Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Home / Commercial Construction / Preservation Commission to vote on proposed Milwaukee Marriott

Preservation Commission to vote on proposed Milwaukee Marriott

An artist's rendering shows the proposed Marriott Hotel on Milwaukee Street and Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Milwaukee. (Rendering courtesy of Jackson Street Management LLC)

By Marie Rohde

The Milwaukee Historic Preservation Commission’s delay of plans to build a Marriott Hotel downtown has prompted one alderman to call for a review of its authority and possible abolishment of the commission.

Alderman Terry Witkowski said he would call for the Common Council’s review this week.

“We need to have a full review of their procedures,” Witkowski said. “By its actions, the commission is delaying and preventing the Common Council from taking action on an important proposal.”

Since October, developers have been talking about building a $50 million, 200-room Marriott Hotel at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Milwaukee Street in downtown Milwaukee, a move that would require the razing of five buildings that are part of an historic district.

A commission decision on the proposal was delayed in November because the meeting notice did not state there would be a public hearing. In December, the commission approved the plans conditionally requiring that the facade of the buildings be maintained.

Last week, the developers released new plans that saved or restored the facade along Wisconsin Avenue but not Milwaukee Street.

The commission will meet to discuss those plans Monday. It has the authority to delay the proposal for up to a year. If the commission votes to reject the plans, the Common Council could override the decision with a two-thirds vote.

“There is no other board or commission that can hold up a project,” Witkowski said. “They are appointed and they do not take into account the overall health of the city when they act. We are elected representatives and must consider all the implications.”

Alderman Robert Bauman, a member of the commission who has been an outspoken opponent of the project, could not immediately be reached.

Mayor Tom Barrett is a strong proponent of the development, saying it will bring jobs and economic development to the city.

“We need to send the message to developers that reasonable ideas move forward in Milwaukee,” Barrett said last week.


  1. I share Alderman Witkowski’s views about the Historic Planning Commission. I have been following with interest the discussion about the proposed Marriott Hotel and have attended the November and December meetings. I was thrilled by the original proposal and its promise to enliven, aesthetically, and economically, a rather forlorn looking stretch of East Wisconsin Avenue. I have been distressed by the decisions made so far by the Historical Planning Commission which seem more concerned with keeping downtown a kind of museum rather letting it develop into a vibrant modern city that builds on the past, but is not enslaved to it. I do hope Alderman Witkowski will prevail and that the final decision of the project is in the hands of decision makers who, without losing respect for the past, have as their top priority the present and future needs of our great city.

  2. Build this project. This city tore down the old Pabst building….that was a mistake. This block is no Pabst building….tear it down. Build!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *