By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published May 18, 2023 at 12:30 PM

The Trade Hotel – which flies the Marriott Autograph Collection banner – opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, May 18.

The Trade lobby.

Located at 420 W. Juneau Ave., on property in the path of the former Park East Freeway spur, the hotel – designed by GBA Architects – was developed by North Central Group and built by Findorff. Pierce Engineers was the structural engineer.

NCG operates nearly 30 hotels in five states including two in Brookfield: the Brookfield Conference Center and the Hilton Garden Inn Milwaukee Brookfield Conference Center.

The 207-room hotel, which was announced in 2021, will welcome its first guests later in the day and on Thursday morning staffers were working hard to put finishing touches on the rooms and hospitality venues.

The Trade's main entrance is on the Juneau Avenue side of the building – as is a 1,000-square-foot commercial space – facing the Deer District.

Exposed beams are painted yellow in honor of the Hoan Bridge.

Just inside the slowly revolving door is the reception desk with its striking steel beams in the shape of a lower-case letter R. To the right, beyond a seating area, there's a grand staircase connecting the first and second floors, with its exposed steel supports.

In the main and elevator lobbies there are cream city brick details, and the exposed steel structural members are painted yellow in homage to the Hoan Bridge.

Cream city brick.

All the decor is Milwaukee- and industral-themed.

The lobby bar and restaurant, with a large selection of whiskey and other spirits, is called Craft.

Craft bar and restaurant.

A private intimate meeting/dining room on the mezzanine overlooks the Craft space, which has an opening through which copper decorations conjuring brew kettles run. It also has a small balcony.

In fact, balconies practically run the entire lengths of the Phillips and Juneau sides on the second floor, creating fine views from the bar and lounge areas. The balcony facing east has fire tables for cool weather.

One of the balcony patios on the second floor.

One bar is called Solomon, in honor of Solomon Juneau. And in addition to a 5,000-square-foot ballroom – serviced by a large kitchen behind the lobby – the second floor is also home to the Walker Meeting Rooms, named for another Milwaukee founding pioneer George Walker. 

Curiously absent in the hotel, located in the heart of Kilbourntown, is any space named in honor of the third Milwaukee founder Byron Kilbourn.

The third floor has a fitness center – overlooking the Deer District and offering a skyline view from the treadmills – with a four-inch rubber floor to deaden any sound.


Equipment here was selected with input from NBA players.

Madison-based Food Fight Restaurant Group will operate Il Cervo ("The Deer") Italian restaurant in a 9,000-square-foot space on the ninth floor.

Il Cervo lounge area.
Il Cervo table seating.

It includes a 4,500-pound wood-fired pizza oven, and the views are even better than on the second floor.

The menu includes sourdough pizzas, salads, pasta, handmade mozzarella appetizers, side dishes and chicken, fish and steak entrees.

The oven
The 4,500-pound oven in the kitchen at Il Cervo.

The hotel, which has predominantly king beds, has more than 20 suites – all with soaking tubs – including a two-story, 2,300-square-foot, duplex presidential suite on the eighth and ninth floors in the northwest corner.

That suite has two balconies – including a green roof terrace overlooking Fiserv Forum – and can be configured to sleep about 10 people.

The Presidential Suite.

It has a kitchen and a dedicated elevator, and it is located in, naturally, the West Wing, which can be closed off to allow parties to rent the suite and the four other rooms in the wing, one of which adjoins the Presidential Suite.

It's a pretty stunning space with views in three directions. During the off-season, the lowest rate for the suite runs about $1,999.

The view from the balcony in the Presidential Suite (above) and its green rooftop patio (below).

All the rooms and corridors feature artwork that spotlights Milwaukee and the city’s history.

Industrial-themed artwork in a corridor.

One unique feature of The Trade – the name of which pays tribute to the working people who helped build the city – is the so-called "NBA Rooms" on the fourth floor.

can't reach
Unless I stand on tip-toe I can't reach the top of the door frame in an NBA room.

Rooms on this level boast ceilings two feet higher than on the other floors to accommodate unusually tall guests.

The shower heads are installed at nine feet instead of the eight feet in the other guest rooms, and the doorways are eight feel tall. There are also be extra-high toilets.

These rooms are rented to the public when there is no NBA team staying at The Trade.

The floor also has a team space that can be used as a room for brides or grooms for weddings and other events.

guest room
A guest room on the fourth floor.
Suite patio
A patio in one of the fourth floor suites.

Beautiful inside and out, The Trade – the first full-service hotel to open in Downtown in Milwaukee in four years – is yet another reminder of why tearing down the Park East Freeway was a brilliant idea.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.