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Milwaukee County RFP calls for developing Park East site

Milwaukee County is putting a block in the city’s Park East corridor up for sale again after previous efforts to redevelop it sputtered.

The county on Tuesday issued a request for proposals to redevelop Block 22 of Park East, a property bordered by North Water Street, North Milwaukee Street, East Ogden Avenue and North Broadway.

Development proposals will be accepted in phases; local officials plan to evaluate the first crop this summer. Acceptable proposals could call for a mix of residential, retail and office projects. The two lots making up the property have more than 99,650 square feet of space. The property also lies within an opportunity zone, a federal designation that allows investors to earn tax credits for meeting certain spending goals.

Milwaukee County’s RFP for the property comes after previous plans to build there fell flat. Wangard Partners, of Wauwatosa, pitched plans in 2015 for a $52 million, seven-story mixed-use building at the site, but dropped those last year.

Block 22 is the last publicly owned plot of land in the city’s Park East Freeway corridor, which separated McKinley Avenue and Ogden Avenue from the city’s downtown. Development returned to the district after an old section of freeway was torn down in 2002.

“The Park East Corridor has grown tremendously over the past several years, and the sale of Block 22 will be the capstone of development on a once desolate area of Milwaukee,” County Executive Chris Abele said in a statement. “The area continues to spur economic growth and add local jobs, all while building a strong entertainment district for our residents and visitors. I look forward to working with a developer who understands what it means to take vacant land and transform it into something that will be positive for the community.”

A number of new projects have cropped up in the Park East district in recent years, including the Fiserv Forum and a practice center for the Milwaukee Bucks, residential and mixed-use developments such as the Moderne and new offices for Manpower Group, Hammes Company and others.

“Recent development in the Park East Corridor is living proof of what can happen when the county, residents and developers come together to take an area that was forgotten and reinvent it for the future of the community,” said Aaron Hertzberg, Milwaukee County director of economic development. “We are confident development at Block 22 will generate new jobs while keeping the downtown area at the cutting edge of where people go to live, work and play in Milwaukee County.”

About Nate Beck, nbeck@dailyreporter.com

Nate Beck is The Daily Reporter's construction staff writer. He can be reached at (414) 225-1814 (office) or 414-388-5635 (mobile).

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