By Mrinal Gokhale
At the vacant Park East corridor construction site on Juneau Ave and Old Third World St. stood Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele plus other county officials, land developers and business leaders at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, March 21.
Here Abele announced that 98 percent of Park East corridor land will be renovated or for sale, after having been empty for the past 15 years. A large freeway previously occupied the area of the press conference, here which was torn down in 1999.
Abele said that more than half a million in development has been planned for 10 acres of land in Park East starting near the Milwaukee Bucks arena west of Old Third World Street to just east of the river.
The new land sales and developments will include building new businesses and apartments, creating 14 jobs per every $1 million spent on the construction project, according to Ken Kraemer, executive director for Building Advantage.
“More than half a billion dollars worth of development has been planned in Park East since 2011 and over 100,000 jobs will be created over the course of this development,” said Abele.
Deshea Agee, executive director at Martin Luther King Business Improvement District, attended this press conference and said this proposal has a positive impact on his business improvement district.
“We see an opportunity to connect our business improvement district and the north side of Milwaukee to downtown,” he said.
“We see thousands of jobs created in Park East and Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive.
We see an opportunity for entrepreneurs to locate vacant store fronts on King Drive.”
The developments are expected to take 9 years, according to James Tarantino, economic development director of Milwaukee County.
He said an estimated $500 million in development is required for the Bucks arena.
“It’ll take about $150 million for the area east of the river where Avenir apartment complexes will be built,” he said.
“The arena will take about three years. We plan to build a practice facility and parking garage which will take two or three years.
The land from here to everything east of the river will take another three.”
The jobs resulting from this proposal will last more than 10 years and could possibly lead to careers in the building trades, according to Dan Bukiewicz, president of Milwaukee Building Trades and Construction Council.
“You can start your career here, but it doesn’t mean you have to end here,” Bukiewicz said.
The Milwaukee Building Trades and Construction Council partners with MPS and MATC to educate students about the building trades, Bukiewicz said.
He added that he has been in the trades for 30 years, doing the same job in different locations.
“Nothing was done in the corridor for 15 years but now we’re spurring almost one billion dollars in development, giving hardworking people family sustaining jobs,” he said.