule for the rest of the spring and plan to go again. I’ll probably even go during the summer.

It’s hard to imagine now, but I am particularly looking forward to visiting the chilly rink in July or August when it’s 95 degrees and insanely humid. The chance to access winter once it's gone might actually be appreciated later this year.

Then again, maybe I did just fall on the ice yesterday or got a skate to the head with thoughts like that.

Every day is Milwaukee Day for some people.
Every day is Milwaukee Day for some people.
Wavelength T-shirt. Wear one with pride today. Or tomorrow.
Wavelength T-shirt. Wear one with pride today. Or tomorrow.

Celebrate Milwaukee Day

Today we shall celebrate our fine, fine city. Why? Because it’s "414" day, which is not only the date, April 14, but also Milwaukee’s area code. Clever, isn’t it?

Many Milwaukeeans are acknowledging Milwaukee informally today. I expect an increase in selfies along the lakefront and uncustomary-for-a-Monday beer sales.

Here are a few others ways to ring in 414 day:

Kanpai is offering a 414 roll featuring four types of fish topped with four sauces for $14. This promotion will be available not only today, but for the rest of April.

Too Much Metal owner Fred Gillich released a new T-shirt design "wavelength." Anyone who orders a wavelength shirt today will receive free shipping or "pizza style" delivery within the hour.

Here's how owner Fred Gillich describes the shirt, in the form of an Ode to Milwaukee:

"We are the ultraviolet light that guides Wisconsin. Milwaukeeans are a fearless Sunshine enduring loitering winters while establishing the future. We are bright, innovative and resilient stars polka-dotting the night sky with our triumphs and our pains. We embody all of life's challenges – as many as there are – creating a pure joy, an indomitable light that is the envy of all black holes. Let your sun rays shine, Milwaukee. Tune into this epic wavelength and share in our city's energy. This light is you. This light is us. This light is Milwaukee."

Tonight, Decibully, Juniper Tar and Whips will play a Milwaukee Day Show at Turner Hall. Decibully reunites for the first time in three years.

There’s also a Milwaukee Instagram contest today calling for your food photos of Milwaukee-themed eats. (Translation: Cheese. Beer. Repeat.) And a Milwaukee Day Facebook page that will, hopefully, be updated throughout the day.

So Happy Milwaukee Day, Milwaukee. Meet you at the Bronze Fonz later today?

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Rachel Fell says Yelp can help.
Rachel Fell says Yelp can help.

Fell's free Yelp workshop

Last month, I wrote an article about Yelp restaurant reviews and whether or not they were helpful or harmful to business owners. Numerous folks weighed in with a mix of opinions, some of which suggested that Yelp was harmful to their business.

Ugly’s Pub co-owner Dustin Bowie, for example, reported that Yelp has been extremely helpful. "Yelp gives honest feedback from our guests' perspective that teaches us what we are doing right and what we need to work on," he says.

However, Jose Chavez, owner of Cafe La Paloma, has not found Yelp to be a helpful marketing tool.

"The opinions and reviews on Yelp can be partial and malicious and most of the time are based on only one visit," he says.

Rachel Fell, who lives in Milwaukee, is a marketing director for the San Francisco-based Yelp and one of her job-related missions is to help people understand Yelp’s offerings.

With this in mind, Fell will offer a workshop for business owners, marketing professionals and anyone working in the service industry.

"Basically, if you have questions or misconceptions about Yelp it's the right event for you," says Fell.

The event takes place on Friday, April 18, 2 p.m. at Anodyne Coffee, 224 W. Bruce St. Complimentary drinks and snacks will be served.

Some of the questions Fell will address include how a business can claim their business page, the best practices for responding to reviews and to address some of the misconceptions regarding advertising on Yelp.

According to Fell, Yelp can be a helpful tool for local businesses.

"Yelp drives local purchasing decisions – 82% of people using Yelp visit the site because they intend to buy a local product or service," she says.

Fell believes online review space is often misunderstood, but it isn’t in the best interest of any business owner to try to avoid it.

"With over 120 million monthly visitors and 53 million reviews on the site, Yelp's a true leader when it comes to word of mouth online," says Fell. "Real people – locals an…

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