Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
A high-end hotel with 200 to 250 rooms is coming to a site just across the street from downtown Milwaukee’s Fiserv Forum, it was announced Wednesday.
The hotel, to bear Marriott International’s Autograph brand, is planned for just north of Juneau Avenue, between North Phillips Avenue and North 5th Street.
The now-vacant block is part of a former Park East strip given to the Milwaukee Bucks basketball club by Milwaukee County as part of the public-private financing plan used to pay for the Fiserv Forum. The arena’s parking structure and Five Fifty Ultra Lofts are just west of the hotel site.
The Bucks will lease the land to Madison-based North Central Group, which will develop, own and operate the hotel.
Construction isn’t scheduled to begin until fall 2021, and the hotel is to be completed by late 2022 or early 2023, said Michael Belot, senior vice president of Bucks Ventures and Development.
North Central Group will be refining its design for the hotel, which will have nine to 10 stories, and going through the city’s Plan Commission and Common Council review, said Andy Inman, vice president of development.
The proposal is being supported by both Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley.
“This is an important step forward in the redevelopment of this part of Milwaukee,” Barrett said, in a statement.
Although the hospitality industry has been hurt badly by the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on travel, the developers of the project believe demand will be strong by the time it opens.
“We will get through this pandemic,” Belot said.
And the location next door to Fiserv Forum and its entertainment plaza — with both playing host events that draw big crowds throughout the year — is “a natural fit” for a hotel, Inman said.
The Autograph brand is a good choice because hotels built under it are generally tailored to their particular sites, Inman said.
North Central’s hotel will have a much different feel from downtown’s other Autograph property: the Hotel Metro, a small boutique hotel at 411 E. Mason St.
“It’s not a prototypical brand,” Inman said.
North Central’s hotel is to include a rooftop restaurant with an outdoor terrace, a street-level restaurant and bar, and meeting rooms with about 8,000 to 10,000 square feet, he said.
There also are plans for a second-floor balcony that would overlook the Deer District entertainment plaza.
The hotel is expected to create several hundred construction jobs and approximately 100 permanent jobs, according to North Central and the Bucks. North Central doesn’t release construction cost estimates.
“This will be one of the premier hotels in Milwaukee with an ideal location and will further enhance Deer District as a year-round destination,” said Milwaukee Bucks and Fiserv Forum President Peter Feigin, in a statement.
The hotel site will be the first Bucks-owned property to be developed after the club released conceptual ideas in March 2019 for its project sites.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with the Milwaukee Bucks organization to bring an exciting new hotel experience to the fabric of Deer District,” said Jeff Lenz, North Central president and chief development officer.
North Central’s other hotels include the new Hilton Garden Inn Milwaukee Brookfield Conference Center. It opened in March at 265 S. Moorland Road, Brookfield.
Tom Daykin can be emailed at [email protected] and followed on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.