July 12, 2016  
  The Milwaukee Streetcar continues to make progress. Read below for information on recent news and steps forward. As always, get the latest news by liking the project on Facebook and following on Twitter. If you live or work on or near the route, you may also want to sign up for Construction News emails here. Thank you for your ongoing interest!  
 
Council approves local match for proposed Fourth Street Extension   City identifies mainline contractor, initiates negotiations

Council approves local match for proposed Fourth Street Extension

 

City identifies mainline contractor, initiates negotiations

 

On July 6, the City of Milwaukee Common Council voted to approve a local funding package for the streetcar’s proposed Fourth Street Extension.  The $20 million, funded through two existing and one new Tax Incremental Districts, will act as a local match for a pending $20 million federal TIGER grant request with awards expected to be announced this fall.  Of the funding approval Mayor Tom Barrett said "I'm very pleased that the Common Council is supporting this important investment in Milwaukee. The Fourth Street Extension will benefit businesses, residents and visitors by connecting the initial parts of the streetcar system to the major new Bucks arena development, the Shops of the Grand Avenue, the Wisconsin Center and many major employers, hotels and apartment buildings near the route. The extension will also unlock the development potential of underused properties in the area, as we're already seeing happen along the initial route. Also, the council's action today will be critical in our efforts to attract the needed $20 million in federal dollars for this extension, which sets the stage to bring the streetcar to adjacent neighborhoods such as Bronzeville and Walker's Point in the future."

 

The Department of Public Works has identified a preferred Construction Manager/General Contractor to build the streetcar's Phase 1 route and Lakefront Line Extension.  The firm, with significant experience building urban rail systems, was selected following a Request for Proposals process that attracted national interest and formal responses from seven firms.  The firm and its team, which includes strong local representation, will be responsible for all construction activities, including installation of the rail, the overhead contact system and streetcar streets, all necessary civil and roadwork and building the operations and maintenance facility.  The City is now negotiating a contract with the firm which will be announced once negotiations are complete.  The contract will include a DBE goal of 21% and an RPP (Residents Preference Program) goal upwards of 40%.

Ride the Route to the Night Market   Three new development projects cite the streetcar as a benefit
Three new development projects cite the streetcar as a benefit  

Mayor, civic leaders experience benefits of the Kansas City Streetcar

 

In June, planners of three separate development projects cited the streetcar as a rationale for or benefit to the effort: 

The Marcus Corporation is considering a 20-story, mixed-use development at Water and Knapp named Edison Place that could include office, residential, retail, restaurants, health club and 8-screen movie theater. According to the project's planning firm, Baltimore's InPlace Design, "…That downtown connection, along with the planned streetcar line, makes Edison Street an integral part of an energized and developing downtown Milwaukee community."

Co-developers Milhaus Development of Indianapolis and Milwaukee-based WiRED Properties are planning to develop two vacant lots at the former Pabst brewery complex into 274 apartments with ground floor retail, representing a $40 million investment. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Milhaus' Greg McHenry emphasized that "The Brewery's strengths include its closeness to I-43 and downtown, as well as the future Bucks arena and a proposed extension of the streetcar service."

Mich.-based Farbman Group has acquired the 22-story Chase Tower office building, located one block from the Phase 1 streetcar route at Water and Wisconsin, for $30.5 million and plans upgrades. According to the Milwaukee Business Journal, CEO Andy Farbman said "he is bullish on the downtown Milwaukee market, considering investments in the new downtown arena, projects such as the streetcar, and neighborhoods such as the 3rd Ward."

 

In June, Mayor Tom Barrett, local officials and several civic and business leaders traveled from Milwaukee to Kansas City for activities that included meetings with local officials about and riding the newly opened KC Streetcar.  The trip was planned by the Greater Milwaukee Committee.  Since celebrating its grand opening on May 6, the KC Streetcar has seen more than 380,000 riders with 6,365 average daily passengers.  The KC Streetcar project is similar in scope to Milwaukee's and features a two-mile route running primarily along Main Street in downtown Kansas City connecting Kansas City's River Market area to Crown Center and Union Station.  City delegates were especially interested in learning more about economic development activity.  Kansas City has significant economic development underway within the boundaries of the KC Streetcar TDD, or Transportation Development District. As of April 2016, this includes more than $1.7 billion in development projects completed, in progress or publicly announced since voters approved the streetcar in December 2012.   

 

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