Menomenee Valley - WI

Project Description

Creative Financing: Cleanup and redevelopment leveraged over 20 different financial tools to restore this site in the heart of the city.
In the early 1900s, Milwaukee was known as the “Machine Shop of the World,” and the Menomonee Valley was its engine. Farm machinery, rail cars, and electric motors were all made in the Valley. But by the 1990s, as manufacturing practices changed, the Valley was abandoned and left with contaminated land and vacant industrial buildings. In 1998, the City of Milwaukee prepared a land use plan and secured various innovative funds that is now a national model for economic development and environmental sustainability: 300 acres of brownfields redeveloped, 33 new companies, seven existing companies have expanded, and more than 4,700 family-supporting jobs have been created. Seven miles of trails have been constructed, and 45 acres of native plants installed, leading to improved wildlife habitat and water quality.

Financing tools used include:
  • $16 million Tax Increment District to remediate and build infrastructure
  • New Market Tax Credit Program loans to industrial developers through the Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation
  • $24 million through over 10 local, state, and federal grants: HUD, EPA, EDA, FHWA, State Stewardship funds, and State Departments of Commerce, Natural Resources, and Transportation
  • Up front negotiation for management of dirty soil onsite—saving the project $10 million
  • Cooperative agreement with Wisconsin DOT for highway fill elevated the site and netted $1.5 million
  • State-of-the art stormwater treatment facility covers majority of the property so developers don’t need their own basins; it cleans stormwater flows to the river and doubles as public park

Project Details

Location :
Milwaukee, WI
Started :
Total area :
1,200 acres
Previous uses :
Machinery manufacturing, animal rendering plants, brickmaking, railyards, tanneries
Current uses :
Casino, industrial business park, Harley-Davidson museum, Miller Park (home of the Milwaukee Brewers), office space, retail
Jobs created :
Costs to-date :
$7.5 million
Financing :
Brownfields economic development grant, Great Lakes basin protection grant, EPA brownfields cleanup grant, EPA brownfields loan, Economic Development Administration grants, state blight elimination grant, state brownfield site assessment grant, state coas