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Barrett touts redevelopment in State of the City

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett announced a shortened timeline for the inner harbor phase of his Refresh Milwaukee Plan during his State of the City speech Monday.

That phase, Inner Harbor 2020, will include remediation of about 100 acres of brownfields and the protection and revitalization of about 10 acres of shoreline habitat, among other things. Refresh Milwaukee, released in 2013, is the city’s first sustainability plan.

Bruce Keyes, a partner at Milwaukee-based Foley & Lardner LLP, will coordinate the involvement of private parties in the project, which will address the area between Lake Michigan and South Greenfield Avenue and between the northern boundary of the Fifth Ward and South Bay Street in Milwaukee.

Most of the original deadlines for Refresh’s inner harbor project had been set for 2023, he said, but have been moved up to align with the 100-year anniversary of past harbor-planning efforts.

Keyes said he will work to build consensus over the next year-and-a-half on how to redevelop former industrial properties and create a working waterfront around existing neighborhoods, including remediation of contaminated sediment along the shoreline.

Based on the area’s infrastructure needs and the amount of work he predicts, Keyes estimated land and water projects could require at least a $50 million investment to spur redevelopment.

By mid-2015, he said, he expects the effort to shift to focus on infrastructure needs. He said he expects to kick off the bulk of the redevelopment effort by 2017.

During his speech, Barrett also touted redevelopment beyond the inner harbor. He discussed projects both downtown and in Century City, where Fox Point-based General Capital Group is involved in plans for a 50,000-square-foot building that the city is marketing to potential tenants.

He mentioned adjacent downtown sites and city efforts to attract development, such as the West Wisconsin Avenue Development Corp.’s efforts to bring a project to the city-owned lot at North Fourth Street and West Wisconsin Avenue, and to retain development, such as through a proposed extension to a tax incremental financing district to prevent Boston Store, across Fourth Street from the city’s lot, and its parent company’s offices from moving out before 2018.

Under that proposed extension, which Barrett urged the Common Council to approve, York, Pa.-based The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. would be eligible for $300,000 in grants annually for four years. That money could be spent on leasehold improvements, equipment, working capital, advertising and store promotions, and Bon-Ton Stores Inc. would be required to keep at least 750 full-time employees on site between its store and offices.

About Beth Kevit

Beth Kevit is the Milwaukee city beat reporter and also covers real estate. She can be reached at beth.kevit@dailyreporter.com or 414-225-1820.

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