Milwaukee County Close-Up

City Lights Brewing Co. faced nine months of delays in 2016 before opening on February 1, 2017. The new brewery is tucked away in the West Side Water Works campus, across the Menomonee River from the Hank Aaron State Trail. Refurbishing the turn-of-the-century buildings proved to be a monumental task. City Lights is off to a thundering start as one of the latest additions to Milwaukee’s booming craft brewery scene.

Tap line at City Lights Brewery

The building was originally used to convert coal to gas for lighting Milwaukee’s streetlamps. Dating back to the turn of the 20th century, the building has no shortage of old-world charm. The refurbished space includes the original ceilings and an 1899 vintage crane, repurposed to secure the milled grain used in the brewery.

In Wisconsin, the economy impact of the beer industry was more than $8 billion in 2012. The industry supports over 56,000 jobs in the state, according to the “Beer Serves America” report by the Beer Institute of Washington, D.C. and the National Beer Wholesalers Association.

Milwaukee County contains Wisconsin’s Fourth Congressional District, where the beer the industry employs more than 7,000 workers and has a total economic impact of $1.7 billion. That figure includes the local giant, MillerCoors, but according to 2012 estimates from the Brewers Association, craft beer had an economic impact of $855.8 million in Wisconsin.

City Lights exterior sign on a cloudy day

City Lights is sure to add to the growing impact of craft beer on Milwaukee County’s economic health. If you want to step into a piece of Milwaukee heritage, enjoy a local brew and support a new Milwaukee business at the same time, City Lights Brewing Co. is worth a look.

Photo credit: City Lights Brewing Co.

4 Reasons to Watch Out for Wauwatosa

The name “Wauwatosa” used to bring to mind quiet streets and corner bars, but these days that sleepy little village’s business is booming. The ever-expanding retail hub centered around Mayfair Mall has seen considerable expansion in recent years, including the Mayfair Collection, Whole Foods and Meijer anchoring the region near Highway 100. Here are four more reasons to watch out for Wauwatosa:

1. GE Healthcare is expanding

Already a major presence in Wauwatosa, GE Healthcare is moving manufacturing operations for neonatal incubators to Wisconsin. 170 jobs will be spread between manufacturing facilities in Madison, repair operations in Oak Creek, and offices in Wauwatosa that will house leadership, engineering, marketing and support functions.

2. UWM’s Innovation Campus

Wauwatosa isn’t just about stopping by the Cheesecake Factory, and UW-Milwaukee isn’t limited to the City of Milwaukee’s east-side campus. UWM’s Innovation Campus opened in Fall 2014 as “a world-class, public-private research park that spurs strong and enduring partnerships between academia and industry, leading to new products, spinoff businesses, workforce development and jobs.” It’s a fascinating hybrid where private businesses join forces with the research prowess of UWM to maximize research across industry and academic fields and incubate new businesses.

3. New apartments at The District

As more and more new jobs appear in Wauwatosa, more and more people do, too. For employees looking to live, work and play all within a short drive, Fiduciary Real Estate is developing new luxury apartments near the Mayfair Collection, called Synergy at The District. Construction has just begun; apartments will be tenant-ready by Fall 2018.

4. Tosa Together

Tosa Together is a new community group aimed at breaking down racial barriers that make Milwaukee one of the most segregated cities in the US, at least in Wauwatosa. Recently featured on WUWM, they host regular discussions at the Wauwatosa Public Library with the goal of making Wauwatosa a more welcoming community for people of color. As Wauwatosa grows its business economy, community groups like Tosa Together work to make Wauwatosa as diverse as its industry.


There’s no denying that Wauwatosa is a growing, thriving community. And that’s just 1 of 19 municipalities that make our County the economic driver of Wisconsin. Follow Milwaukee County Economic Development Division on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for more insight, updates and #MilwauKeysToSuccess.

Employ Milwaukee Gets to Work

Daniel Reta-Rodriguez

“The support I received from Employ Milwaukee was very helpful. I was able to secure a job as an Industrial Maintenance Mechanic at Capitol Stampings as a result of my training.”


Daniel Reta-Rodriguez is now a certified Industrial Maintenance Mechanic after enrolling in Employ Milwaukee’s Dislocated Worker Program. As part of the program, Daniel was able to take classes at the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) Learning Lab to improve his math skills, and enrolled in the Industrial Maintenance Mechanic Training program conducted jointly by MATC and Employ Milwaukee. After graduation, Employ Milwaukee connected the graduates to companies with current job openings. Daniel interviewed with and was hired by Capitol Stampings.


Employ Milwaukee’s Layoff Transition Services have helped over 1,500 dislocated workers in Milwaukee County.


By working with state and local partners, Employ Milwaukee strives to connect dislocated workers to new jobs through training, career services, and job fairs. If your business is seeking to grow your skilled workforce, consider partnering with Employ Milwaukee to gain access to customized recruitment & training.

New Rolling RFP for Block 22

Just Released!  Milwaukee County has released a new Rolling RFP for Block 22 of the Park East, located along Water Street on the east side of the Milwaukee River.  Information about this 2.2 acre parcel can be found under “The Property” tab.  You can access the RFP under the “RFP EAST” tab.  Submissions will be reviewed on a monthly basis until both lots of Block 22 are under option, with proposals due the first Monday of every month beginning August 3, 2015 to the County Clerk’s office, 901 N. 9th Street, Room 105, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 53233.

Information, public meeting on Head of the Heard proposal

Looking for more information about the Head of the Herd LLC proposal for all of Park East Blocks 1, 2, 4 and 7? Check out Milwaukee County Legistar File Nos. 15-413 and 15-442 for the Reports, FAQs and video clips of prior meetings. The next Economic and Community Development Committee meeting discussing these items is scheduled for 9:00 AM on Monday, July 20, 2015 in Room 201B of the Milwaukee County Courthouse, 901 N. 9th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53233. (Note: time and location of meeting are subject to change.)


Invites Public to the Table

The Milwaukee County Board will hold a public hearing at the War Memorial Center in Memorial Hall at 750 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9, to listen to residents about proposed economic expansions in the Park East corridor. Parking will be free to the public who attend the hearing.
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Financing Incentives That Offer Flexibility

New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) can be deployed in much of the Park East. The NMTC program offers flexible financing options, such as below-market interest rates; longer-than-standard, interest-only periods; higher-than-standard loan-to-value ratio; or gap financing. For more information on the NMTC program, visit the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund or call the Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation at 414-286-5840 and ask for David Latona or Tracy Luber.

Avenir to help shape the “future” of the Park East

Construction is under way on the first phase of the Avenir apartments at 477 N. Jefferson St. with an expected fall 2014 completion date. Originally called Park East Square, the project has been re-named Avenir, French for “future.” The $20.7 million, 104-unit mixed-use residential development is the first of its kind to be built within the footprint of the Park East Freeway. “As the rental market in downtown Milwaukee expands, residents are looking for environmentally sound facilities and more contemporary amenities,” said developer Stewart Wangard. “We are excited to meet that demand by bringing Avenir to the Park East Corridor.”

The development will include numerous amenities to appeal to the lifestyles of young professionals, including a rooftop terrace for entertaining and gathering, as well as 7,072 SF of ground level retail space. It is being developed as a five-story building along Jefferson and a four story building along Lyon. Parking for the residents is located within the building at its two lowest levels. A two-level parking structure will accommodate the public and retail users and is planned to be on the southwest side of the building with access from Lyon for the lower level and access from Jefferson for the upper level.

More information is available at

Park East Redevelopment

Gateway  to Opportunity

The Park East presents a great opportunity, with vibrant, visible and versatile urban development parcels adjoining Milwaukee’s central business district.  Ideally positioned with easy access to major interstate freeways, local thoroughfares, public transit and walkable neighborhoods, the available property connects major education institutions; corporate headquarters; cultural, entertainment, hospitality offerings; bustling development; the award-winning RiverWalk and more.

The land is an open canvas and flexible zoning for developments allows any broker, developer or corporate real estate executive to take wide advantage of the possibilities.

Potential buyers from the state, region and country can join the momentum and be part of something iconic and newsworthy in the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County and State of Wisconsin.